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Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 3, No. 46 Session 3

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 14 January 2010

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Report of the Literacy Commission: Des McNulty moved S3M-5512—That the Parliament welcomes the report of the Literacy Commission, set up by Labour, and its recommendations on actions needed to support the acquisition of basic literacy skills and the development of higher-order literacy-related skills; calls on the Scottish Government to bring forward as a matter of priority, following discussion with the Literacy Commission and all stakeholders, a literacy action plan; notes also the successful role of trade unions in promoting literacy and numeracy among adults and the commission’s support for nurture groups in primary schools in areas of disadvantage as pioneered by Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire, Clackmannanshire councils and others, and suggests that, in order to assist those children facing the biggest barriers, the Scottish Government work in partnership with local authorities serving areas with concentrations of socio-economic disadvantage to implement and assess pilot schemes that can provide continuous and systematic support for families with children in the birth to three age group.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Michael Russell) moved amendment S3M-5512.2 to motion S3M-5512—

After “literacy action plan” insert—

“within the context of the Curriculum for Excellence, which has the aim of raising standards of literacy at every level”.

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

Elizabeth Smith moved amendment S3M-5512.1 to motion S3M-5512—

Insert at end—

“, and, in particular, recognises the need to ensure that pupils in Scotland are properly schooled and tested in the basic skills of literacy and numeracy by the end of primary seven and also to ensure that the qualifications structure better reflects the specific needs of all pupils, whether they wish to pursue courses that are more academically focused or more vocationally focused.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 15, Against 102, Abstentions 1).

Hugh O’Donnell moved amendment S3M-5512.3 to motion S3M-5512—

Insert at end—

“and make sure that these efforts produce benefits for children from low-income families wherever they live in Scotland.”

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 Literacy Commission, set up by Labour, and its recommendations on actions needed to support the acquisition of basic literacy skills and the development of higher-order literacy-related skills; calls on the Scottish Government to bring forward as a matter of priority, following discussion with the Literacy Commission and all stakeholders, a literacy action plan within the context of the Curriculum for Excellence, which has the aim of raising standards of literacy at every level; notes also the successful role of trade unions in promoting literacy and numeracy among adults and the commission’s support for nurture groups in primary schools in areas of disadvantage as pioneered by Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire, Clackmannanshire councils and others, and suggests that, in order to assist those children facing the biggest barriers, the Scottish Government work in partnership with local authorities serving areas with concentrations of socio-economic disadvantage to implement and assess pilot schemes that can provide continuous and systematic support for families with children in the birth to three age group and make sure that these efforts produce benefits for children from low-income families wherever they live in Scotland.

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 Health and Wellbeing were answered by the Cabinet Secretary and Ministers.

5. Attendance Allowance for People with Disabilities: The Minister for Housing and Communities (Alex Neil) moved S3M-5515—That the Parliament notes that the UK Green Paper, Shaping the Future of Care Together, published in June 2009, may have long-term implications for vulnerable older and disabled people in Scotland who are eligible for attendance allowance and disability living allowance as it proposes to remove the universal benefits of attendance allowance and disability living allowance and instead redesign the benefit system to meet English social policy objectives and redirect funding to pay for the provision of a National Care Service in England, while failing to give adequate consideration to the position in Scotland, and calls on HM Government to consult fully with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament, local authorities, NHS boards and other interested parties before proceeding any further.

Johann Lamont moved amendment S3M-5515.1 to motion S3M-5515—

Leave out from “notes” to end and insert—

“welcomes the opportunity afforded by the UK Government's Green Paper, Shaping the Future of Care Together, to contribute to the debate on issues concerning the future provision of care services; welcomes moves to address the postcode lottery of care and recognises the need for a similar debate to take place in Scotland, taking into account specific challenges and opportunities arising from a growing population of older people; notes that the consultation on the Green Paper closed in November 2009, and looks forward to ongoing dialogue with the UK Government to achieve shared objectives of ensuring that older and disabled people have fair access to good quality services and support.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 43, Against 75, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 73, Against 45, Abstentions 0).

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

7. Save Lesmahagow’s Jubilee Hall: The Parliament debated S3M-5098 in the name of Aileen Campbell—That the Parliament notes with concern plans by South Lanarkshire Council to close and sell the Jubilee Hall in Lesmahagow; notes that this concern is shared by many members of the local community, the Community Council and various groups and users of the hall; believes that the Support the Jubilee Hall fun day, held by hall users on 31 October 2009, will further demonstrate the concern and opposition to the decision that exists locally, and considers that the hall continues to play an important function in Lesmahagow and is an important part of the town's heritage that should be preserved.

The meeting closed at 5.41 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
14 January 2010

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

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 14 January 2010—

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 2nd Report, 2010 (Session 3): Report on the Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Equality Bill (SP Paper 361)

Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee, 1st Report, 2010 (Session 3): Report on subordinate legislation (SP Paper 362)