Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No. 52/2008: Wednesday 26 March 2008
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Section E – Written questions lodged on 25 March 2008

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

Questions in which a member has indicated a declarable interest are marked with an "R".

S3W-11216 Ross Finnie: To ask the Scottish Executive on what basis the £25 million to tackle alcohol misuse, announced on 20 March 2008, was allocated to individual NHS boards.

S3W-11217 Ross Finnie: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions were held with NHS boards prior to the allocation of the £25 million to tackle alcohol misuse, announced on 20 March 2008.

S3W-11218 Ross Finnie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers the prevalence of alcohol misuse in an NHS board area to be the most important criterion in determining the allocation of funding to tackle alcohol abuse.

S3W-11219 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3O-2733 by Nicola Sturgeon on 20 March 2008 (Official Report c. 7208), how it will phase in the recommendations of the NHS Scotland resource allocation committee.

S3W-11220 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3O-2733 by Nicola Sturgeon on 20 March 2008 (Official Report c. 7208), when it expects the recommendations of the NHS Scotland resource allocation committee to be fully implemented.

S3W-11221 Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the British Tinnitus Association has partially funded the post of a Senior Research Associate at the UCL Ear Institute in London and, if so, whether audiology services in Scotland will also be able to benefit from this research.

S3W-11222 Johann Lamont: To ask the Scottish Executive how many school leavers in 2006-07 who did not go into education, training or employment were identified as carers.

S3W-11223 Johann Lamont: To ask the Scottish Executive how many school leavers in 2006-07 who did not go into education, training or employment had (a) attended special schools and (b) received additional support for learning in mainstream secondary schools.

S3W-11224 Claire Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive whether free personal care includes assistance with trimming nails.

S3W-11225 Claire Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive whether local authorities are obliged to provide free assistance with trimming nails where an individual has been assessed as requiring such assistance.

S3W-11226 Brian Adam: To ask the Scottish Executive how many nurses have returned to practice after career breaks in each of the last three years, broken down by NHS board. R

S3W-11227 Brian Adam: To ask the Scottish Executive how many nurses who have returned to practice after career breaks in each of the last three years have attended return-to-practice courses, broken down by NHS board. R

S3W-11228 Brian Adam: To ask the Scottish Executive how many nurses have self-funded return-to-practice courses on their return to practice after career breaks in each of the last three years, broken down by NHS board. R

S3W-11229 Brian Adam: To ask the Scottish Executive how many nurses have received financial support for return-to-practice courses on their return to practice after career breaks in each of the last three years, broken down by NHS board. R

S3W-11230 Brian Adam: To ask the Scottish Executive what the average length is of return-to-practice courses for nurses. R

S3W-11231 Brian Adam: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will consider providing financial support for nurses attending return-to-practice courses to achieve Nursing and Midwifery Council requirements. R

S3W-11232 Brian Adam: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has announced all of the funding allocations for NHS boards for 2008-09, including ring-fenced money.

S3W-11233 Brian Adam: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will announce any further ring-fenced funding for the NHS and the basis of such funding.

S3W-11234 Derek Brownlee: To ask the Scottish Executive how many buildings fell within each of the categories in Schedule 1 to the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) (Scotland) Order 1997 as amended, in the most recent year for which figures are available.

S3W-11235 Derek Brownlee: To ask the Scottish Executive how many people lived in accommodation falling within paragraph 10 of Schedule 1 to the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) (Scotland) Order 1997 as amended, in the most recent year for which figures are available.

S3W-11236 Derek Brownlee: To ask the Scottish Executive how many students lived in accommodation not falling within paragraph 10 of Schedule 1 to the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) (Scotland) Order 1997 as amended, in the most recent year for which figures are available.

S3W-11237 Derek Brownlee: To ask the Scottish Executive how many people lived in accommodation falling within paragraph 17 of Schedule 1 to the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) (Scotland) Order 1997 as amended, in the most recent year for which figures are available.

S3W-11238 Derek Brownlee: To ask the Scottish Executive how many people lived in accommodation falling within paragraph 18 of Schedule 1 to the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) (Scotland) Order 1997 as amended, in the most recent year for which figures are available.

S3W-11239 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive how many alcohol-related admissions of under-18-year-olds there were to the accident and emergency department of Ninewells Hospital in NHS Tayside in each of the last four years.

