Lewis Macdonald MSP

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Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Lewis Macdonald

I presume that that is because, as long as Scotland is part of the UK and part of the UK’s public sector borrowing profile, it is in the UK’s interests to bail it out.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Lewis Macdonald

I will pick up on David Bell’s point about the assumption that the Scottish Government or the UK Government would bail out a local authority that borrowed irresponsibly. Does that comment imply that some sort of statutory back-up is needed? Would the same point apply to the UK Government bailing out a Scottish Government that got it wrong financially and found itself in such a situation?



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Lewis Macdonald

Right.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Lewis Macdonald

I wanted Philip Milburn’s view from a market perspective on whether there is a difference between a prudential borrowing regime and one that is capped and directed from the centre.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Lewis Macdonald

Without oversimplifying, would it be fair to describe the 2012 act provision as parallel to the section 94 provision?



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Lewis Macdonald

I have two supplementary questions on related aspects. I would like to understand better the experience of the prudential framework, which is a code to which statute requires local authorities to have regard, which can have a weaker meaning in Scots practice than it does in England, as I understand it. How far has it been successful in delivering what was intended?

Philip Milburn said that the market will look for the strongest possible legislation and framework. From a market perspective, is there a significant difference between the borrowing provision in the 2012 act and the prudential framework?

09:45  

Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Lewis Macdonald

Would it be fair to deduce that the constructive engagement that you have had with the UK Government on the issue means that the bill will reflect the intention behind the draft clauses that the UK Government has published?



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland) (Lab)

The purpose and intent of the order are clear, and I think that they are, as you said, cabinet secretary, broadly supported. One of the points made by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution highlighted what it regarded as a difference between provision in the draft clauses for future amendment of the franchise and provision in the order. Is that something that you recognise? If so, what are your views on it?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland) (Lab)

Does the cabinet secretary agree with Dave Watson of Unison, who has suggested that the tax practices of potential contractors should be taken into account in Scottish Government procurement decisions?



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Lewis Macdonald

This has been a welcome debate and has touched on many aspects of power generation policy in Scotland. I particularly enjoyed Patrick Harvie’s effort to say that no island is an island, despite the sea around it. However, I know that the energy policy that he was putting forward is a very serious proposition.

I am glad that Cara Hilton, as the constituency member, focused firmly on Longannet and the west Fife economy. This is not just a debate about electricity generation options for the future; it is also about support for people who are working in the power industry today and who are facing the prospect of losing their jobs.

Of course we support engagement between Scottish Power and National Grid and between the Scottish and UK Government on this issue, as on other issues. We do not, however, accept the assertion that the threat to Longannet comes simply from the transmission charging regime, even if that regime stands in need of reform. The threat to Longannet’s future comes principally from the requirement to phase out high-carbon-emission power stations across Europe, which is supported by both the Scottish and UK Governments.

Nor do we accept the proposition that the way to ensure security of supply is to give the Scottish Government the power to set Scottish-specific standards in this field, as the SNP amendment proposes. Rather than dividing up responsibilities for capacity and security of supply at this juncture, Labour believes that now is the time to move in the opposite direction, by pulling together the existing responsibilities in the field, which are currently divided among DECC, Ofgem as the regulator, and National Grid as the system operator. Rather than those bodies having to negotiate their different objectives to resolve issues such as those at Longannet, we want to have a single energy security board that has responsibility for taking a lead in providing a joined-up approach.

If we had that, we might also find that a more joined-up approach could be taken to issues such as transmission charges. It certainly makes little sense to separate off the issue of security of supply in Scotland from the parallel security of supply issues in England and Wales when we operate a single electricity transmission and trading market and when Scotland consumes power from England on a weekly basis and vice versa.

The Scottish Government, of course, already has responsibilities that bear upon energy choices in Scotland—namely, planning and environmental consents. Licensing powers in relation to unconventional gas extraction will follow before too long.

The question has been raised whether the Scottish Government’s policy of a temporary presumption against planning consent for onshore fracking also applies to underground coal gasification below the Firth of Forth and if not, why not. We already know how effective a planning presumption against development can be in relation to nuclear energy. That approach by the SNP has effectively deterred investment in new nuclear capacity in Scotland and constrains the choices that Scotland can make in seeking to move towards a low-carbon future. Most important, as long as there is a need for base-load generation alongside intermittent renewable power, it makes new unabated coal-burning power stations more likely, not less likely, in the future.

New unabated coal is not the answer to the crisis that is facing Longannet. We need Scottish Power, as owner of the power station, to live up to some of the promises of investment that it has made in the past. If it does that, we also need Government agencies at every level to work with the company on reducing costs.

However, we also need Government at every level to get serious about life after unabated coal—locally in Fife and nationally—if Scotland’s commitment to a low-carbon economy is to survive into the 2020s. That is what we call on the Scottish Government to do today.

15:39  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12423.1 Alex Rowley: Commission on Local Tax Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-12423 in the n
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YesCarried

S4M-12423 Marco Biagi: Commission on Local Tax Reform—That the Parliament supports the establishment
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YesCarried

S4M-12385 Liz Smith: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament agrees that a solid grou
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YesCarried

S4M-12395.1 Fergus Ewing: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in the
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NoCarried

S4M-12395.2 Patrick Harvie: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in t
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AbstainDefeated

S4M-12395 Murdo Fraser: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—That the Parliament notes with concern the l
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NoCarried

S4M-12385.3 Alasdair Allan: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to motion S4M-12385 i
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NoCarried

S4M-12382.3 Mary Fee: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion S4
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YesDefeated

S4M-12382.1 Gavin Brown: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion
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YesDefeated

S4M-12382.2 Willie Rennie: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to moti
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NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Lewis Macdonald
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12453: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12421: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12395.3: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12291: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12196: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12154.1: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12059: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12027: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12024: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11922: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Lewis Macdonald
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24665: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24569: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24570: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24572: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24571: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24573: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24568: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24501: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24502: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24500: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>

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