Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No.86/2005: Thursday 26 May 2005
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Section A – Today’s Business

Meeting of the Parliament

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions—

S2M-2875 Ms Margaret Curran on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau : Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Bill, debate of groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time-limits indicated (each time limit being calculated from when the Stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when the meeting of the Parliament is suspended or otherwise not in progress):

Group 1 – 30 minutes

Group 2 – 45 minutes.

followed by Scottish National Party Debate: Student and Graduate Debt—

S2M-2866 Fiona Hyslop: Student and Graduate Debt—That the Parliament notes with concern growing student and graduate debt in Scotland, which not only hinders opportunities for the individuals concerned, but also damages society and the wider economy generally; further notes the spiralling cost to the taxpayer of the expensive and bureaucratic student loan system and the growing consensus that it is unsustainable, and calls on the Scottish Executive to come forward with a constructive review, incorporating a number of proposals to address this growing problem and encompassing an assessment of replacing student loans, including the graduate endowment repayment, with a universal system of grants.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S2M-2866.2 Mr Jim Wallace: Student and Graduate Debt—As an amendment to motion (S2M-2866) in the name of Fiona Hyslop, leave out from “notes with concern” to end and insert “agrees that the support arrangements for students ordinarily resident in Scotland should continue to be based on fairness and affordability; agrees that such a system should include free tuition, regardless of family income, and bursary support for those from less well-off backgrounds; welcomes the increased level of the Young Students’ Bursary and its extended eligibility; notes that liable graduates pay the graduate endowment in respect of the higher education benefits that they have received with the payments adding to the fund to pay support bursaries for students from poorer backgrounds, and recognises that the publication of the survey of Scottish students’ income and expenditure, later this year, will allow for a better understanding of the situation facing students and the continued development of policy to meet their needs.”

S2M-2866.1 Murdo Fraser: Student and Graduate Debt—As an amendment to motion (S2M-2866) in the name of Fiona Hyslop, leave out from “further” to end and insert “calls on the Scottish Executive to end the graduate endowment which places an increased debt burden on students; recommends that the student loan repayment threshold be raised to £20,000 and that the loan value be increased to £5,000 per annum at a low, but commercial, rate of interest, which will remove the necessity for students to resort to expensive overdraft and credit card borrowing, and calls on the Executive to transfer all or part of the loan book to independent providers so that higher education can expand without extra and undue burden being placed on the taxpayer.”

followed by Scottish National Party Debate: Age Discrimination in the NHS—

S2M-2861 Shona Robison: Age Discrimination in the NHS—That the Parliament is concerned about the lack of personal care and attention given to older people in some acute hospitals in Scotland and believes that the Scottish Executive should establish, as a matter of urgency, an independent inquiry into direct and indirect age discrimination within the NHS.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S2M-2861.3 Mr Andy Kerr: Age Discrimination in the NHS—As an amendment to motion (S2M-2861) in the name of Shona Robison, leave out from “is concerned” to end and insert “welcomes the work of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland on its 2004 review of older people in acute care and its recommendations on how to improve services; welcomes the independent inquiry set up by NHS Lothian in response to recent criticisms of its standards of care, and welcomes the fact that the Scottish Executive has commenced work on an overarching framework for healthcare and community care for older people in Scotland, having due regard to David Kerr’s report on the future of the NHS.”

S2M-2861.1 Mrs Nanette Milne: Age Discrimination in the NHS—As an amendment to motion (S2M-2861) in the name of Shona Robison, leave out from “and believes” to end and insert “believes that the Health Committee should consider the issue of elderly abuse in its post-legislative scrutiny of community care legislation; further believes that any neglect of the elderly reflects the current problems and workforce pressures that the NHS suffers from, and recognises that the NHS needs real reform to alleviate these fundamental problems.”

11.40 am General Question Time

General

1. Mr Mark Ruskell: To ask the Scottish Executive how climate change is being addressed through public private partnership school projects, for example by enabling the installation of biomass heating systems in circumstances where woodfuel represents the best local option for sustainable development and long-term value for money. (S2O-6861)

2. Michael McMahon: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is satisfied that all town centre developers have equitable access to information from its officials regarding development proposals . (S2O-6887)

3. Janis Hughes: To ask the Scottish Executive what improvements it has made in preventing renal disease in those with diabetes. (S2O-6876)

4. Shona Robison: To ask the Scottish Executive what action is being taken to improve the care and treatment of older people in acute hospitals. (S2O-6838)

5. Mrs Margaret Ewing: To ask the Scottish Executive what indicators it has used to assess the performance of NHS 24 . (S2O-6824)

6. Mr Kenneth Macintosh: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has any plans to hold an annual sun-awareness week to highlight the dangers of skin cancer to Scots in particular . (S2O-6886)

7. Mr Alasdair Morrison: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will provide an update on its programme of reform of the Crofters Building Grants and Loans Scheme. (S2O-6891)

8. Scott Barrie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it still considers the remuneration proposed for dentists in its dental action plan to be adequate. (S2O-6866)

9. Elaine Smith: To ask the Scottish Executive what action is being taken to address the prevalence of osteoporosis amongst women . (S2O-6857)

10. Susan Deacon: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress is being made in identifying and meeting the diverse needs of Scotland’s city regions. (S2O-6870)