S3W-11240 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive what the year-end overspend or underspend has been for NHS Tayside in each of the last four financial years.

S3W-11241 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive how many (a) schools and (b) pupils are involved in the P1 to P3 free school meals pilot, broken down by local authority.

S3W-11242 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive what the anticipated cost is of the P1 to P3 free school meals pilot, broken down by local authority

S3W-11243 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive how much has been budgeted for the independent evaluation of the free school meals pilot for P1 to P3 pupils.

S3W-11244 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive when it expects to receive the results of the independent evaluation of the free school meals pilot for P1 to P3 pupils.

S3W-11245 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive what estimate it has made of the cost of extending the entitlement to free school meals in 2009 to pupils from families in (a) Dundee and (b) Angus receiving maximum child or working families tax credit.

S3W-11246 Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will provide (a) Dundee City Council and (b) Angus Council with additional funding in 2009 to pay for an extension of the entitlement to free school meals to pupils from families receiving maximum child or working families tax credit.

S3W-11247 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the First Minister has asked for his views to be notified to officials in respect of any development applications under planning legislation since his appointment and, if so, how, in what way, on how many occasions and in respect of which application.

S3W-11248 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive how a request from the First Minister to ask for his views on a development application to be drawn to the attention of planning officials is handled where the application is not in the First Minister’s constituency and what safeguards are in place to ensure that the normal procedures and arrangements for dealing with applications under planning legislation are not departed from when such a request is made.

S3W-11249 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive on what date (a) ministers and (b) planning officials were made aware of planning application from Laurel Grant Ltd to the Cairngorms National Park Authority (Ref 06/431/CP) which could only be implemented with the co-operation of Aviemore Highland Resort, specifying the dates on which each minister was notified by officials.

S3W-11250 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive whether any minister sought to intervene in support of the planning application from Laurel Grant Ltd to the Cairngorms National Park Authority (Ref 06/431/CP) to secure an earlier decision or to expedite the handling of this application by any agency under the direction of the Scottish Government and, if so, whether the intervention took the form of letters, emails, or meetings.

S3W-11251 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive whether ministerial intervention secured an earlier response from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or a speedier decision regarding the planning application from Aviemore Highland Resorts Ltd (Ref 07/445/CP) when compared with timescales for the handling of other similar applications and, in particular, the planning application from Laurel Grant Ltd to the Cairngorms National Park Authority (Ref 06/431/CP) and, if so, whether it is satisfied that all applications are treated even-handedly.

S3W-11252 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive whether employment or economic development considerations regarding the planning application from Laurel Grant Ltd to the Cairngorms National Park Authority (Ref 06/431/CP) were put forward by ministers, or officials, as material considerations to the planning authority, or other public bodies, in relation to the decision on the application or the timescales within which the application should be dealt with.

S3W-11253 Jamie McGrigor: To ask the Scottish Executive how many properties have benefited from the Rural Empty Properties Grant scheme since its inception, broken down by local authority area.

S3W-11254 Jamie McGrigor: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has any plans to extend the Rural Empty Properties Grant scheme.

S3W-11255 Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive which music industry events will be supported by the EventScotland programme from 2008 to 2014.

S3W-11256 Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive what proportion of EventScotland support will be provided (a) to the contemporary music industry and (b) for sporting events from 2008 to 2014.

S3W-11257 Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive whether EventScotland will follow the success of the MTV Europe Music Awards in Edinburgh in 2003 with further support for major contemporary music industry events.

S3W-11258 Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive what the average cost of carrying out a DNA test is to police forces.

S3W-11259 Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive how much is available to each police force to meet the costs of DNA testing.

S3W-11260 Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is concerned that costs of DNA testing may act as a barrier in police investigations where testing may be appropriate.

S3W-11261 Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive what proportion of the budgets of (a) police forces and (b) the Scottish Police Services Authority was spent on DNA testing in months (i) three, (ii) six and (iii) nine of 2007-08.

S3W-11262 Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive what impact the cost of VAT is having on the Scottish Police Services Authority’s provision of DNA testing.

S3W-11263 John Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it will take to monitor the effects on small and medium-sized public houses, in particular public houses in rural and more remote areas, of the increased costs of alcohol licences as a result of the implementation of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

S3W-11264 John Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will review the increased costs of alcohol licences arising from the implementation of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 if evidence emerges that such costs are causing the closure of small and medium-sized public houses, in particular public houses in rural and more remote areas.

