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Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 3, No. 26 Session 3

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 8 October 2009

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. School Buildings: Rhona Brankin moved S3M-4988—That the Parliament notes with concern that the Scottish Futures Trust has yet to fund a single new school building in Scotland despite the 2009 School Estates Statistics revealing that around 150,000 pupils remain in schools classified as being in poor or bad condition; is dismayed that, after more than two years, the SNP government has identified only 14 schools to be built under its first school building programme, that none of these 14 schools will be open to pupils in this parliamentary term and only 55 will be built in total by 2018; further believes that the SNP government’s claims on the number of schools that it has commissioned are unsustainable given that its own School Estates Statistics reveal that a majority of schools built or substantially refurbished in the last two financial years were legacy PPP projects, and further believes that it is hypocritical for ministers to criticise PPP schools while praising them at their official opening and that the SNP’s record in government is falling far short of its 2007 election manifesto pledge to “match the current school building programme brick for brick, and offer an alternative funding mechanism through the Scottish Futures Trust”.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Fiona Hyslop) moved amendment S3M-4988.3 to motion S3M-4988—

Leave out from “with concern” to end and insert—

“that the Scottish Government inherited a school estate where around 260,000 pupils were in schools classified as being in poor or bad condition; welcomes the fact that this figure has fallen by 100,000 since May 2007 due to the £2 billion of investment in the school estate supported by the Scottish Government; recognises that in excess of 250 schools will be built during this parliamentary term compared with just 205 during the four years of the previous administration and that the Scottish Government will exceed its pledge to match the previous administration’s plans brick for brick; commends the Scottish Government and local authorities for the increased pace of school project completions with the rate of delivery up from 0.76 schools per week over the eight years of the previous administration to an anticipated 1.2 per week over the period from May 2007 to April 2011 and further commends the additional investment over and above the schools that will be delivered through the capital budget allocations of each local authority, which will see an additional £1.25 billion deliver a further 55 new or refurbished school buildings across Scotland, and further welcomes the fact that the Scottish Futures Trust will play a central role in coordinating, facilitating and managing the new school building programme.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 46, Against 75, Abstentions 0).

Elizabeth Smith moved amendment S3M-4988.1 to motion S3M-4988—

Insert at end—

“, and believes that the school building programme should be funded so as to deliver best value for money and that all sources of finance, including those in the private sector, should be considered.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 104, Against 17, Abstentions 0).

Margaret Smith moved amendment S3M-4988.2 to motion S3M-4988—

Insert at end—

“; deeply regrets the ongoing ambiguity over the future allocation of resources under the school building programme and the absolute failure of the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT); considers that the Scottish Government’s centralisation and poor handling of the school building strategy has caused serious uncertainty for local authorities and has undermined the autonomy of councils to determine their local priorities, and calls for the SFT to be scrapped immediately.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 59, Against 62, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 58, Against 48, Abstentions 15).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes with concern that the Scottish Futures Trust has yet to fund a single new school building in Scotland despite the 2009 School Estates Statistics revealing that around 150,000 pupils remain in schools classified as being in poor or bad condition; is dismayed that, after more than two years, the SNP government has identified only 14 schools to be built under its first school building programme, that none of these 14 schools will be open to pupils in this parliamentary term and only 55 will be built in total by 2018; further believes that the SNP government’s claims on the number of schools that it has commissioned are unsustainable given that its own School Estates Statistics reveal that a majority of schools built or substantially refurbished in the last two financial years were legacy PPP projects, and further believes that it is hypocritical for ministers to criticise PPP schools while praising them at their official opening and that the SNP’s record in government is falling far short of its 2007 election manifesto pledge to “match the current school building programme brick for brick, and offer an alternative funding mechanism through the Scottish Futures Trust”, and believes that the school building programme should be funded so as to deliver best value for money and that all sources of finance, including those in the private sector, should be considered.

2. Volunteering: Johann Lamont moved S3M-4985—That the Parliament recognises and celebrates the role of the voluntary sector and volunteers across Scotland in supporting individuals, families and communities and in shaping and delivering services locally; notes the excellent work of volunteering organisations in encouraging volunteering through offering training and volunteering placements and particularly in reaching out to those who might not otherwise have the chance to volunteer; agrees, given the opportunity that volunteering provides to develop skills and build confidence, that, in this economic recession, volunteering organisations should be given adequate resources to allow them to do that important work, and further agrees that innovative organisations that create structured volunteering placements for young people, such as ProjectScotland, should be recognised and supported by the Scottish Government.

