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Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 4, No. 8 Session 3

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 3 June 2010

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. The NHS: Jackie Baillie moved S3M-6469—That the Parliament notes with concern emerging details of workforce projections submitted by NHS boards at the request of the Scottish Government; notes that thousands of posts are proposed to be cut across the NHS in Scotland and that these include frontline staff such as nurses, midwives and allied health professionals; further notes that job and service cuts are taking place in this financial year when the overall Scottish budget has increased by almost £1 billion; believes that such a loss of frontline posts will inevitably have a detrimental impact on patient care, and therefore calls on the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing to publish the workforce projections immediately and intervene urgently to prevent cuts to frontline NHS services.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (Nicola Sturgeon) moved amendment S3M-6469.1 to motion S3M-6469—

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

“the real-terms increase for the NHS budget in 2010-11 despite the previous UK administration cutting the Scottish Government budget by £500 million; notes the commitment by the new UK coalition government to real-terms increases in the NHS budget in future years and agrees that all resultant Barnett consequentials should be applied to the NHS in Scotland; understands that, notwithstanding the above, NHS budgets are tight as a result of Labour’s economic mismanagement and that all NHS boards require to deliver services more efficiently, but welcomes the commitment that quality of patient care will be the paramount consideration, that there will be no compulsory redundancies in the NHS and that there will be more staff in the NHS at the end of this parliamentary term than there were when Labour left office in 2007.”

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S3M-6469.1.2 to amendment S3M-6469.1—

Insert at end—

“, and also welcomes the commitment from the UK coalition government to reverse Labour’s increase in national insurance, which would have cut £40 million from the budget of the NHS in Scotland.”

Ross Finnie moved amendment S3M-6469.1.1 to amendment S3M-6469.1—

Insert at end—

“, and calls on the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing to publish immediately NHS boards' workforce projections and to carry out robust scrutiny, including risk assessment, of the impact on the safety and quality of patient care and the provision of frontline NHS services.”

After debate, amendment S3M-6469.1.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 77, Against 48, Abstentions 1).

Amendment S3M-6469.1.1 was agreed to (DT).

Amendment S3M-6469.1, as amended, was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 80, Against 47, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 79, Against 48, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the real-terms increase for the NHS budget in 2010-11 despite the previous UK administration cutting the Scottish Government budget by £500 million; notes the commitment by the new UK coalition government to real-terms increases in the NHS budget in future years and agrees that all resultant Barnett consequentials should be applied to the NHS in Scotland; understands that, notwithstanding the above, NHS budgets are tight as a result of Labour’s economic mismanagement and that all NHS boards require to deliver services more efficiently, but welcomes the commitment that quality of patient care will be the paramount consideration, that there will be no compulsory redundancies in the NHS and that there will be more staff in the NHS at the end of this parliamentary term than there were when Labour left office in 2007; also welcomes the commitment from the UK coalition government to reverse Labour’s increase in national insurance, which would have cut £40 million from the budget of the NHS in Scotland, and calls on the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing to publish immediately NHS boards' workforce projections and to carry out robust scrutiny, including risk assessment, of the impact on the safety and quality of patient care and the provision of frontline NHS services.

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 Justice and Law Officers, and Rural Affairs and the Environment were answered by Cabinet Secretaries, Ministers and Scottish Law Officers.

5. Ministerial Statement: The Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism (Jim Mather) made a statement and answered questions on Visit Scotland.

6. Student Fees: The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Michael Russell) moved S3M-6472—That the Parliament commends the National Union of Students’ student fees pledge on the basis that any rise in fees in England and Wales would be detrimental to the interests of Scottish universities; congratulates those who have signed the pledge, and believes that studenttop-up fees should have no place in Scotland.

Claire Baker moved amendment S3M-6472.1 to motion S3M-6472—

Leave out from “commends” to end and insert—

“supports the continuing political consensus against the introduction of upfront tuition fees in Scotland; recognises the funding challenge facing Scottish universities if they are to remain internationally competitive, continue to achieve research excellence and widen access to higher education, and calls for an independent review of university funding.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 64, Abstentions 0).

Margaret Smith moved amendment S3M-6472.2 to motion S3M-6472—

Leave out from “commends” to end and insert—

“notes the ongoing review of higher education and student finance in England and Wales; recognises that the Scottish Government will need to consider any outcomes of this review and the potential impact on Scottish universities; commends the National Union of Students’ student fee pledge, and welcomes that, thanks to the actions of the previous and current administrations in Scotland, full-time Scottish higher education students studying in Scotland do not pay tuition fees or top-up fees.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 17, Abstentions 45).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 16, Abstentions 46).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the ongoing review of higher education and student finance in England and Wales; recognises that the Scottish Government will need to consider any outcomes of this review and the potential impact on Scottish universities; commends the National Union of Students’ student fee pledge, and welcomes that, thanks to the actions of the previous and current administrations in Scotland, full-time Scottish higher education students studying in Scotland do not pay tuition fees or top-up fees.

7. Approval of SSI: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-6481—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Advice and Assistance and Civil Legal Aid (Transfer of Tribunal Functions) (No. 2) (Scotland) Regulations 2010 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Approval of SSI: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-6482—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 (Consequential Amendments) Order 2010 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

9. Substitution on Committees: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-6483—That the Parliament agrees that—

Bill Wilson be appointed to replace Shirley-Anne Somerville as the Scottish National Party substitute on the Equal Opportunities Committee;

Jamie Hepburn be appointed to replace Bill Wilson as the Scottish National Party substitute on the Public Petitions Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

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

11. Bank on Owen: The Parliament debated S3M-6086 in the name of Bill Butler—That the Parliament welcomes the launch of the Bank on Owen campaign, which aims to have Robert Owen of New Lanark commemorated on Scottish bank notes to mark the International Year of Cooperatives in 2012; recognises the contribution that Robert Owen made to Scottish society through his pioneering work at New Lanark where he championed co-operative principles and values; notes that the co-operative sector in Scotland is worth over £3 billion to the economy and that the co-operative business model has proven extremely resilient and reliable during the recent global economic upheaval, and would welcome widespread support for this proposal.

The meeting closed at 5.55 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
3 June 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 3 June 2010 and is subject to annulment—

The Census (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2010 (SSI 2010/215)

laid under section 3(2) of the Census Act 1920