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Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 4, No. 22 Session 3

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 23 September 2010

 

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1.   The Future of Forensics Services in Scotland: Richard Baker moved S3M-7045—That the Parliamentrecognises the importance of a national forensic service which is able to serve the needs of the whole country; acknowledges the key role of forensic services and speedy access to evidence for the detection of those responsible for crimes and the prevention of further offences; notes the consultation by the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) on a number of options for the future of forensic services in Scotland; believes that the recommendation for the future structure of the service which has now been made by the SPSA Board to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice should be made public immediately; further believes that Option 3, which would result in the closure of the laboratories in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and that Option 4, which would see their services very significantly reduced, would be detrimental to very many communities in Scotland, and accordingly believes that Option 2 should be the basis on which services are developed.

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved amendment S3M-7045.2 to motion S3M-7045—

Leave out from first “believes” to end and insert—

“notes that the recommendation for the future structure of the service has not yet been made by the SPSA Board to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and that the cabinet secretary, in making the decision, should listen to the views of the Parliament, and further notes the valuable work done by SPSA’s expert staff across Scotland and the positive way that they have engaged in this process.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 48, Against 74, Abstentions 0).

John Lamont moved amendment S3M-7045.1 to motion S3M-7045—

Insert at end—

 “; acknowledges the concerns raised about the loss of specialist jobs, and further notes the concerns of local communities and the police about the proposed changes.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 76, Against 1, Abstentions 45).

Robert Brown moved amendment S3M-7045.3 to motion S3M-7045—

Insert at end—

“; believes that decisions on the future of the national forensic service should be driven by the quality of the services needed and provided; regrets the history of inadequate consultation and consideration by the SPSA over the structure of the service; deplores the way in which the SPSA regarded the closure of regional services as a foregone conclusion, and considers that the controversy surrounding the issue serves as a warning as to the dangers of dogmatic centralisation.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 76, Against 46, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 74, Against 0, Abstentions 48).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the importance of a national forensic service which is able to serve the needs of the whole country; acknowledges the key role of forensic services and speedy access to evidence for the detection of those responsible for crimes and the prevention of further offences; notes the consultation by the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) on a number of options for the future of forensic services in Scotland; believes that the recommendation for the future structure of the service which has now been made by the SPSA Board to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice should be made public immediately; further believes that Option 3, which would result in the closure of the laboratories in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and that Option 4, which would see their services very significantly reduced, would be detrimental to very many communities in Scotland; accordingly believes that Option 2 should be the basis on which services are developed; acknowledges the concerns raised about the loss of specialist jobs; further notes the concerns of local communities and the police about the proposed changes; believes that decisions on the future of the national forensic service should be driven by the quality of the services needed and provided; regrets the history of inadequate consultation and consideration by the SPSA over the structure of the service; deplores the way in which the SPSA regarded the closure of regional services as a foregone conclusion, and considers that the controversy surrounding the issue serves as a warning as to the dangers of dogmatic centralisation.

2.   Emergency Question: An emergency question on the Commonwealth Games in Delhi was answered by the Minister for Public Health and Sport (Shona Robison).

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.   A Low Carbon Economy for Scotland: The Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism (Jim Mather) moved S3M-7047—That the Parliament acknowledges that Scotland is developing a national consensus and determination to play a full role in developing the technologies skills and expertise to build a low carbon economy; welcomes the job opportunities associated with the further development of low carbon technologies, and notes that the net effect of these and other initiatives has been to position Scotland as a preferred international destination for low carbon investment.

Sarah Boyack moved amendment S3M-7047.2 to motion S3M-7047—

Leave out from first “developing” to end and insert—

“continuing to develop a national consensus and determination to play a full role in developing the technologies, skills and expertise to build a low-carbon economy; welcomes the job opportunities associated with the further development of low-carbon technologies and acknowledges the need for skills development; notes that the net effect of these and other initiatives has been to position Scotland as a preferred international destination for low-carbon investment, and believes that the Scottish Government should use its powers to the full in support of the development of low-carbon technologies in energy, transport and housing and in the promotion of existing technologies, such as combined heat and power and microgeneration, in order to underpin Scotland’s recovery from economic recession.”

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

Jackson Carlaw moved amendment S3M-7047.1 to motion S3M-7047—

Insert at end—

“; further notes the conclusion of the report, Scotland’s Generation Advantage, produced for the Scottish Government, that the scheduled closure of Hunterston B and Torness means that Scotland will lose a significant volume of low-carbon power, and therefore considers that the extension or ultimate replacement of Scotland’s nuclear facilities will be crucial in maintaining a safe, secure and low-carbon energy supply going forward.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 57, Against 63, Abstentions 2).