Robert Brown moved amendment S3M-4985.1 to motion S3M-4985—

Insert at end—

“considers that young people are a huge pool of untapped talent and potential who are at risk of becoming a lost generation as a result of the current economic downturn; notes that engaging young people in the voluntary sector would provide a valuable resource for the organisations concerned; recognises the pressures put on the voluntary sector by the local government concordat and single outcome agreements, as well as local authorities’ tight financial settlement, and believes that, with proper, structured and sustainable funding from central and local government, the current economic downturn presents an opportunity for a strong and active voluntary sector to play an enhanced role in the delivery of frontline services.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 17, Against 104, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to (DT).

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 Finance and Sustainable Growth were answered by the Cabinet Secretary and Ministers.

6. Civil Justice: The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved S3M-4987—That the Parliament welcomes the Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review conducted under the chairmanship of the Lord Justice Clerk and the reports of the Administrative Justice Steering Group conducted under the chairmanship of Lord Philip; looks forward to the report of final appellate jurisdiction in preparation by Professor Neil Walker, and believes that the people of Scotland deserve a reformed and modernised civil justice system that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Richard Baker moved amendment S3M-4987.2 to motion S3M-4987—

Insert at end—

“, which is founded on the principle of ensuring access to justice and that reforms must be driven by this as well as by efficiency in the justice system.”

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

Bill Aitken moved amendment S3M-4987.1 to motion S3M-4987—

After “believes that” insert—

“, following a full and wide consultation,”.

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 Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review conducted under the chairmanship of the Lord Justice Clerk and the reports of the Administrative Justice Steering Group conducted under the chairmanship of Lord Philip; looks forward to the report of final appellate jurisdiction in preparation by Professor Neil Walker, and believes that, following a full and wide consultation, the people of Scotland deserve a reformed and modernised civil justice system that is fit for purpose in the 21st century, which is founded on the principle of ensuring access to justice and that reforms must be driven by this as well as by efficiency in the justice system.

7. Approval of SSI: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-4996—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Health Board Elections (Scotland) Regulations 2009 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 6 and 7 as noted above.

9. Charter of Rights for People with Dementia in Scotland: The Parliament debated S3M-4852 in the name of Irene Oldfather—That the Parliament welcomes the principle of a charter of rights for people with dementia, as proposed by the Cross-Party Group on Alzheimer’s; believes that changing attitudes and practices that deny people with dementia their rights is a major challenge facing health and social care groups; notes the recent publication of a number of reports that have highlighted the inefficiencies in the quality of care for people with dementia in the community, in care homes and in long-term hospital care, including the Care Commission report, Better care, every step of the way, and the joint report by the Care Commission and Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, Remember, I’m Still Me; notes the consultation undertaken over the summer to give people with dementia, their carers, health professionals and care home staff, among other stakeholders, an opportunity to express their views on the issues that they believe a charter should address; welcomes the commitment of Alzheimer Scotland to enable stakeholders to participate by organising roadshows in Irvine, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness; acknowledges that the charter of rights is based on internationally agreed human rights and is intended to promote the respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights of people with dementia and their carers, and therefore welcomes the idea of a charter as both an instrument for enabling culture change and as a tool to empower people with dementia.

The meeting closed at 5.50 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
8 October 2009

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

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 8 October 2009 and are subject to annulment—

The Town and Country Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) (No. 2) Regulations 2009 (SSI 2009/343)

laid under section 275 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997

The Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 (Development Planning) (Saving, Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Amendment (No. 2) Order 2009 (SSI 2009/344)

laid under section 58 of the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 8 October 2009 and is not subject to any parliamentary procedure

Scottish Government Local Government Portfolio: Non-Domestic Rating Account 2008-09 (SG/2009/217)

laid under section 22(5) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 8 October 2009

Rural Affairs and Environment Committee, 11th Report, 2009 (Session 3): Stage 1 Report on the Marine (Scotland) Bill (SP Paper 325)

Health and Sport Committee, 9th Report, 2009 (Session 3): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SPPaper 327)