S3W-11265 Jackson Carlaw: To ask the Scottish Executive how many registered organ donors there have been in each year since 1999.

S3W-11266 Jackson Carlaw: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it is taking to encourage people to register as organ donors.

S3W-11267 Jackson Carlaw: To ask the Scottish Executive on how many occasions in the last year CalMac ferries between Gourock and Dunoon were (a) cancelled but excluded from the route’s reliability figures, (b) cancelled and included in the route’s reliability figures, (c) delayed but excluded from the route’s punctuality figures and (d) delayed and included in the route’s reliability figures.

S3W-11268 Jackson Carlaw: To ask the Scottish Executive on how many occasions in the last year CalMac ferries between Largs and Cumbrae were (a) cancelled but excluded from the route’s reliability figures, (b) cancelled and included in the route’s reliability figures, (c) delayed but excluded from the route’s punctuality figures and (d) delayed and included in the route’s reliability figures.

S3W-11269 Jackson Carlaw: To ask the Scottish Executive how much money the NHS has lost in each year since 1997 as a result of fraud, broken down by NHS board.

S3W-11270 Jackson Carlaw: To ask the Scottish Executive what guidance it has given to GPs on the rates that they can charge patients for calls to surgery phone lines.

S3W-11271 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive how many private sector businesspeople based in Scotland will accompany the First Minister on a trade mission for his meeting with the President of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC during Scotland Week 2008.

S3W-11272 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive how many private sector businesspeople based in Scotland will accompany the First Minister on a trade mission for his Tartan Day reception with the Friends of Scotland Congressional Caucus on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, during Scotland Week 2008.

S3W-11273 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive how many private sector businesspeople based in Scotland will accompany the First Minister on a trade mission when he hosts the Scottish Development International/VisitScotland - Business First reception in New York, during Scotland Week 2008.

S3W-11274 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive how many private sector businesspeople based in Scotland will accompany the First Minister on a trade mission when he participates in roundtable meetings for the life sciences and financial services industries in New York during Scotland Week 2008.

S3W-11275 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive how many private sector businesspeople based in Scotland will accompany the Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism on trade missions when he participates in business events in Washington, California and Texas during Scotland Week 2008.

S3W-11276 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with CBI Scotland, the Federation of Small Business (Scotland), Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Scottish Council for Development and Industry or the Institute of Directors (Scotland) to ask them to organise trade missions to accompany ministers overseas as part of Scotland Week 2008.

S3W-11277 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it has taken, following the publication of the COSLA Guide to Legislation and Guidance Paper, Disability Equality and Scottish Local Authorities: Access to Services, when implementing the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

S3W-11278 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive which public bodies, other than central and local government, have responsibility for implementing the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

S3W-11279 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to ensure that NHS boards comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

S3W-11280 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive what the cost per mile is for (a) passengers, (b) average sized passenger cars and (c) large commercial vehicles on ferry routes to (i) Arran and Cumbrae, (ii) Islay and Mull and (iii) the Western Isles.

S3W-11281 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive what the average incomes are on (a) Cumbrae, (b) Islay, (c) Mull and (d) the Western Isles.

S3W-11282 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive what impact a 40% reduction in ferry fares for residents of Cumbrae, Arran, Mull and Islay would have on the economies of these islands.

S3W-11283 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive how much was allocated to West Dumbartonshire from the Supporting People Fund in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2007-08 and what the percentage difference is in real terms.

S3W-11284 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive how much grant aided expenditure (GAE) was awarded to West Dumbartonshire Council in 2008-09 and what the comparative figure would have been if the GAE had been increased in line with the average annual increase across all local authorities.

S3W-11285 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive how much was allocated to West Dumbartonshire from the Fairer Scotland Fund in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09 and how much will be allocated in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11, also showing the real-terms annual percentage changes.

S3W-11286 Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive what studies into road equivalent tariffs have been commissioned using public funds in the last five years, also showing which have been published.

S3W-11287 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive what measures are currently in place to moderate comments on the National Conversation website.

S3W-11288 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive what equal opportunities policies are applied to the administration and moderation of the National Conversation website.

S3W-11289 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive how it defines racism within the context of the National Conversation.

S3W-11290 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive how many unique visitors the National Conversation website has had.

