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Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 4, No. 62 Session 3

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 17 March 2011

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Transport: Charlie Gordon moved S3M-8177—That the Parliament believes that market failure in the bus industry requires legislation to regulate bus services in the best interests of the travelling public.

The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure (Keith Brown) moved amendment S3M-8177.1 to motion S3M-8177—

Leave out from "believes" to end and insert—

"notes the Labour proposals for regulation of bus services; recognises the important role that bus services provide to communities across Scotland; welcomes the Scottish Government’s investment of almost £250 million in the bus network, including funding for the national concessionary travel scheme, the Bus Service Operators Grant, which supports the bus network, investment of £4.4 million in the Scottish Green Bus Fund and over £500,000 in retrofitting particulate traps in buses that help reduce costs, and calls for more practical support for passengers and bus companies including the introduction of a fuel duty regulator, as agreed by the Parliament on 2 March 2011, which would be of genuine help to bus users, reducing costs, unlike Labour proposals on VAT, which can be reclaimed and would make no difference to bus companies or users."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 47, Against 73, Abstentions 0).

Jackson Carlaw moved amendment S3M-8177.3 to motion S3M-8177—

Leave out from "believes" to end and insert—

"notes that voluntary partnerships between bus operators and local authorities have proved a successful means of delivering quality bus services in many areas of Scotland; congratulates Perth-based Stagecoach and Aberdeen-based FirstGroup on their unparalleled global success; further congratulates Lothian Buses on being named the best bus company in the UK for 2007 and notes the success that this company has achieved since the Transport (Scotland) Act 1989; therefore, in light of the clear evidence, cautions against the inappropriate regulation of bus services, and urges local authorities concerned about services in their area to examine those voluntary partnerships operating outside the statutory framework that have delivered most in terms of results and to consider what lessons can be learned and applied."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 104, Abstentions 0).

Alison McInnes moved amendment S3M-8177.2 to motion S3M-8177—

Leave out from "believes" to end and insert—

"recognises the importance of efficient and accessible bus services at a time of high fuel costs and changing travel patterns; welcomes the positive developments in the bus industry in recent years, but believes that more progress can be made in improving access to bus services, encouraging modal shift and reducing congestion; believes that the provision of efficient and affordable bus services must be supported with the necessary infrastructure on both local and trunk roads, including expanded park-and-ride schemes, bus passenger priority measures and accurate and accessible timetable information; supports community transport and demand-responsive transport schemes in areas where public transport availability is limited, and supports the restoration of the Bus Route Development Scheme to aid the development of new and existing registered local bus services that have the potential for growth."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 14, Against 106, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 40, Against 80, Abstentions 0).

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. Chronic Pain Services in Scotland: The Parliament debated S3M-7853 in the name of Mary Scanlon—That the Parliament is concerned that some Scottish patients with chronic pain are being forced to travel to England for treatment, with eight of Scotland's NHS boards sending patients with chronic pain for treatment at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath at a cost of £206,685 in the first six months of 2010-11; understands that since 2008-09 it has cost the NHS over £620,000 to send patients to one hospital in Bath for treatment for chronic pain; understands the difficulties that this extra travel will cause for patients in terms of their own pain through travelling long distances, particularly from the north of Scotland, and also being separated from friends and families, and acknowledges the plight of people with chronic pain in Scotland, where the service across NHS boards is very patchy.

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Health and Wellbeing were answered by the Cabinet Secretary and Ministers.

6. Business Motion: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-8175—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Bill, debate on groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time limit indicated, that time limit being calculated from when the stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when a meeting of the Parliament is suspended (other than a suspension following the first division in the stage being called) or otherwise not in progress:

Groups 1 to 3: 20 minutes

Groups 4 and 5: 45 minutes.

The motion was agreed to.

7. Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Bill - Stage 3: The Bill was considered at Stage 3.

The following amendments were agreed to without division: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 2, 13 and 14.

The following amendments were agreed to (by division)—

1 (For 119, Against 0, Abstentions 0)
15 (For 92, Against 2, Abstentions 0)

8. Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Bill - Stage 3: The Minister for Housing and Communities (Alex Neil) moved S3M-8128—That the Parliament agrees that the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Bill be passed.