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time –

1. Nicola Sturgeon: To ask the First Minister what issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Scottish Executive’s Cabinet. (S2F-1661)

2. David McLetchie: To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the Prime Minister and what issues will be discussed. (S2F-1662)

3. Robin Harper: To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the Secretary of State for Scotland and what issues he intends to discuss. (S2F-1665)

4. Bristow Muldoon: To ask the First Minister whether the Scottish Executive’s “Homestake” scheme is helping enough people onto the housing ladder or whether Scotland should consider joining the recently announced UK initiative. (S2F-1667)

5. Ms Sandra White: To ask the First Minister what impact the proposed staff reductions at BBC Scotland will have on Scottish democracy and cultural identity. (S2F-1672)

6. Donald Gorrie: To ask the First Minister what steps the Scottish Executive and the police will be taking to control football-related hooliganism following their recent discussions. (S2F-1675)

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport

1. Maureen Macmillan: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the use of public service obligations will be extended to cover additional air routes in the Highlands and Islands. (S2O-6882)

2. Alex Johnstone: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will make a final decision on the route of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route following the recent public consultation . (S2O-6813)

3. Jackie Baillie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that there are economic and environmental benefits to removing the tolls on the Erskine Bridge. (S2O-6865)

4. Trish Godman: To ask the Scottish Executive whether an analysis has been conducted of the potential economic and social benefits arising from the abolition of the tolls on the Erskine Bridge. (S2O-6874)

5. Fergus Ewing: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has made any estimate of the impact on the economy of the effect of fuel costs and the European Working Time Directive on the haulage industry and whether this impact will be significant and adverse. (S2O-6823)

6. Christine May: To ask the Scottish Executive what assistance its Enterprise Department is giving to industry to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power generation. (S2O-6884)

7. John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to ensure that people in the Highlands have access to the full range of training and retraining opportunities needed in a modern economy . (S2O-6853)

8. Stewart Stevenson: To ask the Scottish Executive how many of its staff have been appointed to oversee the work of the task force charged with the regeneration of Moray’s economy . (S2O-6855)

9. Chris Ballance: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will introduce interim targets for road transport reduction or stabilisation. (S2O-6859)

10. Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive how young people will be equipped with skills for jobs through initiatives such as Project Scotland . (S2O-6889)

Justice and Law Officers

1. Richard Lochhead: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps are being taken to measure the effectiveness of drug rehabilitation programmes in prisons. (S2O-6830)

2. Michael Matheson: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to improve support for prisoners with mental health problems. (S2O-6835)

3. Mr John Home Robertson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the establishment of the Judicial Appointments Board has led to more openness in judicial appointments. (S2O-6875)

4. Mr Andrew Arbuckle: To ask the Scottish Executive how many police officers are employed by Fife Constabulary and how these figures compare to those for 2004 . (S2O-6843)

5. Mr Bruce McFee: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to ensure that antisocial behaviour orders are used appropriately by local authorities. (S2O-6832)

6. Mr Adam Ingram: To ask the Scottish Executive what representations the Minister for Justice has made to the Home Office regarding the conditions for children at Dungavel House immigration removal centre, in light of the recent report by Anne Owers, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons. (S2O-6829)

7. Donald Gorrie: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to encourage the police and courts to make more use of the existing law about not serving alcohol to people who are drunk, as part of the campaign against binge drinking. (S2O-6845)

8. Brian Adam: To ask the Scottish Executive whether its Justice Department has any plans to support forensic pathology training for junior medical staff and, if so, whether such training will include post-mortem examinations under supervision. (S2O-6820)

9. Mr Stewart Maxwell: To ask the Scottish Executive what the operating costs were of the Strathclyde Safety Camera Partnership in 2003-04. (S2O-6814)

10. Mr Frank McAveety: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the judicial appointments process is working satisfactorily. (S2O-6885)

2.55 pm Stage 3 Proceedings: Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Bill—

S2M-2772 Cathy Jamieson: Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees that the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Bill be passed.

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business:

Debate on the subject of—

S2M-2770 Richard Lochhead: Proposed Closure of Rural and Special Needs Schools in Aberdeenshire—That the Parliament notes with concern the proposals by Aberdeenshire Council to close or amalgamate a number of local schools; recognises the strength of feeling amongst parents and the wider community over the implications of closing those schools, as illustrated by the formation of the Garioch Schools Action Group and other local campaigns; notes in particular the proposal to close St Andrew’s school in Inverurie, a school that is widely recognised as providing an excellent educational environment for children with special needs; recognises the opposition to the current proposals by local parents at St Andrew’s who are genuinely concerned by the impact some of the options proposed by Aberdeenshire Council will have on their children; notes the ongoing confusion over the exact nature of the local authority’s proposals which is causing considerable distress amongst parents; believes that Aberdeenshire Council must make available to parents all the necessary information in relation to all those schools proposed for closure as part of the current consultation process; considers that Aberdeenshire Council should recognise the strength of the arguments put forward by parents and the wider community for the retention of their local schools, and further considers that the Scottish Executive should play what role it can to ensure that Aberdeenshire Council’s proposals do not damage the educational welfare of the children and wider interests of the community.