29 April Vol. 3, No 70 Session 3

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Living Wage: Patrick Harvie moved S3M-6216—That the Parliament recognises that unacceptable levels of poverty and income inequality continue to blight Scotland; notes that the income of the richest 10% of people in Scotland is approximately the same as the total income of the poorest 50%; further notes that, among working-age adults, in-work poverty is still on the increase; believes that a more equal society would be a happier, healthier, safer and greener society and that this must become a core objective of government at all levels, and therefore calls on the UK Government to commit to the immediate introduction of a living wage for all, set at £7 per hour, and on Scottish ministers to bring in this living wage for all public sector workers and employees of public sector contractors and for this change to be funded by tackling high pay in the public sector and by fairer taxation on both high pay and financial transactions.

The Minister for Housing and Communities (Alex Neil) moved amendment S3M-6216.2 to motion S3M-6216—

Leave out from “therefore” to end and insert—

“welcomes the action that the Scottish Government has taken to freeze pay for government employees on higher salaries and the progress that the Scottish Government is making toward achieving a living wage of £7 per hour for government employees and employees of the NHS in Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 37, Against 45, Abstentions 13).

David Whitton moved amendment S3M-6216.4 to motion S3M-6216—

Leave out from “recognises” to end and insert—

“believes that the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 was one of the most seminal pieces of the legislation of the twentieth century in terms of promoting dignity at work but regrets that it was finally passed without the votes of any Conservative or SNP MPs; welcomes the commitment in Labour’s 2010 manifesto to further increase the minimum wage at least in line with earnings over the next five years and the further extension of the living wage in government departments; notes the example set by Glasgow City Council in introducing a living wage for its employees, and supports the further extension of the living wage, working in conjunction with the tax credit system, to ensure that work always pays.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 29, Against 67, Abstentions 0).

Derek Brownlee moved amendment S3M-6216.1 to motion S3M-6216—

Leave out from “a more equal” to end and insert—

“economic growth is the best means of tackling poverty and inequality, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to pursue measures to boost the economy, create jobs and improve the standard of living for all.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 13, Against 83, Abstentions 0).

Jeremy Purvis moved amendment S3M-6216.3 to motion S3M-6216—

Leave out from “therefore” to end and insert—

“believes that, during the tight financial climate, public sector pay policy should be structured to ensure that those on lower incomes benefit more than those on higher incomes from pay changes.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 32, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 68, Against 28, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises that unacceptable levels of poverty and income inequality continue to blight Scotland; notes that the income of the richest 10% of people in Scotland is approximately the same as the total income of the poorest 50%; further notes that, among working-age adults, in-work poverty is still on the increase; believes that a more equal society would be a happier, healthier, safer and greener society and that this must become a core objective of government at all levels, and believes that, during the tight financial climate, public sector pay policy should be structured to ensure that those on lower incomes benefit more than those on higher incomes from pay changes.

2. Democratic Reform: Robin Harper moved S3M-6215—That the Parliament believes that the current UK general election must be the last to use the discredited first-past-the-post electoral system and that the single transferable vote is the best way to ensure that the public receive the democratic representation that they deserve in future.

Paul Martin moved amendment S3M-6215.2 to motion S3M-6215—

Leave out from “the current” to end and insert—

“there is no perfect electoral system, with each having advantages, disadvantages and the potential to produce anomalous outcomes; acknowledges the value of the constituency link in promoting and preserving accountability and the service of elected representatives; believes that democratic reform should encompass far greater change than simply potential changes to the system of election, and welcomes the significant progress in this regard, including devolution in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London, the ending of hereditary peerages in the House of Lords and the enactment of the Human Rights and Freedom of Information Acts.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 29, Against 67, Abstentions 0).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S3M-6215.1 to motion S3M-6215—

Leave out from “UK” to end and insert—

“first-past-the-post electoral system has delivered decades of strong and stable government in the United Kingdom; regrets that the adoption of proportional representation for European elections has resulted in the election of members of the British National Party; supports the retention of first-past-the-post for Westminster elections, and calls for the necessary reforms to be made to the system so as to ensure a fairer outcome in future UK elections.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 13, Against 54, Abstentions 29).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 54, Against 41, Abstentions 1).

3. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

4. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Alex Salmond).

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Health and Wellbeing were answered by the Cabinet Secretary and Ministers.

6. Changing Lives: A Confident, Competent Social Care Workforce: The Minister for Children and Early Years (Adam Ingram) moved S3M-6223—That the Parliament recognises the significant contribution made to the lives of the people of Scotland by all those who work in social services, often in difficult and complex circumstances; agrees the need for a confident, competent and valued social services workforce to deliver safe, effective and personalised practice; notes the work that has been done following the review of social work services, Changing Lives; notes the finding from the performance inspections of the Social Work Inspection Agency that leadership is of critical importance in the performance of social work services; welcomes the focus on leadership being jointly taken forward by the Scottish Social Services Council and the four social services learning networks, and endorses the need for political, operational and professional leadership and engagement to support and develop the social services workforce.