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

9. Education Bill - UK Legislation: The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Michael Russell) moved S3M-8145—That the Parliament agrees that the relevant provisions of the Education Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 26 January2011, in consequence of the abolition of the Young People’s Learning Agency, so far as these matters fall within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament or the executive competence of the Scottish Ministers, should be considered by the UK Parliament.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

10. Public Bodies Bill - UK Legislation: The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth (John Swinney) moved S3M-8125—That the Parliament agrees that the relevant provisions of the Public Bodies Bill, introduced in the House of Lords on 28 October 2010, that relate to certain public bodies and offices, to the extent that these bodies and office holders exercise functions in Scotland that would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament or in respect of which the Scottish Ministers exercise executive powers, and the power of consent for the Scottish Parliament, should be considered by the UK Parliament.

The motion was agreed to.

11. Business Motion: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-8196—That the Parliament agrees the following revision to the programme of business for Tuesday 22 March 2011—

delete

12.20 pm General Question Time

12.40 pm First Minister's Question Time

1.10 pm Motion of Thanks to the Presiding Officer

1.25 pm Decision Time

and insert

11.55 am General Question Time

12.15 pm First Minister's Question Time

12.45 pm Motion of Thanks to the Presiding Officer

1.00 pm Decision Time

The motion was agreed to.

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

13. 70th Anniversary of the Clydebank Blitz: The Parliament debated S3M-7738 in the name of Des McNulty—That the Parliament notes that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Clydebank Blitz; recognises that the destruction inflicted by aerial bombardment on 13 and 14 March 1941 in Clydebank was proportionately the worst suffered in any part of the United Kingdom, leaving only seven houses undamaged in the town and over 48,000 people homeless; mourns the hundreds of people who lost their lives, along withthose who were seriously injured; praises the heroism of service personnel, health and local authority workers and volunteers in Clydebank at the time of the Blitz; welcomes the efforts of West Dunbartonshire Council, local church congregations and other local groups to ensure that the anniversary is recognised in an appropriate fashion; acknowledges the terrible price paid by Clydebank, and considers there to be a need to invest in the regeneration of the town that was affected not only by the Blitz but also by the collapse of the shipbuilding and engineering industries on which the economy of the town was so dependent.

The meeting closed at 5.36 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
17 March 2011

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

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 17 March 2011 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure––

Natural Scotland – A land use strategy for Scotland (SG/2011/64)—

Natural Scotland – A report on the consultation process undertaken to produce a land use strategy for Scotland (SG/2011/65)—

laid under section 57 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009

Anniesland College Report and Accounts 31st July 2010 (SG/2011/66)—

Ayr College Report of the Board of Management and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2010 (SG/2011/67)—

Inverness College Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2010 (SG/2011/68)—

Moray College Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2010 (SG/2011/69)—

Motherwell College Financial Statements Year ending 31st July 2010 (SG/2011/70)—

North Glasgow College Report and Financial Statements for the Period 1 August 2009 – 31 July 2010 (SG/2011/71)—

laid under section 22(5) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 17 March 2011––

Health and Sport Committee, 6th Report, 2011 (Session 3): Session 3 Legacy Report (SP Paper 618)

Public Audit Committee, 7th Report, 2011 (Session 3): Annual Report 2010-11 (SP Paper 642)

Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee, 4th Report, 2011 (Session 3): Legacy paper (SP Paper 644)

Equal Opportunities Committee, 4th Report, 2011 (Session 3) Legacy Paper (SP Paper 646)

Justice Committee, 8th Report, 2011 (Session 3): Annual Report 2010-11 (SPPaper648)

Justice Committee, 9th Report, 2011 (Session 3): Legacy Report (Session3) (SPPaper649)

Justice Committee, 10th Report, 2011 (Session 3): The Criminal Legal Aid (Fixed Payments) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2011 (SSI2011/162) (SPPaper650)

Finance Committee, 7th Report, 2011 (Session 3): Session 3 Legacy Paper (SP Paper 651)

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, 6th Report, 2011 (Session 3): Legacy Paper (SP Paper 652)