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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 30 October 2008

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. A Helping Hand with the Rising Cost of Living: Jeremy Purvis moved S3M-2780—That the Parliament notes with grave concern the rise in the cost of living and the impact of the credit crunch on families, individuals and small businesses in Scotland; believes that the Scottish Government should use the substantial levers at its disposal to give practical help; disagrees with the policy stated in the Draft Budget 2009-10 that “the Scottish Government will not use the existing tax varying powers in 2009-10”, and believes that all parties should work to secure a 2p reduction in the basic rate of Scottish income tax, which would deliver more than £300 per year into the pay packet of the average Scottish earner and a significant fiscal stimulus to the economy.

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable (John Swinney) moved amendment S3M-2780.1 to motion S3M-2780—

leave out fromfirst “believes” to end and insert—

“agrees that the Scottish Government should use all of the levers at its disposal to give practical help; calls on the Liberal Democrats to set out in detail the £800 million of cuts to public servicesthat they would make to fund their proposal on income tax and believes that until these cuts are identified and are open to scrutinythe Liberal Democrats and their proposal have no credibility, andfurther believes that, as part of the forthcoming budget process, the Liberal Democrats should bring forward detailed proposals of where they believe cuts should be made.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 40, Abstentions 0).

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 38, Abstentions 1).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes with grave concern the rise in the cost of living and the impact of the credit crunch on families, individuals and small businesses in Scotland; agrees that the Scottish Government should use all of the levers at its disposal to give practical help; calls on the Liberal Democrats to set out in detail the £800 million of cuts to public services that they would make to fund their proposal on income tax and believes that until these cuts are identified and are open to scrutiny the Liberal Democrats and their proposal have no credibility, andfurther believes that, as part of the forthcoming budget process, the Liberal Democrats should bring forward detailed proposals of where they believe cuts should be made.

2. The Importance of HBOS to the Scottish Economy and Jobs: Tavish Scott moved S3M-2779—That the Parliament gives a general welcome to the measures taken by the UK and other governments to tackle the current banking crisis; considers, however, that the recapitalisation plans announced by HM Treasury in October 2008 have fundamentally changed the landscape under which competition rules were waived to enable a merger between Lloyds TSB and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS); further considers that inconsistent statements have come from the UK Treasury about whether or not the banks would independently have access to the recapitalisation funds; believes that this ambiguity is not serving anyone’s interests in the present environment; further believes that losing HBOS corporate headquarters and jobs in Edinburgh would seriously jeopardise the city’s position as a financial centre; sees no reason why HBOS should not be able to access UK Treasury recapitalisation and, therefore, liquidity funding on the same independent basis as other major banks, and, with this in mind, considers it a very real possibility that an independent HBOS solution could be found that may well be in the best interests of shareholders, employees, customers and the Scottish economy at large.

Derek Brownlee moved amendment S3M-2779.1 to motion S3M-2779—

leave out from first “considers” to end and insert—

“reaffirms the importance of the financial sector to the Scottish economy; notes that the boards of both Lloyds TSB and Halifax Bank of Scotland remain in favour of the merger and that shareholders will soon have the opportunity to vote on the proposal, and believes that decisions on the future of individual institutions should be made by shareholders, not politicians.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 87, Abstentions 0).

Patrick Harvie moved amendment S3M-2779.2 to motion S3M-2779—

leave out from “gives” to end and insert—

“recognises the need for short-term action by the United Kingdom and other governments to tackle the current banking crisis; rejects, however, any effort simply to refloat the failed model of deregulated financial services, which has been supported by Labour and Conservative UK governments and by Labour/Liberal Democrat and SNP administrations in Scotland; calls on the UK and Scottish governments to commit to a future for the financial services sector that is based on sustainability and self-reliance rather than the impossible objective of limitless economic growth fuelled by reckless lending and excessive leverage, and, in the short term, demands that an element of democratic control be exercised over the lending and investment activity of banks that have been bailed out by taxpayers’ money to ensure that economic, social and environmental sustainability are prioritised through that activity.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 3, Against 100, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 40, Abstentions 2).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament gives a general welcome to the measures taken by the UK and other governments to tackle the current banking crisis; considers, however, that the recapitalisation plans announced by HM Treasury in October 2008 have fundamentally changed the landscape under which competition rules were waived to enable a merger between Lloyds TSB and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS); further considers that inconsistent statements have come from the UK Treasury about whether or not the banks would independently have access to the recapitalisation funds; believes that this ambiguity is not serving anyone’s interests in the present environment; further believes that losing HBOS corporate headquarters and jobs in Edinburgh would seriously jeopardise the city’s position as a financial centre; sees no reason why HBOS should not be able to access UK Treasury recapitalisation and, therefore, liquidity funding on the same independent basis as other major banks, and, with this in mind, considers it a very real possibility that an independent HBOS solution could be found that may well be in the best interests of shareholders, employees, customers and the Scottish economy at large.

