Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No.39/2006: Wednesday 8 March 2006
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Section E – Written questions lodged on 7 March 2006

Questions marked with a triangle (Δ) are initiated by the Scottish Executive in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.

S2W-23924 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to assist in the delivery of a new train station in Castlecary with park and ride facilities, referred to in Building Better Transport in March 2003 as being part of a package to be taken forward by the Executive arising from recommendations made by the Central Scotland Transport Corridor Studies.

S2W-23925 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether consideration has been given to operating regular rail passenger services between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley via Cumbernauld station or between Cumbernauld and Edinburgh Waverley.

S2W-23926 Christine Grahame: To ask the Scottish Executive what central funding is available to either local authorities or the police for speed restriction signs such as mobile "smiley face" signs.

S2W-23927 Richard Lochhead: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-23466 by Mr Andy Kerr on 3 March 2006, how many out-patients on the out-patient waiting list had an availability status code at each census date for which information is available, expressed also as a percentage of all out-patients on the list.

S2W-23928 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will provide a breakdown of the costs of recruiting the new Director of the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service.

S2W-23929 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to encourage the redevelopment of urban brownfield sites, in particular through the creation of affordable housing.

S2W-23930 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how many council houses have lain vacant and available for rent in each local authority area in each year since 1995.

S2W-23931 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what the average house price was in each local authority area in each year since 1995.

S2W-23932 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-21275 by Tavish Scott on 15 December 2005, who made the assessment of these costs.

S2W-23933 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with Her Majesty’s Government about the possibility of transferring control of North Sea oil in Scottish waters to the Executive.

S2W-23934 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what internal discussions it has had about the contents of file SEP 10/556, held by the National Archives of Scotland and opened on 8 September 2005 for public view.

S2W-23935 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with Her Majesty’s Government about the impact of the creation of an oil fund from revenues secured by North Sea oil, similar to that which exists in Norway.

S2W-23936 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had (a) with Her Majesty’s Government and (b) internally about the impact of altering the Scotland Act 1998, particularly Schedule 5 of the Act.

S2W-23937 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had (a) with Her Majesty’s Government and (b) internally about the impact of potential exploration for sources of oil in the Atlantic Ocean.

S2W-23938 Paul Martin: To ask the Scottish Executive what the impact of meeting the Scottish Housing Quality Standard will be on the health of those living in homes that meet the standard.

S2W-23939 Paul Martin: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps are being taken to ensure that Glasgow Housing Association successfully completes its second stage stock transfer.

S2W-23940 John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive why it is necessary to have a TETRA O2 Airwave transmitter in Kyleakin.

S2W-23941 John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive when the community of Kyleakin was first informed about the recently installed TETRA O2 Airwave transmitter.

S2W-23942 John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is aware of any reports of ill-health among those who live in proximity to TETRA O2 Airwave transmitters and, if so, what discussions it had with NHS Highland prior to the transmitter being installed near the village primary school in Kyleakin.

S2W-23943 John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will list all the locations where TETRA O2 Airwave transmitters will be switched on in 2006.

S2W-23944 John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive what locations were considered as alternatives for the Kyleakin TETRA mast to the site above Old Kyle Farm Road and why they were rejected.

S2W-23945 John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive, in light of the Northern Constabulary Chief Constable’s statement that the force would need 287 TETRA sites to deliver Airwave, why only 150 have been installed.

S2W-23946 John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive what it considers are the reasons for reported adverse health symptoms within communities in proximity to TETRA masts and whether there are plans to investigate such reported symptoms.

S2W-23947 Susan Deacon: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress is being made in implementing the proposals contained in the report from the Expert Group on Prostitution, Being Outside: Constructing a Response to Street Prostitution.

S2W-23948 Susan Deacon: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it plans to make kerb-crawling an offence.

S2W-23949 Susan Deacon: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress is being made in providing local authorities and their community planning partners with guidance on dealing with street prostitution.

S2W-23950 Susan Deacon: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the proposed Sentencing Bill will deal with prostitution-related offences and when it expects to introduce the Bill.

S2W-23951 Mr Jamie Stone: To ask the Scottish Executive whether applications for registration of cattle passports are recorded by date of dispatch by the applicant, postal receipt by the British Cattle Movement Service or date of processing.

S2W-23952 Mr Jamie Stone: To ask the Scottish Executive what information it has received about postal delays in relation to cattle passport applications in different parts of the country and the impact which such delays may have on the late delivery of such applications to the British Cattle Movement Service.

