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Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 4, No. 14 Session 3

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 24 June 2010

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Tourism: Iain Smith moved S3M-6635—That the Parliament notes that tourism is among the largest contributors to the Scottish economy and is defined as a key sector; believes that the industry needs clear direction and support in order to achieve sustainable, long-term growth; deeply regrets the current crisis at the head of VisitScotland over the role of the chief executive and the lack of clarity over ministerial involvement; further notes that the hospitality and tourism sectors have been particularly affected by higher rates bills following revaluation and that Scottish businesses are almost alone in the United Kingdom in having to face these massive increases; notes the British Hospitality Association Scotland, CBI and Chambers of Commerce criticisms of the lack of a transitional rates relief scheme, and calls on the Scottish Government to work constructively with these and other business organisations across Scotland to agree and deliver such a scheme.

The Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism (Jim Mather) moved amendment S3M-6635.1 to motion S3M-6635—

Leave out from “deeply regrets” to end and insert—

“welcomes the initiative of the industry to establish the Tourism Leadership Group as a positive step in working collaboratively toward growth and prosperity, and notes that extending the small business bonus scheme will mean that half of all businesses, including many tourism-related businesses, will receive a discounted bill this year and well over a quarter of business properties will pay no rates at all and that the introduction of a transitional relief scheme would increase taxes for small and medium-sized private companies by £77 million, meaning that eight out of 10 ratepayers, including many in the tourism and hospitality industry, would be worse or no better off, which would be extremely damaging for Scotland in this period of fragile economic recovery.”

Gavin Brown moved amendment S3M-6635.1.1 to amendment S3M-6635.1—

Insert at end—

“, and welcomes the UK Government’s decision not to repeal the special tax rules for furnished holiday lettings, as had been proposed by the previous administration led by Labour.”

Lewis Macdonald moved amendment S3M-6635.2 to motion S3M-6635—

Insert at end—

"; regrets that the combination of increased business rates and increased VAT will put Scotland's tourism industry at a competitive disadvantage, and believes therefore that there is even greater need for the Scottish Government to adopt an approach based on greater transparency and accountability, learning the lessons of the Auditor General’s report on the Gathering as well as other recent events, and to give renewed emphasis to training and skills".

After debate, amendment S3M-6635.1.1 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 76, Against 41, Abstentions 2).

Amendment S3M-6635.1, as amended, was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 58, Abstentions 0). As a result amendment 6635.2 was pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 58, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes that tourism is among the largest contributors to the Scottish economy and is defined as a key sector; believes that the industry needs clear direction and support in order to achieve sustainable, long-term growth; welcomes the initiative of the industry to establish the Tourism Leadership Group as a positive step in working collaboratively toward growth and prosperity; notes that extending the small business bonus scheme will mean that half of all businesses, including many tourism-related businesses, will receive a discounted bill this year and well over a quarter of business properties will pay no rates at all and that the introduction of a transitional relief scheme would increase taxes for small and medium-sized private companies by £77 million, meaning that eight out of 10 ratepayers, including many in the tourism and hospitality industry, would be worse or no better off, which would be extremely damaging for Scotland in this period of fragile economic recovery, and welcomes the UK Government’s decision not to repeal the special tax rules for furnished holiday lettings, as had been proposed by the previous administration led by Labour.

2. Free Personal Care for the Elderly: Ross Finnie moved S3M-6633—That the Parliament believes that free personal and nursing care for the elderly has widespread support and continues to deliver real benefits for tens of thousands of Scotland’s most vulnerable older people, allowing them the dignity and independence of growing old in the comfort of their homes; recognises that budget constraints and demographic change present challenges for Scotland’s social care and health services, but, in order to protect the elderly, reaffirms its commitment to free personal and nursing care for the long term so that Scotland’s elderly population can continue to receive the care to which it is entitled.

The Minister for Public Health and Sport (Shona Robison) moved amendment S3M-6633.1 to motion S3M-6633—

Insert at end—

“, and welcomes the wide-ranging Reshaping Care for Older People programme, which is developing innovative and practical ideas for change to meet the needs of Scotland’s population that are sustainable, deliverable and fair.”

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

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S3M-6633.2 to motion S3M-6633—

Insert at end—

“; urges the Scottish Government to continue to identify savings in administrative costs that can be reinvested in frontline services, and, in this context, calls on the Scottish Government to give serious consideration to the proposal from Lord Sutherland to merge health and social care budgets.”

