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Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 3, No. 50 Session 3

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 28 January 2010

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. The Scottish Newspaper Industry: Pauline McNeill moved S3M-5620—That the Parliament notes the important role played by local newspapers in Scotland; believes that, in the current economic climate, it is more important than ever to recognise the importance and value of community newspapers; notes that local newspapers provide a forum for expression that enables local people to deliberate on issues affecting their community; notes with concern the Scottish Government proposals to remove the legal requirement for local authorities to advertise public information notices in newspapers; believes that, if this proposal succeeds, it will deny the 38% of Scots who do not have internet access vital information currently available to them in newspapers, will create a democratic deficit and damage the local and national newspaper industry at a critical time; fears that a smaller newspaper industry will dilute quality journalism and training opportunities for young journalists, and calls on the Scottish Government to withdraw the draft Local Authority Public Information Notices (Electronic Publication) (Scotland) Order 2010.

The Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism (Jim Mather) moved amendment S3M-5620.2 to motion S3M-5620—

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

“that the Scottish Government is currently consulting on the future of public information notices; further notes that this consultation is being run at the request of Scottish local authorities and does not close until 12 February 2010, and acknowledges that, as part of the consultation, the Scottish Government is committed to listening to all views and, in particular, those expressed by the Scottish Parliament.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 48, Against 75, Abstentions 0).

Ted Brocklebank moved amendment S3M-5620.1 to motion S3M-5620—

After second “community” insert—

“; regrets that almost a year after the Glasgow Caledonian University seminar on 4 February 2009 on the newspaper industry, organised by the Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism and involving newspaper proprietors, journalists, trade unionists and other stakeholders, there appears to have been little further dialogue between the Scottish Government and the sector”.

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 76, Against 48, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 76, Against 48, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the important role played by local newspapers in Scotland; believes that, in the current economic climate, it is more important than ever to recognise the importance and value of community newspapers; notes that local newspapers provide a forum for expression that enables local people to deliberate on issues affecting their community; regrets that almost a year after the Glasgow Caledonian University seminar on 4 February 2009 on the newspaper industry, organised by the Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism and involving newspaper proprietors, journalists, trade unionists and other stakeholders, there appears to have been little further dialogue between the Scottish Government and the sector; notes with concern the Scottish Government proposals to remove the legal requirement for local authorities to advertise public information notices in newspapers; believes that, if this proposal succeeds, it will deny the 38% of Scots who do not have internet access vital information currently available to them in newspapers, will create a democratic deficit and damage the local and national newspaper industry at a critical time; fears that a smaller newspaper industry will dilute quality journalism and training opportunities for young journalists, and calls on the Scottish Government to withdraw the draft Local Authority Public Information Notices (Electronic Publication) (Scotland) Order 2010.

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

5. Skills Strategy: The Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning (Keith Brown) moved S3M-5619—That the Parliament agrees that flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of businesses and employees are critical elements of a successful skills strategy in helping tackle the challenges of the recession and the recovery and believes that the Scottish Government must maintain its focus on developing practical initiatives that help people and businesses with training for work, training in work and training from work to work.

David Whitton moved amendment S3M-5619.2 to motion S3M-5619—

Insert at end—

“and, to that end, calls on the Scottish Government to bring forward early publication of a refreshed Skills Strategy that takes account of the current economic climate and is backed by the resources necessary to provide appropriate places on Training for Work and Get Ready for Work programmes and the wide range of modern apprentice schemes.”

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

Elizabeth Smith moved amendment S3M-5619.1 to motion S3M-5619—

Insert at end—

“; believes that pupils in secondary schools who wish to do so should have the opportunity to pursue formal vocational training, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that the system is more demand-led and that publicly funded training matches far more closely the needs of employers.”

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

Margaret Smith moved amendment S3M-5619.3 to motion S3M-5619—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“regrets the Scottish Government’s failure to bring forward a revised Skills Strategy for debate, as was called for by the Parliament in September 2007; further regrets the ongoing confusion, bureaucracy and expense that has been caused by the establishment of the multi-million pound quango, Skills Development Scotland; notes the Scottish Government’s removal of specific funding for Skills for Work courses and school-college partnerships and the uncertainty over the future funding of the Determined to Succeed programme; recognises the valuable role of colleges in boosting skills and supporting lifelong learning, education and training, and notes the pressures facing colleges across Scotland due to an increased demand for places.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 15, Against 109, Abstentions 0).