S2W-23953 Mr Jamie Stone: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will encourage the British Cattle Movement Service, in accepting applications for cattle passports, to retain on file both the application and envelope which carries the date of posting of the application.

S2W-23954 Dennis Canavan: To ask the Scottish Executive what advice it is giving to keepers of homing pigeons regarding the threat of avian flu.

S2W-23955 Ms Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Executive what funding mechanism will replace the Supporting People fund.

S2W-23956 Ms Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Executive whether any consultation has taken place on the replacement of the Supporting People fund.

S2W-23957 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how it will ensure that no new nuclear power stations are constructed until the waste management issue is resolved.

S2W-23958 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what impact it considers that the press coverage of the reluctance of the Chair of sportscotland to relocate the agency to Glasgow will have on the bid by the city to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

S2W-23959 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to alter the structure of local government.

S2W-23960 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how many socially rented housing units have been lost to that form of tenure (a) by right to buy, (b) by demolition or (c) for any other reason in each year since 1980, broken down by local authority area.

S2W-23961 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how many new houses for social rent have been built in each year since 1980, broken down by local authority area.

S2W-23962 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how many households have lived in (a) council housing, (b) other forms of socially rented housing, (c) privately rented housing and (d) owned homes in each year since 1980, broken down by local authority area.

S2W-23963 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what the average level of rent was for council housing in each local authority area in each year since 1995.

S2W-23964 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how many new private homes have been built in each local authority area in each year since 1995.

S2W-23965 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what support it gives to any local authority wishing to construct new homes for social rent which the local authority will directly manage.

S2W-23966 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what support it gives to any housing association wishing to construct new homes for social rent which the association will directly manage.

S2W-23967 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the then Minister for Justice received a letter dated 7 August 2001 from a former employee of the Scottish Criminal Record Office in which he states that "after commencing duty at the SCRO Bureau I was shocked and appalled at the level of malpractice" and whether a copy of this letter was also received by the Lord Advocate; what action the (a) Minister for Justice and (b) Lord Advocate took to address this and other statements in the letter, and what the outcome was of any action taken.

S2W-23968 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how many officers within the Scottish Criminal Record Office in 1997 mistakenly identified a fingerprint at the scene of the Marion Ross murder in Kilmarnock as that of Shirley McKie and how many disagreed with this identification.

S2W-23969 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how much it and its agencies have paid out in each year since May 1999 in compensation for miscarriages of justice and how much it has incurred in legal costs in relation to these settlements.

S2W-23970 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will list all the investigations and inquiries that it has initiated since January 1997 in relation to, or arising from, the Shirley McKie case and, for each investigation or inquiry, (a) what the remit was, (b) who carried it out, (c) how long it took, (d) to whom it reported, (e) how much it cost, (f) what conclusions and recommendations it reached and (g) which recommendations have been (i) implemented and (ii) not implemented.

S2W-23971 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it (a) has always been and (b) is currently the policy of the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) that any disagreements within it in relation to the identification of a fingerprint have to be reported to (i) the police and (ii) the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service; what disciplinary procedures exist for failure by SCRO officers to adhere to this policy; how many instances there have been since January 1997 where the policy has not been followed; how many officers have been disciplined for failing to follow the procedure or implement the policy properly; whether the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service can bring charges against any SCRO officer who breaches this policy; whether this policy has always been implemented and, if not, what the reasons are for the position on the matter and in what cases it has not been implemented; in how many cases since January 1997 a prosecution has proceeded where there has been such a disagreement and whether it will list all such cases; how many cases have not been prosecuted because of such a disagreement, and in how many cases there was a conviction.

S2W-23972 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is still the case that replies to parliamentary questions in relation to the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) are drafted on behalf of ministers by the SCRO; if so, whether the draft replies are independently checked within the Executive; if so, by what procedure and by whom and, if not, what the reasons are for the position on the matter and whether the Executive has any plans to review this policy.

S2W-23973 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is legal for officers of the Scottish Criminal Record Office to sign documents on behalf of colleagues and, if so, under what circumstances, what procedures govern when and where this can be done, what checks (a) existed in January 1997 and (b) currently exist for ensuring that such proxy signatures are authorised by the person on whose behalf the signature is being used, whether it is illegal to sign such a document without authorisation and, if so, who has to provide authorisation, whether, if the document relates to a fingerprint, the person signing on behalf of another officer has to check independently the fingerprint identification, how many times such signatures have been used in the SCRO in each month since January 1997 and what audit arrangements (i) existed in January and February 1997 and (ii) currently exist for ensuring that signatures are not provided fraudulently.