S3W-11291 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive how many unique visitors the National Conversation website has had from overseas IP addresses.

S3W-11292 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will consider increasing the level of resources allocated to the moderation of the National Conversation website.

S3W-11293 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers it appropriate for a government website to promote flag burning.

S3W-11294 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive how many comments have been removed from the National Conversation website after initially being published and what the reasons were for their removal.

S3W-11295 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive whether approval has been given to the alteration of the Falkirk Structure Plan to allow the new Whitecross sustainable community to go ahead.

S3W-11296 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive what meetings have taken place between ministers and representatives of Morston Assets regarding the planning application for a sustainable community in Whitecross and the alteration of the Falkirk Structure Plan.

S3W-11297 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive whether any meetings between ministers and representatives of Morston Assets included the Joint Founder of Morston.

S3W-11298 George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive what meetings have taken place between ministers and representatives of Morton Assets at (a) Straiton Business Park, (b) Manuel Works, Linlithgow and (c) Mortonhall, Edinburgh and who represented Morston Assets at each of these meetings.

S3W-11299 Dr Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-10120 by Shona Robison on 29 February 2008, whether it will issue guidance to NHS boards on the expenditure of their share of the additional £85 million allocated to tackle alcohol problems and, if so, what the priorities set out in that guidance will be.

S3W-11300 Dr Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-10122 by Nicola Sturgeon on 3 March 2008 and acknowledging that "the particular configuration of services to deliver specialist services differs between areas and is a matter for individual NHS boards", which boards have declined to participate in any supra-regional NHS board specialist services not designated as national services and for which services.

S3W-11301 Dr Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answers to questions S3W-10128 and S3W-10129 by Nicola Sturgeon on 3 March 2008 and acknowledging that it "has made clear that NHS boards can use existing private sector capacity, but that we will not invest taxpayers’ money to fund new private sector capacity", how it will know whether that policy is being followed if it does not know what block contracts have been made between NHS boards and private sector providers in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08.

S3W-11302 Dr Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-10129 by Nicola Sturgeon on 3 March 2008 and noting that no complete information is held centrally on how many NHS patients were treated in the private sector and that what data there is from independent hospitals is "under-reported" but "improving", whether it will publish that information.

S3W-11303 Dr Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-10133 by Kenny MacAskill on 3 March 2008, why the Scottish Prison Service definitions of attempted suicide and self-harm will not be aligned with the data protocols of the NHS Information Services Division.

S3W-11304 Dr Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-10537 by Adam Ingram on 13 March 2008, whether that answer indicates that it (a) does not intend to introduce legislation to make it a duty for all agencies to co-operate and share information as happened in England under the Children Act 2004 or (b) has not yet concluded whether it is right to do so.

S3W-11305 Dr Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-10715 by Shona Robison on 17 March 2008, when it will have completed the task that it has set itself to "consider whether to establish a working group to develop guidelines" on the provision of needle exchanges.

S3W-11306 Dr Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-10718 by Nicola Sturgeon on 10 March 2008 and noting the reference to work ongoing before an accurate estimate can be given on the actual costs that will be incurred on the preparation and publication of the proposed annual ownership report on the NHS but recognising that a budget allowance is different from an accurate estimate of costs, what costs it has budgeted in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10 for the preparation and publication of the proposed annual ownership report on the NHS.

S3W-11307 Richard Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive what it is doing to encourage recruitment of nursery staff in Angus.

S3W-11308 Richard Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive how much each local authority did not receive but was due from outstanding parking fines in (a) 2002-03, (b) 2003-04, (c) 2004-05, (d) 2005-06 and (e) 2006-07.

S3W-11309 Richard Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will announce the timescale for the public local inquiry into the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.

S3W-11310 Richard Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive when the public local inquiry into the route of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route will begin.

S3W-11311 Alex Neil: To ask the Scottish Executive in how many cases since 1945 the defence has not been given access to a piece of evidence or document which has been revealed to the prosecution; whether there are any precedents where a document has been disclosed to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission but not to the defence in a subsequent appeal hearing; whether the legal opinion of the Crown Office is that the withholding of documents in any such cases would violate the principle of the separation of powers between Executive and Judiciary, and, if so, what it considers the impact would be of withholding of documents on the independence of the Scottish Judiciary, Scots Law and the Crown Office itself.

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