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

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament agrees that flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of businesses and employees are critical elements of a successful skills strategy in helping tackle the challenges of the recession and the recovery and believes that the Scottish Government must maintain its focus on developing practical initiatives that help people and businesses with training for work, training in work and training from work to work and, to that end, calls on the Scottish Government to bring forward early publication of a refreshed Skills Strategy that takes account of the current economic climate and is backed by the resources necessary to provide appropriate places on Training for Work and Get Ready for Work programmes and the wide range of modern apprentice schemes; believes that pupils in secondary schools who wish to do so should have the opportunity to pursue formal vocational training, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that the system is more demand-led and that publicly funded training matches far more closely the needs of employers.

6. Equality Bill – UK Legislation: The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (Nicola Sturgeon) moved S3M-5586—That the Parliament agrees that the relevant provisions of the Equality Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 24 April 2009, to make provision within the legislative competence of the Parliament and to alter the executive competence of the Scottish Ministers in respect of the public sector duty to promote equality; the hearing of disability discrimination school education cases by the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland; the arrangements for educational endowments; the power to prescribe qualification authorities in relation to equality, transitional arrangements for single sex educational establishments; a duty on relevant public authorities in Scotland, when making decisions of a strategic nature about how to exercise their functions, to have due regard to socio-economic disadvantage; and reasonable adjustments to common parts of buildings to suit the needs of disabled people who live in those buildings, should be considered by the UK Parliament.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

7. Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill – UK Legislation: The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth (John Swinney) moved S3M-5587—That the Parliament agrees that the relevant provisions of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 20 July 2009, to alter the executive competence of the Scottish Ministers in respect of the civil service and to make provision within the legislative competence of the Parliament and to alter that legislative competence in respect of Convention rights proceedings brought under the Scotland Act 1998 should be considered by the UK Parliament.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Energy Bill – UK Legislation: The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth (John Swinney) moved S3M-5585—That the Parliament agrees that the relevant provisions of the UK Energy Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 19 November 2009, relating to the disbursal of funds for any future Carbon Capture and Storage demonstration projects that will be the subject of assistance schemes (as they relate to environmental issues), so far as these matters fall within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, or alter the executive competence of the Scottish Ministers, should be considered by the UK Parliament.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

9. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8 as noted above.

10. Supporting Scotland’s Supported Workplaces: The Parliament debated S3M-5547 in the name of Richard Baker—That the Parliament recognises the fundamental importance of supported employment of disabled people in Scotland; notes the challenges faced by supported businesses as they look to secure a long-term future; notes, in particular, efforts to establish a long-term, sustainable enterprise in Aberdeen to carry on the excellent reputation and achievements of the Glencraft factory, which sadly closed in November 2009 after over 150 years of operation, resulting in 52 workers losing their jobs before Christmas; pays tribute to the tenacity shown by the former workforce of Glencraft and Community Union, which have campaigned tirelessly, with the support of thousands of people locally, to see Glencraft re-open and restore sustainable employment for the workforce; congratulates local businesses for helping develop a sustainable enterprise in Aberdeen, while recognising the crucial role to be played by the Scottish Government, local authorities and appropriate agencies in ensuring that any supported business is sustainable, and would welcome greater awareness and use of Article 19 of the EU public procurement directive, which allows public sector contracts to be reserved for workplaces where more than 50% of the workforce is disabled, to ensure procurement through supported businesses wherever possible.

11. Motion without Notice: Richard Baker moved without notice that, under Rule 8.14.3, the debate be extended by up to 30 minutes. The motion was agreed to.

The meeting closed at 6.10 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
28 January 2010

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

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 28 January 2010 and is subject to annulment—

The National Health Service (Superannuation Scheme, Pension Scheme, Injury Benefits and Additional Voluntary Contributions) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2010 (SSI2010/22)

laid under section 12 of the Superannuation Act 1972

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 28 January 2010 and are not subject to any parliamentary procedure

The Sea Fish Industry Authority Annual Report and Accounts 2008/09 (SG/2010/1)

laid under section 11(6b) of the Fisheries Act 1981 & section 88 of the Scotland Act 1988

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 28 January 2010—

Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, 1st Report, 2010 (Session 3): Interim Consultation Report on the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Bill and other possible subordinate legislation Standing Order rule changes (SP Paper 373)

Justice Committee, 1st Report, 2010 (Session 3): Legislative consent memorandum on the Bribery Bill (LCM(S3)26.1) (SPPaper 376)

Local Government and Communities Committee, 2nd Report, 2010 (Session 3): Report on Local Government Finance Inquiry (SP Paper 377)

Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee, 1st Report, 2010 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 378)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 8th Report, 2010 (Session 3): Marine (Scotland) Bill as amended at Stage 2 (SP Paper 379)