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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 22 May 2008

Note: (DT) signifies a decision taken at Decision Time.

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Skills Strategy:  Rhona Brankin moved S3M-1951—That the Parliament notes that the Scottish Government’s skills strategy was rejected by the Parliament on 12 September 2007; recognises the importance of skills development and utilisation in growing Scotland’s economy; voices concern at the decision of the Scottish Government to move away from supporting adult apprenticeships in vital areas such as the tourism, IT and retail sectors without consultation with work-based training providers; calls on the Scottish Government to provide the Parliament, with immediate effect, the evidence to support these moves, and further calls on the Scottish Government to bring forward a revised skills strategy immediately after the summer recess containing detailed information about the level at which its 50,000 training places are being set, its targets for apprenticeships and the performance indicators used to measure success.

Maureen Watt moved amendment S3M-1951.3 to motion S3M-1951—

leave out from “the Scottish Government’s skills strategy” to end and insert—

“under the previous administration, Scotland’s growth rate and productivity levels lagged behind the United Kingdom and believes that this indicates that a new approach to skills and the economy is necessary; notes the widespread business and industry support for the Scottish Government’s skills strategy and believes that government’s role is to respond to demand from employers, to improve skills utilisation and support individuals’ skills development.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 47, Against 71, Abstentions 2).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S3M-1951.1 to motion S3M-1951—

insert at end—

“and details of how access will be provided to high quality vocational education for all school pupils aged 14 or above.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 71, Against 47, Abstentions 2).

Jeremy Purvis moved amendment S3M-1951.2 to motion S3M-1951—

insert at end—

“and regrets the priority given by the Scottish Government in budgeting £16 million for set-up costs alone for Skills Development Scotland, while removing specific funding for skills for work courses delivered in schools and colleges”.

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 57, Against 63, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 70, Against 47, Abstentions 2).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes that the Scottish Government’s skills strategy was rejected by the Parliament on 12 September 2007; recognises the importance of skills development and utilisation in growing Scotland’s economy; voices concern at the decision of the Scottish Government to move away from supporting adult apprenticeships in vital areas such as the tourism, IT and retail sectors without consultation with work-based training providers; calls on the Scottish Government to provide the Parliament, with immediate effect, the evidence to support these moves, and further calls on the Scottish Government to bring forward a revised skills strategy immediately after the summer recess containing detailed information about the level at which its 50,000 training places are being set, its targets for apprenticeships and the performance indicators used to measure success and details of how access will be provided to high quality vocational education for all school pupils aged 14 or above.

2. Scottish Ambulance Service: Margaret Curran moved S3M-1955—That the Parliament recognises the concerns expressed by the Scottish public about recent changes to the operation of the Scottish Ambulance Service; believes that, as the ambulance service is a widely respected and essential public service in Scotland, any changes should have been communicated to the Scottish public, and, in light of concerns expressed about the safety of patients, agrees that there should be immediate independent scrutiny of current practices and policies in the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Nicola Sturgeon moved amendment S3M-1955.1 to motion S3M-1955—

leave out from “recognises” to end and insert—

“welcomes the improved performance demonstrated by the Scottish Ambulance Service in recent months, particularly in relation to responding more quickly to life threatening calls; congratulates the staff of the Scottish Ambulance Service for their efforts in achieving this improvement for patients; acknowledges the need to ensure that the Scottish Ambulance Service continues to improve across a range of indicators and that it effectively consults staff and communicates with the public about the service it provides for them, and, while recognising its autonomy, would welcome the Health and Sport Committee undertaking a review of these matters.”

Ross Finnie moved amendment S3M-1955.1.1 to amendment S3M-1955.1—

leave out from “while recognising” to end and insert—

“calls on the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing to make a full statement to the Parliament, at the earliest opportunity, on the operation of the Scottish Ambulance Service, specifically the use of single person crews, the deployment of rapid response vehicles, ambulance response times, rates of assaults on ambulance crews and the impact of journey length on patient safety.”

After debate, amendment 1955.1.1 to amendment 1955.1 was agreed to (DT).