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 Europe, External Affairs and Culture and Education and Lifelong Learning were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

6. Ministerial Statement: The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Fiona Hyslop) made a statement and answered questions on the Teacher Employment Working Group Report.

7. Non-Native Invasive Species: The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment (Richard Lochhead) moved S3M-2777—That the Parliament welcomes the Invasive Non-Native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain; notes that this is one of the first comprehensive strategies on invasive non-native species to be developed in Europe; further welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to work in partnership with governments and organisations across these islands to implement the strategy, and acknowledges that continued efforts are required by all partners to progress the key actions of the strategy.

Elaine Murray moved amendment S3M-2777.2 to motion S3M-2777—

Insert at end—

“and asks the Scottish Government to review existing legislation and report back to the Parliament on whether it considers that current legislation requires to be strengthened to ensure that the issue of non-native species is addressed more effectively.”

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

Jim Hume moved amendment S3M-2777.1 to motion S3M-2777—

Insert at end—

“recognises that prevention and early intervention are vital in protecting native species, habitats and ecosystems, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to work with local organisations with a remit for the protection of Scotland’s natural environment to find ways to expedite the timeous implementation of measures at a local level and to report back to the Parliament with the findings.”

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

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

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the Invasive Non-Native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain; notes that this is one of the first comprehensive strategies on invasive non-native species to be developed in Europe; further welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to work in partnership with governments and organisations across these islands to implement the strategy; acknowledges that continued efforts are required by all partners to progress the key actions of the strategy; asks the Scottish Government to review existing legislation and report back to the Parliament on whether it considers that current legislation requires to be strengthened to ensure that the issue of non-native species is addressed more effectively; recognises that prevention and early intervention are vital in protecting native species, habitats and ecosystems, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to work with local organisations with a remit for the protection of Scotland’s natural environment to find ways to expedite the timeous implementation of measures at a local level and to report back to the Parliament with the findings.

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

9. Become Lupus Aware: The Parliament debated S3M-2655 in the name of Kenneth Gibson—That the Parliament notes that October 2008 is Lupus Awareness Month, with members and supporters holding a Lunch4Lupus and other events across the country to raise awareness of this condition; recognises that around 5,000 people in Scotland and over five million people worldwide, of whom around 90% are women, have lupus; further recognises that, while lupus can be mild, it may also be disabling and sometimes fatal, has no known cure and causes many different symptoms, including joint and muscle pain, fatigue, depression and kidney, heart, lung and brain symptoms, as well as recurrent miscarriages; acknowledges that there is an urgent need to increase awareness in Scotland of the debilitating impact of lupus and the difficulty that can arise in gaining a diagnosis, given that it mimics a number of other diseases; supports Lupus UK and other organisations across the world in calling for increases in funding for medical research on lupus and targeted education programmes for health professionals; believes a review of the provision of specialist services in the NHS for those with the condition to be of pressing concern, and regrets the lack of a national clinical centre for excellence in Scotland like that of the St Thomas Lupus Trust in London.

The meeting closed at 5.38 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
30 October 2008


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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instruments were laid in draft before the Parliament on 30 October 2008 for approval by resolution—

The Fundable Bodies (Scotland) Order 2008

laid under section 34(4) of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005

The Protection of Charities Assets (Exemption) and the Charity Test (Specified Bodies) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2008

laid under section 103(5) of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 30 October 2008 and is subject to annulment

The Plant Health (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Order 2008 (SSI 2008/350)

laid under section 6(1) of the Plant Health Act 1967 and paragraph 2(2) of schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972

Legislative Consent Memorandums

The following memorandum was lodged on 30 October 2008

John Swinney MSP: Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Energy Bill (UK Parliament legislation) (LCM(S3) 12.2)