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Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 3, No. 40 Session 3

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 10 December 2009

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Concessionary Travel: Charlie Gordon moved S3M-5378—That the Parliament welcomes the recommendation of the Review of the Scotland Wide Free Bus Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled People to include seriously injured armed forces veterans to the scheme but notes with disappointment and concern the review’s recommendation to disenfranchise disabled people who receive the lower rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from the scheme; further notes that the review paints a worst-case scenario of the costs of including disabled people who receive the lower rate of DLA and that these costs are open to scrutiny and debate and that the review also played down the positive social impact that the scheme has on people’s lives; acknowledges that denying disabled people on the lower rate of DLA access to the scheme will damage the main aims and ethos of the scheme, namely to allow disabled people improved access to services, facilities and social networks by free scheduled bus services and so promote social inclusion and improve health by promoting a more active lifestyle for disabled people; notes that previous local schemes operated in West Lothian and Strathclyde provided people on the lower rate of DLA access to concessionary travel schemes and that they supported the national scheme mirroring their eligibility criteria instead of the stringent criteria that are now adopted; welcomes disability organisations Leonard Cheshire Disability, Learning Disability Alliance Scotland (LDAS), Inclusion Scotland and many more in challenging the review’s negative recommendation, and considers that disabled people’s views, that the national concessionary travel scheme should include people who receive the lower rate of DLA instead of backing the unfair recommendation on eligibility from the review, should be listened to.

The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson) moved amendment S3M-5378.2 to motion S3M-5378—

Insert at end—

", and considers that if the Labour Party wishes this to be the case, it should bring forward a costed proposal to the Budget to show where the resources will be taken from to pay for this."

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

Alison McInnes moved amendment S3M-5378.1 to motion S3M-5378—

Insert at end—

"; recognises that rural areas suffer disproportionately from bus fare increases or reduced bus services, and calls on the Scottish Government to consider extending eligibility for the national concessionary travel scheme to include older and disabled people using community transport in rural areas."

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 recommendation of the Review of the Scotland Wide Free Bus Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled People to include seriously injured armed forces veterans to the scheme but notes with disappointment and concern the review’s recommendation to disenfranchise disabled people who receive the lower rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from the scheme; further notes that the review paints a worst-case scenario of the costs of including disabled people who receive the lower rate of DLA and that these costs are open to scrutiny and debate and that the review also played down the positive social impact that the scheme has on people’s lives; acknowledges that denying disabled people on the lower rate of DLA access to the scheme will damage the main aims and ethos of the scheme, namely to allow disabled people improved access to services, facilities and social networks by free scheduled bus services and so promote social inclusion and improve health by promoting a more active lifestyle for disabled people; notes that previous local schemes operated in West Lothian and Strathclyde provided people on the lower rate of DLA access to concessionary travel schemes and that they supported the national scheme mirroring their eligibility criteria instead of the stringent criteria that are now adopted; welcomes disability organisations Leonard Cheshire Disability, Learning Disability Alliance Scotland (LDAS), Inclusion Scotland and many more in challenging the review’s negative recommendation; considers that disabled people’s views, that the national concessionary travel scheme should include people who receive the lower rate of DLA instead of backing the unfair recommendation on eligibility from the review, should be listened to; considers that if the Labour Party wishes this to be the case, it should bring forward a costed proposal to the Budget to show where the resources will be taken from to pay for this; recognises that rural areas suffer disproportionately from bus fare increases or reduced bus services, and calls on the Scottish Government to consider extending eligibility for the national concessionary travel scheme to include older and disabled people using community transport in rural areas.

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

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

4. Themed Question Time: Questions on Rural Affairs and the Environment, and Justice and Law Officers were answered by Cabinet Secretaries, Ministers and Scottish Law Officers.

5. Climate Change: The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson) moved S3M-5379—That the Parliament, having agreed unanimously on a 42% target reduction in Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050, agrees that MSPs and Scotland as a whole must focus on the practical implementation of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009; urges that all countries bring forward the most ambitious commitments appropriate to their circumstances early in the talks; looks to participants in Copenhagen to reach a legally binding agreement at the earliest opportunity that will prevent world temperatures rising by more than 2°C, and notes that a failure to do so would threaten vulnerable countries with, for example, inundation and desertification.

Patrick Harvie moved amendment S3M-5379.1 to motion S3M-5379—

Insert at end—

", and further agrees that the targets set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 leave no room for complacency and that the Scottish targets can only be achieved with a fundamental policy shift in areas such as road building, energy generation and use and aviation expansion.

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 3, Against 117, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to (DT).

6. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1 and 5 as noted above.

7. World March for Peace and Nonviolence: The Parliament debated S3M-5210 in the name of Bill Kidd—That the Parliament endorses the ideals of the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, which set off from New Zealand on UN International Day of Non-Violence on 2 October 2009 and ends in the Andes mountains on 2 January 2010, that call for an end to war, the dismantling of nuclear weapons and an end to all forms of violence including physical, economic, racial, religious, cultural, sexual and psychological; notes that the Peace Torch, which has passed across continents and been greeted by thousands of supporters including Pope Benedict XVI, who offered his blessings to the delegation, will visit the Scottish Parliament on 17 November 2009, and would welcome support for this important endeavour from all those who share these ideals.

The meeting closed at 5.31 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
10 December 2009

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

Subordinate Legislation

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 10 December 2009 and are not subject to any parliamentary procedure—

Scottish Public Pensions Agency Annual Report and Accounts 2008-2009 (SG/2009/233)—

NHS Superannuation Scheme (Scotland) 2008-2009 (SG/2009/258)—

Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme 2008-2009 (SG/2009/259)—

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

Committee on Climate Change December 2009: Meeting the UK Aviation Target – options for reducing emissions to 2050 (SG/2009/275)

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 10 December 2009—

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 51st Report, 2009 (Session 3): Stage 1 Report on the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Bill (SP Paper 353)

Health and Sport Committee 10th Report 2009 (Session 3): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 354)

Local Government and Communities Committee, 16th Report, 2009 (Session 3): Stage 1 Report on the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Bill (SP Paper 355)