Amendment 1955.1, as amended, was agreed to (DT).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to (DT).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the improved performance demonstrated by the Scottish Ambulance Service in recent months, particularly in relation to responding more quickly to life threatening calls; congratulates the staff of the Scottish Ambulance Service for their efforts in achieving this improvement for patients; acknowledges the need to ensure that the Scottish Ambulance Service continues to improve across a range of indicators and that it effectively consults staff and communicates with the public about the service it provides for them, and calls on the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing to make a full statement to the Parliament, at the earliest opportunity, on the operation of the Scottish Ambulance Service, specifically the use of single person crews, the deployment of rapid response vehicles, ambulance response times, rates of assaults on ambulance crews and the impact of journey length on patient safety.

3. General Question Time:  Questions were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

4. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Alex Salmond).

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Education and Lifelong Learning, and on Europe, External Affairs and Culture were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

6. Ministerial Statement: The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (Nicola Sturgeon) made a statement and answered questions on Fuel Poverty.

7. Wildlife Crime: The Solicitor General (Frank Mulholland) moved S3M-1954—That the Parliament welcomes the report, Natural Justice: A Joint Thematic Inspection of the Arrangements in Scotland for Preventing, Investigating and Prosecuting Wildlife Crime, by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland and the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland; commends the recommendations in the report, the implementation of which will bring to bear the full professional expertise of the agencies who investigate, detect and prosecute those involved in wildlife crime, and looks forward to the development of a strong and effective partnership for action against wildlife crime, working to a new agreed strategy on wildlife crime and co-ordinating the fight against the abuse of Scotland’s vital natural heritage.

David Stewart moved amendment S3M-1954.1 to motion S3M-1954—

insert at end—

“supports in full the recommendations of the Tomkins report, and calls on the Scottish Government to produce an action plan on tackling wildlife crime, including a timetable for the implementation of the report”.

After debate, the amendment was agreed to (DT).

Jim Hume moved amendment S3M-1954.2 to motion S3M-1954—

insert at end—

“recognises the concerns surrounding the impact on livelihoods of a reduction in single farm payments or the loss of firearms licences, and calls on the Legislation, Regulation and Guidance sub-group of Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (Scotland) to give full consideration, in consultation with land users, to the proposal that loss of single farm payments should occur only in cases where responsibility has first been proven in a court of law; welcomes the success of the Grampian Police model, which provides an example of good practice to be replicated by forces across Scotland, and calls on Scottish chief constables, the Crown Office and the Scottish Government to outline the specific steps they will take to ensure the speedy and effective implementation of the report recommendations.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 102, Abstentions 2).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to (DT).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the report, Natural Justice: A Joint Thematic Inspection of the Arrangements in Scotland for Preventing, Investigating and Prosecuting Wildlife Crime, by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland and the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland; commends the recommendations in the report, the implementation of which will bring to bear the full professional expertise of the agencies who investigate, detect and prosecute those involved in wildlife crime; looks forward to the development of a strong and effective partnership for action against wildlife crime, working to a new agreed strategy on wildlife crime and co-ordinating the fight against the abuse of Scotland’s vital natural heritage; supports in full the recommendations of the Tomkins report, and calls on the Scottish Government to produce an action plan on tackling wildlife crime, including a timetable for the implementation of the report.

8. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2 and 7 as noted above.

9. National Association of Youth Orchestras: The Parliament debated S3M-1232 in the name of Ian McKee—That the Parliament applauds the objectives of the National Association of Youth Orchestras in supporting, encouraging and facilitating young musicians by giving them the opportunity to perform orchestral works at the highest level; recognises the association’s vital contribution to the cultural life both of the capital city and all of Scotland, and would like to see it remain based in Edinburgh.

The meeting closed at 5.34 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
22 May 2008

Appendix
(Note: this Appendix does not form part of the Minutes)

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 22 May 2008 and are subject to annulment—

The Licensing (Transitional Provisions) (Scotland) Order 2008 (SSI 2008/194)

laid under section 146(4) of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

The Strategic Development Planning Authority Designation (No. 1) (Scotland) Order 2008 (SSI 2008/195)

laid under section 4(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

The Strategic Development Planning Authority Designation (No. 2) (Scotland) Order 2008 (SSI 2008/196)

laid under section 4(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

The Strategic Development Planning Authority Designation (No. 3) (Scotland) Order 2008 (SSI 2008/197)

laid under section 4(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

The Strategic Development Planning Authority Designation (No. 4) (Scotland) Order 2008 (SSI 2008/198)

laid under section 4(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 22 May 2008—

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 21st Report, 2008 (Session 3): Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Energy Bill (SP Paper 98)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 22nd Report, 2008 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 99)

Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee, 2nd Report, 2008 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 100)