S2W-23974 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether any material evidence from the scene of the Marion Ross murder in Kilmarnock in January 1997 has been misplaced or lost.

S2W-23975 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how many fingerprints from the scene of the Marion Ross murder in Kilmarnock in January 1997 were wrongly identified by the Scottish Criminal Record Office.

S2W-23976 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will list all public inquiries relating to criminal matters which have taken place in Scotland since May 1999 and what the costs involved were.

S2W-23977 Donald Gorrie: To ask the Scottish Executive how many planning appeals were held in each year from 2000 to 2005, following the refusal of planning permission by local authority planning committees; in how many such appeals the Reporter decided in favour of the developer and against the local authority, and in how many such appeals the local communities’ spokespeople opposed the development.

S2W-23978 Christine Grahame: To ask the Scottish Executive what representations the Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning has made to the Ministry of Defence in respect of the Robert Noble contract for weaving the tartan for, and separately the making of, kilts for Scottish soldiers and, in particular, on whether the armed forces are exempt from competitive tendering requirements in respect of such procurement.

S2W-23979 Donald Gorrie: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-19268 by Robert Brown on 29 September 2005, when the review of services and outcomes for children and young people looked after by local authorities in Scotland, which was expected to be published in November 2005, will be published.

S2W-23980 Ms Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Executive what instances there have been of the provision of cranial remoulding helmets for children with plagiocephaly in each NHS board area in the last five years.

S2W-23981 Carolyn Leckie: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-23001 by Mr Tom McCabe on 7 March 2006, when it will publish the proposed draft regulations that will amend the Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations (Scotland) 1998.

S2W-23982 Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S2W-23104 by Malcolm Chisholm on 6 March 2006, whether it expects the trend of rising home ownership to continue for the next 10 years and what its assessment is in figures of the likely growth over the next 20 years.

S2W-23983 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what measures it is taking to increase the provision of affordable housing.

S2W-23984 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how many households have been registered as homeless in each year since 1980, broken down by local authority area.

S2W-23985 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what support it gives to any house-building firm that wishes to construct new homes for private sale.

S2W-23986 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what proportion of all houses bought privately in each year since 1995 have been purchased by first-time buyers, broken down by local authority area.

S2W-23987 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what areas it has identified as having the most acute shortage of affordable housing and what plans it has to remedy this.

S2W-23988 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what information it has on how the proportion of households living in socially rented housing compares with (a) the rest of the United Kingdom, (b) the member states of the European Union and (c) OECD nations.

S2W-23989 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how many households there have been on waiting lists to secure a council house in each year since 1995, broken down by local authority.

S2W-23990 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to encourage local authorities to transfer the entirety of the socially rented housing stock that they presently manage to the management of a housing association.

S2W-23991 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what its rationale is for encouraging local authorities such as the City of Glasgow and Scottish Borders to transfer the socially rented housing stock they manage to the management of a housing association.

S2W-23992 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive what level of debt each local authority has incurred in respect of the construction of council housing in each year since 1980.

S2W-23993 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive how many households have had to foreclose on their mortgage in each year since 1980, broken down by local authority area.

S2W-23994 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has discussed with Her Majesty’s Government the briefing paper sent by the Foreign Office to the Prime Minister’s Office stating that people captured by British forces could have been sent illegally to interrogation centres, as reported in the Guardian on 21 January 2006, to establish whether there are any links between these reports and the allegations that US agencies have used Scottish airports as refuelling stops for flights engaged in the process of "extraordinary rendition".

S2W-23995 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has discussed with Her Majesty’s Government the results of any inquiries it has had in respect of reported co-operation with US rendition operations being illegal to establish whether there are any links between these reports and the allegations that US agencies have used Scottish airports as refuelling stops for flights engaged in the process of "extraordinary rendition", in light of a report in the Guardian on 21 January 2006 that a briefing paper sent by the Foreign Office to the Prime Minister’s Office suggested that Her Majesty’s Government should be making such inquiries.

S2W-23996 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has passed on to the police any allegations brought to its attention regarding the possibility that US agencies have used Scottish airports as refuelling stops for flights engaged in the process of "extraordinary rendition" and, if it has not done so, what the reasons are for its position on this matter.

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