21 May Vol. 3, No 04 Session 3

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Student Hardship: Claire Baker moved S3M-4188—That the Parliament calls for a cross-party approach on tackling hardship among the poorest students in Scotland; believes that students have been severely let down by the SNP's broken promises, actions and inaction in power; further believes that the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning’s efforts have been misplaced in focussing solely on reducing graduate debt rather than student hardship while student demand for hardship and childcare funds increases, commercial borrowing among students continues and student support levels in Scotland fall far behind the rest of the United Kingdom; notes the open letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning signed by NUS, the main opposition parties and student leaders across Scotland calling for the Scottish Government to increase levels of student support through increased loans and for a new direction from the Scottish Government; further notes that on the 12 March 2009, through motion S3M-3675 as amended, the Parliament rejected all of the proposals contained in the Supporting a Smarter Scotland consultation, which closed in April 2009, for not adequately addressing student hardship, and calls on the Scottish Government to work with the main opposition parties on their joint approach to tackling student hardship by using the available resources to provide £7,000 in support for the poorest students, a £500 increase in grant for the poorest students, an increase in support of £200 for all students through the non-means-tested loan and almost £2 million to discretionary funds for childcare and hardship funding.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Fiona Hyslop) moved amendment S3M-4188.2 to motion S3M-4188—

leave out from first “calls” to end and insert—

“notes the proposals from Scottish Labour, the Scottish Conservatives and the Scottish Liberal Democrats contained in their responses to the Supporting a Smarter Scotland consultation; notes motion S3M-3675 as amended whereby theParliament called on the Scottish Government to tackle student hardship, and calls on the Scottish Government to work with all political parties to deliver specific proposals to tackle student hardship, particularly during this time of recession.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 47, Against 71, Abstentions 0).

Margaret Smith moved amendment S3M-4188.1 to motion S3M-4188—

insert at end—

“and agrees that the Scottish Government should make further progress towards the provision of an adequate minimum income guarantee for all students”.

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 15, Against 103, Abstentions 0).

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 69, Against 49, Abstentions 0).

2. Supporting Employment in Scotland: John Park moved S3M-4187—That the Parliament is concerned that 34,000 extra Scots were out of a job in the last year and that many live under the threat of redundancy; recognises that government support for business and individuals is vital in the current climate; calls on the Scottish Government to examine the ProAct scheme developed by the Welsh Assembly Government, which supports businesses on short-time working, with a view to developing a similar initiative in Scotland; further recognises the seriousness of the economic situation in Scotland; believes that the Scottish Government should bring forward a new and revised economic recovery programme prior to summer recess, and calls for such a plan to outline how the Scottish Government intends to deliver the extra 7,800 apprenticeship places agreed for 2009 and the 75,000 training places announced by the First Minister on 18 April 2009.

The Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism (Jim Mather) moved amendment S3M-4187.2 to motion S3M-4187—

leave out from “with” to first “Scotland” and insert—

“to establish whether or not a scheme would benefit Scotland’s economic recovery”.

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 103, Against 15, Abstentions 0).

Jeremy Purvis moved amendment S3M-4187.1 to motion S3M-4187—

insert at end—

“; regrets the flat-lining of budgets for colleges and universities in the spending review period announced in 2007 and the dramatic real-terms cuts in operational funding for Scottish Enterprise and the new agency, Skills Development Scotland; expresses concern at the impact that this will have on the sector’s ability to accommodate increased training demand in the workforce, and fears that this could lead to a slower recovery for Scotland from the recession.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 55, Against 63, Abstentions 0).

After debate, the motion as amended was agreed to (DT).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament is concerned that 34,000 extra Scots were out of a job in the last year and that many live under the threat of redundancy; recognises that government support for business and individuals is vital in the current climate; calls on the Scottish Government to examine the ProAct scheme developed by the Welsh Assembly Government, which supports businesses on short-time working, to establish whether or not a scheme would benefit Scotland’s economic recovery; further recognises the seriousness of the economic situation in Scotland; believes that the Scottish Government should bring forward a new and revised economic recovery programme prior to summer recess, and calls for such a plan to outline how the Scottish Government intends to deliver the extra 7,800 apprenticeship places agreed for 2009 and the 75,000 training places announced by the First Minister on 18 April 2009.

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 Europe, External Affairs and Culture, and on Education and Lifelong Learning, were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

6. Importance of Aquaculture to the Scottish Economy: The Minister for Environment (Roseanna Cunningham) moved S3M-4186—That the Parliament notes the publication of A Fresh Start – the renewed Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture and its key themes; promotes the continued development of an ambitious, sustainable, profitable, thriving and growing Scottish aquaculture industry; recognises the economic importance of the industry to Scotland as a whole and many coastal communities in particular; acknowledges the vital role to be played by aquaculture production, processing and associated businesses during the economic downturn; supports efforts to promote the many positives of the industry and to advance the enviable international reputation of quality Scottish aquaculture products, built on high environmental standards; encourages Marine Scotland to work with others to deliver a transparent, streamlined and proportionate regulatory framework that encourages shellfish and finfish industries while at the same time ensuring that adverse impacts on biodiversity and other users of the marine and freshwater environment are minimised and managed; welcomes proactive and effective engagement with other aquaculture-producing countries through sharing knowledge and promoting best practice and Scotland’s role as a major contributor to international cooperation on research, and acknowledges the continued engagement of the shellfish and finfish industries and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of the Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture.