Karen Whitefield moved amendment S3M-6223.2 to motion S3M-6223—

Insert at end—

“; while acknowledging the important role of the social work and social care workforce in supporting and protecting people across the whole age spectrum, notes the impact of changing demographics and, in particular, the increase in the older population on the demand for services, as indicated by the Social Work Inspection Agency report, Improving Social Work in Scotland, which estimates that by 2018 the number of people aged 85 and over will have increased by 40%, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that social care services are sufficiently prepared and resourced accordingly, taking into account the fact that many older people are themselves carers.”

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

Elizabeth Smith moved amendment S3M-6223.1 to motion S3M-6223—

Insert at end—

“also notes that the Social Work Inspection Agency concluded that there were wide variations in the level of social care service provided by local authorities throughout Scotland and therefore calls for an independent review of social work services to identify the local authorities that need more help, and, furthermore, calls for the Scottish Government to facilitate greater use of the expertise of the voluntary sector and for greater focus from the Scottish Government on tackling the misuse of drugs and alcohol, which the Social Work Inspection Agency has identified as leading to an increase in the number of children needing to be looked after.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 13, Against 38, Abstentions 45).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to (DT).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the significant contribution made to the lives of the people of Scotland by all those who work in social services, often in difficult and complex circumstances; agrees the need for a confident, competent and valued social services workforce to deliver safe, effective and personalised practice; notes the work that has been done following the review of social work services, Changing Lives; notes the finding from the performance inspections of the Social Work Inspection Agency that leadership is of critical importance in the performance of social work services; welcomes the focus on leadership being jointly taken forward by the Scottish Social Services Council and the four social services learning networks; endorses the need for political, operational and professional leadership and engagement to support and develop the social services workforce; while acknowledging the important role of the social work and social care workforce in supporting and protecting people across the whole age spectrum, notes the impact of changing demographics and, in particular, the increase in the older population on the demand for services, as indicated by the Social Work Inspection Agency report, Improving Social Work in Scotland, which estimates that by 2018 the number of people aged 85 and over will have increased by 40%, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that social care services are sufficiently prepared and resourced accordingly, taking into account the fact that many older people are themselves carers.

7. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, and 6 as noted above.

8. Grampian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association: The Parliament debated S3M-6013 in the name of Nanette Milne—That the Parliament congratulates Grampian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association (GCRA) for the support that it gives to patients recovering from a heart attack, cardiac surgery or any other cardiac condition in Grampian; notes that GCRA provides cardiac rehab exercise classes led by instructors in 16 communities across Grampian, and understands that GCRA is now the largest provider of cardiac rehab exercise in the voluntary sector in Scotland and has established successful partnership links with NHS Grampian, Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Petroleum Club, BP Exel Club in Dyce, Meadows Sports Centre in Ellon and Garioch Sports Centre in Inverurie to provide facilities for exercise care in the community.

The meeting closed at 5.39 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
29 April 2010

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instruments were laid in draft before the Parliament on 29 April 2010 for approval by resolution—

The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 (Removal of Barred Individuals from Regulated Work) Regulations 2010 (SSI 2010/draft)

laid under section 100(4) of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007

The Advice and Assistance and Civil Legal Aid (Transfer of Tribunal Functions) (No. 2) (Scotland) Regulations 2010 (SSI2010/draft)

laid under section 37(2) of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2010 (SSI 2010/draft)

laid under section 10(2) of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

The Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 (Consequential Amendments) Order 2010 (SSI 2010/draft)

laid under section 33(3) of the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 28 April 2010 and is subject to annulment—

The Victims’ Rights (Prescribed Bodies) (Scotland) Order 2010 (SSI2010/165)

laid under section 88(1) of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 29 April 2010 and are subject to annulment—

The Advice and Assistance and Civil Legal Aid (Transfer of Tribunal Functions) (No. 1) (Scotland) Regulations 2010 (SSI 2010/166)

laid under section 37 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986

The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 (Fees for Scheme Membership and Disclosure Requests) Regulations 2010 (SSI2010/167)

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

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Scotland) Regulations 2010 (SSI2010/168)

laid under section 125(4) of the Police Act 1997

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 29 April 2010 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission 2010/11 Budget (SG/2010/86)

laid under section 29(10) of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007

Stow College Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2009 (SG/2010/80)

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

Committee Reports

The following report was published on 29 April 2010­­­­

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 27th Report, 2010 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SPPaper 424)