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EE/S3/10/R6

6th Report, 2010 (Session 3)

Annual Report 2009-10

Remit and membership

Remit:

To consider and report on the Scottish economy, enterprise, energy, tourism and all other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth apart from those covered by the remits of the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change and the Local Government and Communities Committees.

Membership:

Ms Wendy Alexander
Gavin Brown
Rob Gibson (Deputy Convener)
Christopher Harvie
Marilyn Livingstone
Lewis Macdonald
Stuart McMillan
Iain Smith (Convener)

Committee Clerking Team:

Clerk to the Committee
Stephen Imrie

Senior Assistant Clerk
Joanna Hardy

Assistant Clerk
Gail Grant

Annual Report 2009-10

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—

Introduction

1. During the parliamentary year from 9 May 2009 to 8 May 2010, the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee has again been busy. During this period, the Committee concluded two major inquiries, launched a third, and also considered a number of bills and other forms of legislation.

Inquiries and reports

Determining and delivering on Scotland’s energy future

2. Lasting nearly a year, this major study into energy supply and use in Scotland came to a conclusion with the publication of the Committee’s report in June 20091. The comprehensive inquiry set out the challenges and opportunities facing Scotland in the coming years. A detailed vision of Scotland’s energy future was agreed by the Committee along with a political action plan to spell out the decisions that need to be taken if this future is to be realised. During the inquiry, the Committee heard from 120 witnesses who came and gave evidence to us and considered over 125 written submissions.

3. The Committee’s vision for Scotland’s energy future and its recommendations were built around four inter-locking principles: maximising the efficiency of energy supply and use, minimising environmental impact, ensuring social justice and maximising the economic and employment benefits within the energy industries.

The way forward for Scotland’s banking and financial services industry

4. The Committee’s second major inquiry of this year looked at the ramifications of the problems in the banking sector and the impacts on the wider economy. The inquiry report was published in March 20102. The report looked at the lessons that need to be learned as well as the challenges ahead in terms of the ongoing reform of the banking and financial services industry and what is in Scotland’s best interest.

5. The Committee considered that in addition to being an important business in its own right, the banking and building society sector in Scotland has to support the production of goods and services in the rest of the economy. Its view was that the events of 2007-8 represented a catastrophic failure against this objective. The financial crisis and the resulting recession have undermined the economic growth agenda in Scotland. Unemployment has risen and further cuts in the public sector to reduce the national deficit seem inevitable. The Committee considered that it was important to manage the legacy of the financial crisis, ensuring that it never happens again and to develop a sustainable financial services industry that supports the rest of the Scottish economy both as an employer and as a provider of capital and other financial services to consumers.

The public sector’s support to Scottish industry for international trade, exports and the attraction of inward investment

6. The Committee’s new inquiry for the coming year focuses on how well the public sector supports Scottish companies to internationalise their operations as well as how we support inward investment3. This inquiry was launched in March 2010 and is expected to conclude by the end of June 2010.

Budget scrutiny

7. The Committee also completed its scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2010-114.

Bills

Arbitration (Scotland) Bill

8. The Committee also completed its consideration of the Scottish Government’s Arbitration (Scotland) Bill. The Bill clarified, consolidated and updated Scottish arbitration law. The Bill completed its passage through Parliament in November 2009 and became law in January 2010

UK legislation

9. During the year, the Committee considered two legislative consent memoranda for the Energy Bill and the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill respectively. In both instances, the Committee recommended that the Scottish Parliament gave its consent to the UK Parliament to alter the executive competence of Scottish Ministers and/or make changes to devolved powers.

Subordinate legislation

10. In this parliamentary year, the Committee also considered the draft Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Amendment Order 2009 and its successor for 2010, and the draft Census (Scotland) Order 2010. Both instruments were recommended for approval.

Petitions

11. During this year, no petitions were referred to the Committee.

Innovation/Networks/Miscellaneous

12. As part of its efforts to engage with key groups, the Committee organised a seminar with the STUC looking at the challenges facing the economy and public sector finances from a trades union perspective; this was held on 12 May 2010. The Committee also co-organised – along with the Scottish Government – the 5th Business in the Parliament Conference on 18-19 June 20095.

Equalities

13. The Committee has ensured that any meetings and events it organises reflect the Parliament’s guidance on these issues and endeavours to ensure that equalities issues are covered in any scrutiny of legislation or as part of any inquiry undertaken.

Meetings

14. During the parliamentary year (from 9 May 2009 to 8 May 2010), the Committee met 34 times, one meeting was entirely in private and 12 were partly in private. Of the 13 meetings where some or all items were in private, all were to consider draft reports or discuss the appointment of an adviser.

15. All formal committee meetings were held in Edinburgh during this parliamentary year.


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