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

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

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament believes that free personal and nursing care for the elderly has widespread support and continues to deliver real benefits for tens of thousands of Scotland’s most vulnerable older people, allowing them the dignity and independence of growing old in the comfort of their homes; recognises that budget constraints and demographic change present challenges for Scotland’s social care and health services, but, in order to protect the elderly, reaffirms its commitment to free personal and nursing care for the long term so that Scotland’s elderly population can continue to receive the care to which it is entitled; welcomes the wide-ranging Reshaping Care for Older People programme, which is developing innovative and practical ideas for change to meet the needs of Scotland’s population that are sustainable, deliverable and fair; urges the Scottish Government to continue to identify savings in administrative costs that can be reinvested in frontline services, and, in this context, calls on the Scottish Government to give serious consideration to the proposal from Lord Sutherland to merge health and social care budgets.

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

6. The Independent Review of Sheriff and Jury Procedure: The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved S3M-6636—That the Parliament welcomes the report on theIndependent Review of Sheriff andJury Procedure conducted by Sheriff Principal Edward F Bowen CBE TD QC and believes that the people of Scotland deserve a modernised sheriff and jury procedure that promotes the interest of justice in an efficient way, serves the interest of victims, witnesses and jurors and is fit for purpose in the 21st century.

John Lamont moved amendment S3M-6636.1 to motion S3M-6636—

Insert at end—

“, and further recognises that, with constraints on the public expenditure, it is vital to ensure that justice continues to be delivered swiftly and in a cost effective manner.”

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

Robert Brown moved amendment S3M-6636.2 to motion S3M-6636—

Insert at end—

“, and calls on the Scottish Government to work with the courts and other stakeholders to implement the reforms as a matter of urgency.”

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 on theIndependent Review of Sheriff andJury Procedure conducted by Sheriff Principal Edward F Bowen CBE TD QC and believes that the people of Scotland deserve a modernised sheriff and jury procedure that promotes the interest of justice in an efficient way, serves the interest of victims, witnesses and jurors and is fit for purpose in the 21st century; further recognises that, with constraints on the public expenditure, it is vital to ensure that justice continues to be delivered swiftly and in a cost effective manner, and calls on the Scottish Government to work with the courts and other stakeholders to implement the reforms as a matter of urgency.

7. Committee Membership: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-6645—That the Parliament agrees that—

Mr Frank McAveety be appointed to replace Rhona Brankin as a member of the European and External Relations Committee;

Mr Frank McAveety be appointed to replace Cathie Craigie as a member of the Public Audit Committee;

Cathie Craigie be appointed to replace Mr Frank McAveety as a member of the Public Petitions Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

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

9. Deaf Awareness Week 2010: The Parliament debated S3M-6139 in the name of Bill Kidd—That the Parliament welcomes Deaf Awareness Week 2010, which is to take place between 28 June and 4 July 2010 and aims to improve understanding of different types of deafness by highlighting the many different methods of communication used by deaf, deafened, deafblind and hard-of-hearing people, such as sign language and lip-reading; also welcomes the launch and presentation of an exclusive corporate DVD on behalf of the Hearing Company by Julie McElroy, which aims to raise awareness and understanding of issues surrounding deafness by drawing on Julie’s own experiences with deafness, and applauds the efforts of the UK Council on Deafness, Julie McElroy and all others involved in coordinating and contributing to the 2010 Deaf Awareness Week Campaign.

The meeting closed at 5.40 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
24 June 2010

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 24 June 2010 for approval by resolution—

The Public Appointments and Public Bodies etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 (Treatment of Office or Body as Specified Authority) (No. 2) Order 2010

laid under section 18(4) of the Public Appointments and Public Bodies etc. (Scotland) Act 2003

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 24 June 2010 and is subject to annulment—

The National Health Service (Tribunal) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2010 (SSI2010/266)

laid under section 105 of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 24 June 2010—

Equal Opportunities Committee, 4th Report, 2010 (Session 3): Report on post-legislative scrutiny: the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 (SP Paper 468)

Health and Sport Committee, 7th Report 2010 (Session 3) - Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 474)

Local Government and Communities Committee, 7th Report, 2010 (Session 3): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 475)