Elaine Murray moved amendment S3M-4186.2 to motion S3M-4186—

after “environmental standards” insert—

“and the principles of sustainable development”.

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

John Scott moved amendment S3M-4186.3 to motion S3M-4186—

insert at end—

“and notes the importance of the 6,200 Scottish jobs supported by the aquaculture industry in maintaining the environmental, economic and social fabric in communities often located in Scotland’s most remote and fragile areas.”

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

Liam McArthur moved amendment S3M-4186.4 to motion S3M-4186—

after “economic downturn” insert—

“; further recognises that, if the industry is to attract, retain and develop people for a long-term career in aquaculture, the Scottish Government must ensure that a range of suitable training opportunities are made available”.

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

Robin Harper moved amendment S3M-4186.1 to motion S3M-4186—

insert at end—

“and further notes that problems remain to be addressed by the aquaculture industry, including the commercial confidentiality clauses that restrict access to the minutes of area management group meetings, the comparative lack of action on re-siting fish farm activities where this could be advisable, the huge problem of sea lice infestation and the industry’s wider impact on wild fish stocks, seals and the marine environment and its relationship with future plans for marine conservation areas and no-take zones for fisheries.”

After debate, with the agreement of the Parliament, the amendment was withdrawn.

After debate, the motion as amended was agreed to (DT).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the publication of A Fresh Start – the renewed Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture and its key themes; promotes the continued development of an ambitious, sustainable, profitable, thriving and growing Scottish aquaculture industry; recognises the economic importance of the industry to Scotland as a whole and many coastal communities in particular; acknowledges the vital role to be played by aquaculture production, processing and associated businesses during the economic downturn; further recognises that, if the industry is to attract, retain and develop people for a long-term career in aquaculture, the Scottish Government must ensure that a range of suitable training opportunities are made available; supports efforts to promote the many positives of the industry and to advance the enviable international reputation of quality Scottish aquaculture products, built on high environmental standards and the principles of sustainable development; encourages Marine Scotland to work with others to deliver a transparent, streamlined and proportionate regulatory framework that encourages shellfish and finfish industries while at the same time ensuring that adverse impacts on biodiversity and other users of the marine and freshwater environment are minimised and managed; welcomes proactive and effective engagement with other aquaculture-producing countries through sharing knowledge and promoting best practice and Scotland’s role as a major contributor to international cooperation on research; acknowledges the continued engagement of the shellfish and finfish industries and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of the Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture, and notes the importance of the 6,200 Scottish jobs supported by the aquaculture industry in maintaining the environmental, economic and social fabric in communities often located in Scotland’s most remote and fragile areas.

7. Coroners and Justice Bill - UK Legislation: The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved S3M-4124—That the Parliament agrees that the relevant provisions of the Coroners and Justice Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 14 January 2009, relating to the EU Services Directive, criminal memoirs and the Scottish system of investigation of deaths and fatal accident inquiries into deaths abroad of members of the armed forces and others, so far as these provisions relate to matters within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, should be considered by the UK Parliament.

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

8. Approval of SSI: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-4180—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Community Right to Buy (Definition of Excluded Land) (Scotland) Order 2009 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

9. Approval of SSI: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-4181—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Local Government and Housing Act 1989 Amendment (Scotland) Order 2009 be approved.

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

10. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9 as noted above.

11. Strathclyde Police Prolific Offender Programme: The Parliament debated S3M-3563 in the name of John Wilson—That the Parliament congratulates Strathclyde Police on the success of the Prolific Offender Programme, aimed specifically at drug and alcohol offenders, which has resulted in a 30% reduction in offending rates, particularly regarding shop lifting, housebreaking and prostitution; welcomes the inclusion of counselling, education and housing opportunities as part of the rehabilitation process under this pioneering initiative aimed at improving community safety, and notes that since 2007 over 194 people have been involved in the initiative while 95 people remain engaged in the programme.

The meeting closed at 5.45 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
21 May 2009

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

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 21 May 2009 and is subject to annulment

The Non-Domestic Rating (Valuation of Utilities) (Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Order 2009 (SSI 2009/196)

laid under section 6A(2) of the Valuation and Rating (Scotland) Act 1956

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 21 May 2009—

Review of SPCB Supported Bodies Committee, 1st Report, 2009 (Session 3): Review of SPCB Supported Bodies (SP Paper 266)

Local Government and Communities Committee, 10th Report, 2009 (Session 3): Report on Child Poverty in Scotland (SP Paper 267)

Justice Committee, 12th Report, 2009 (Session 3): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 268)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 28th Report, 2009 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 270)