Liam McArthur moved amendment S3M-7047.3 to motion S3M-7047—

Insert at end—

“; welcomes the announcement by Ofgem of a review of the charging arrangements for gas and electricity transmission networks and hopes that this will pave the way to removing barriers to the development of Scotland’s renewable energy industry, and believes that the UK Government’s plans for a Green Investment Bank to fund low-carbon transport and energy schemes and a Green Deal to overhaul the energy efficiency of homes and small businesses will benefit Scotland’s efforts to build a low-carbon economy.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 75, Against 0, Abstentions 46).

Patrick Harvie moved amendment S3M-7047.4 to motion S3M-7047—

Leave out from “acknowledges” to end and insert—   

regrets that the cross-party support for the long-term targets in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 has not been followed by consensus on the urgent and radical policy changes that are needed to bring about a low-carbon economy; believes that the Scottish Government should reconsider its support for increased road capacity, growing the aviation industry and building new coal-fired power stations, given the detrimental impact on Scotland’s climate change emissions; regrets the lost economic opportunities from the Scottish Government’s failure to heed calls for a rapid increase in investment in energy efficiency; calls on the Scottish Government to introduce more substantial support for the marine renewables industry, and believes that a sustainable economic vision should not leave Scotland dependent on the whims of the international money markets, which have failed the country repeatedly in the past, but instead should focus on building resilient low-carbon local economies.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 2, Against 120, Abstentions 0).

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

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament acknowledges that Scotland is continuing to develop a national consensus and determination to play a full role in developing the technologies, skills and expertise to build a low-carbon economy; welcomes the job opportunities associated with the further development of low-carbon technologies and acknowledges the need for skills development; notes that the net effect of these and other initiatives has been to position Scotland as a preferred international destination for low-carbon investment; believes that the Scottish Government should use its powers to the full in support of the development of low-carbon technologies in energy, transport and housing and in the promotion of existing technologies, such as combined heat and power and microgeneration, in order to underpin Scotland’s recovery from economic recession; welcomes the announcement by Ofgem of a review of the charging arrangements for gas and electricity transmission networks and hopes that this will pave the way to removing barriers to the development of Scotland’s renewable energy industry, and believes that the UK Government’s plans for a Green Investment Bank to fund low-carbon transport and energy schemes and a Green Deal to overhaul the energy efficiency of homes and small businesses will benefit Scotland’s efforts to build a low-carbon economy.

7.   Substitution on Committees: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-7051—That the Parliamentagrees that Tricia Marwick be appointed to replace Bill Wilson as the Scottish National Party substitute on the Equal Opportunities Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

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

9.   Keep Leuchie House: The Parliament debated S3M-6753 in the name of Jackie Baillie—That the Parliament regrets the decision to close Leuchie House; notes that Leuchie House is the only respite home operating in Scotland and northern England for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and is one of only four across the United Kingdom; believes that the level of care given at Leuchie House is exceptional; notes that the facility that it offers MS patients to holiday with their carer and their children is unique; notes that it has continually achieved the maximum evaluation of excellent in every area of inspection by the Care Commission; recognises that Leuchie House is much valued by service users; believes that the closure of such a specialised facility will cause a strain on families not just in the Lothian area, but across Scotland as well as impacting on other services, such as the NHS, as they struggle to cope with the needs of MS patients, and is of the view that the facility should be retained.

The meeting closed at 5.53 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
23 September 2010

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

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 23 September 2010 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland Annual Report 2009-2010 (SG/2010/120)

laid at the request of a member of the Scottish Executive and not under any laying power

The Public Services Reform (Agricultural Holdings) (Scotland) Order 2011 & Executive Note (SG/2010/182)

laid under section 26(2)(a)(i) of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010

The Public Services Reform (Agricultural Holdings) (Scotland) Order 2011 Proposed Explanatory Document (SG/2010/183)

laid under section 26(2)(a)(ii) of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010

Committee Reports

The following reports are being published on 24 September 2010—

Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, 5th Report, 2010 (Session 3): The recommendations of the Commission on Scottish Devolution regarding Scottish Parliament Procedures (SP Paper 490)

Local Government and Communities, 8th Report, 2010 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SP paper 492)