30 September Vol. 4, No 24 Session 3

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Higher Education: Elizabeth Smith moved S3M-7109—That the Parliament believes that the present funding structure for Scottish universities is no longer sustainable if they are to maintain academic excellence and also widen opportunities and access for students who are from traditionally non-university backgrounds; welcomes the growing consensus among key groups both within and outwith the university sector that favours a graduate contribution toward the cost of a university education, and notes the scope in Scotland to provide a more cost-effective and flexible degree structure in universities and to enhance vocational training as an alternative to higher education.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Michael Russell) moved amendment S3M-7109.2 to motion S3M-7109—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“welcomes the firm consensus against any introduction of up-front fees in Scotland; notes the ongoing Independent Review of Higher Education and Student Finance in England and Wales; recognises that the Scottish Government will need to consider any potential impact on Scottish universities, and further recognises the Scottish Government’s intention to publish a green paper on higher education to explore these issues further.”

Claire Baker moved amendment S3M-7109.3 to motion S3M-7109—

Leave out from “welcomes” to first “education” and insert—

“acknowledges the growing consensus among key groups within and outwith the university sector that recognises the need to examine the various graduate contribution options; calls for an urgent and independent review of institutional funding and student support”.

Margaret Smith moved amendment S3M-7109.1 to motion S3M-7109—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“welcomes that, thanks to the actions of the previous and current administrations in Scotland, full-time Scottish higher education students studying in Scotland pay neither tuition fees nor top-up fees; notes the ongoing Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance in England and Wales; recognises that the Scottish Government will need to consider any outcomes of this review and the potential impact on Scottish universities, which have a global reputation for excellence, and welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to bring forward a green paper on higher education following publication of the review.”

After debate, amendment S3M-7109.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 58, Abstentions 0). As a result amendments S3M-7109.3 and S3M-7109.1 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 17, Abstentions 42).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the firm consensus against any introduction of up-front fees in Scotland; notes the ongoing Independent Review of Higher Education and Student Finance in England and Wales; recognises that the Scottish Government will need to consider any potential impact on Scottish universities, and further recognises the Scottish Government’s intention to publish a green paper on higher education to explore these issues further.

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. Themed Question Time: Questions on Justice and Law Officers and Rural Affairs and the Environment were answered by Cabinet Secretaries, Ministers and Scottish Law Officers.

5. Administrative Justice and the Future of Tribunals: The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved S3M-7116—That the Parliament believes that justice delivered by tribunals is an integral part of the Scottish justice system; welcomes the Lord Chancellor’s invitation to the Scottish Ministers to consider with him proposals to devolve responsibility for tribunals operating in Scotland, and further notes and welcomes moves to create an integrated Scottish tribunal service.

Richard Baker moved amendment S3M-7116.2 to motion S3M-7116—

Insert at end—

“, and, in doing so, recognises that any forthcoming proposals from the Scottish Government for reform of the tribunals system should be consulted on widely, including with those currently involved in the operation of tribunals, as well as trade unions, Citizens Advice Scotland and other organisations that support those taking cases to tribunals.”

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

John Lamont moved amendment S3M-7116.1 to motion S3M-7116—

Insert at end—

“, and further notes that the Lord Chancellor has emphasised that any transfer of powers should seek to preserve the benefits of existing arrangements.”

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

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to.

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament believes that justice delivered by tribunals is an integral part of the Scottish justice system; welcomes the Lord Chancellor’s invitation to the Scottish Ministers to consider with him proposals to devolve responsibility for tribunals operating in Scotland; further notes and welcomes moves to create an integrated Scottish tribunal service; in doing so, recognises that any forthcoming proposals from the Scottish Government for reform of the tribunals system should be consulted on widely, including with those currently involved in the operation of tribunals, as well as trade unions, Citizens Advice Scotland and other organisations that support those taking cases to tribunals, and further notes that the Lord Chancellor has emphasised that any transfer of powers should seek to preserve the benefits of existing arrangements.

6. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1 and 5 as noted above.

7. Offshore Valuation Study: The Parliament debated S3M-6366 in the name Maureen Watt—That the Parliament notes the publication of The Offshore Valuation Study at the All Energy Conference in Aberdeen; believes that its conclusions demonstrate the scale of economic opportunity available to Scotland in the offshore renewables sector, and acknowledges the report’s conclusion that the development of a European super-grid is integral to the future success of the industry.

The meeting closed at 5.37 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
30 September 2010

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

New Bills introduced on 29 September 2010

Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Bill—A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to make provision for protecting persons from being forced into marriage without their free and full consent and for protecting persons who have been forced into marriage without such consent; for amending the jurisdiction of the sheriff court in relation to actions for declarator of nullity of marriage; and for connected purposes. (SP Bill 53) (Executive Bill)

Introduced by: Nicola Sturgeon
Supported by: Alex Neil

Explanatory Notes (and other accompanying documents) (SP Bill 53-EN) and a Policy Memorandum (SP Bill 53-PM) were printed to accompany the Bill.

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 30 September 2010 and is subject to annulment—

The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 (Corresponding Disqualifications) Order 2010 (SSI 2010/346)

laid under section 100(3) of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 30 September 2010 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

NHS Education for Scotland Annual Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2010 (SG/2010/205)

NHS National Services Scotland Directors’ Report & Accounts & Scottish Financial Returns for the Year to 31 March 2010 (SG/2010/203)

NHS Scotland The State Hospitals Board for Scotland Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2010 (SG/2010/206)

Scottish Ambulance Service Annual Accounts and Notes for year ended 31 March 2010 (SG/2010/204)

The Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2010 & A Report by the Auditor General for Scotland on the 2009/2010 Audit of the Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts (SG/2010/160)

Scottish Qualifications Authority Annual Report and Accounts 2009-10 (SG/2010/179)

Tayside Health Board Annual Accounts For Year Ended 31 March 2010 (SG/2010/201)

Western Isles Health Board Annual Accounts for the Year Ended 31 March 2010 (SG/2010/202)

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

David MacBrayne HR (UK) Limited Directors’ report and financial statements 31 March 2010 (SG/2010/151)

David MacBrayne Limited Group Annual Report and Consolidated Financial Statements 2009-2010 (SG/2010/148)

Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd Annual Report 2010 (SG/2010/154)

Calmac Ferries Ltd Directors’ report and financial statements 2009-2010 (SG/2010/149)

Cowal Ferries Limited Directors’ report and financial statements 31 March 2010 (SG/2010/152)

Northlink Ferries Limited Directors’ report and financial statements 31 March 2010 (SG/2010/150)

Rathlin Ferries Limited Directors’ report and financial statements 31 March 2010 (SG/2010/153)

laid under section 8(1) of the Transport (Scotland) Act 1984