05 February Vol. 2, No 52 Session 3

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Borrowing Powers for the Scottish Parliament: Tavish Scott moved S3M-3383—That the Parliament believes that the acquisition of borrowing powers would enhance the autonomy and accountability of the Scottish Parliament and improve the Scottish Government’s ability to respond to changing economic circumstances; notes that borrowing powers would allow the Scottish Government to phase the funding of major capital projects such as the new Forth Replacement Crossing sensibly and efficiently, and therefore welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to give permission for civil servants to engage fully with the Commission on Scottish Devolution to assist the delivery of borrowing powers for the Scottish Parliament.

David Whitton moved amendment S3M-3383.2 to motion S3M-3383—

leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“welcomes the examination of the use of borrowing powers by all the parties and the Scottish Government’s willingness to engage with the Commission on Scottish Devolution.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 42, Against 80, Abstentions 0).

Derek Brownlee moved amendment S3M-3383.1 to motion S3M-3383—

leave out from “would enhance” to end and insert—

“could enhance the autonomy and accountability of the Scottish Parliament and improve the Scottish Government’s ability to respond to changing economic circumstances; notes that borrowing powers could allow the Scottish Government to phase the funding of major capital projects such as the Forth Replacement Crossing sensibly and efficiently and therefore welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to give permission for civil servants to engage fully with the Commission on Scottish Devolution on the issue of borrowing powers for the Scottish Parliament; also notes the consideration by the commission of other financial and non-financial powers that might be made available to the Scottish Government, and calls on the Scottish Government to confirm that it will permit civil servants to engage with the commission on all such matters.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 64, Abstentions 42).

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 66, Against 0, Abstentions 56).

2. Finance Sector Jobs Taskforce: Jeremy Purvis moved S3M-3384—That the Parliament notes the importance of the financial services industry to the Scottish economy; believes that the Financial Services Advisory Board (FiSAB), set up to be the custodian and advocate of the strategy for the industry in Scotland during a time of economic boom, should now be given more powers and a new purpose to focus on protection for this major Scottish industry during the current banking crisis and recession; notes the Scottish Government’s commitment that FiSAB should be adapted to deal with the challenges in the sector and should meet more frequently than the present position of twice a year, and calls for the urgent formation of a finance sector jobs taskforce within FiSAB to work proactively to help the staff with essential skills who are losing their jobs and for ministers to report to the Parliament on its work.

John Park moved amendment S3M-3384.2 to motion S3M-3384—

after “year” insert—

“and believes that there should be continued workforce representation at the meetings in the shape of the recognised trade unions”.

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

Derek Brownlee moved amendment S3M-3384.1 to motion S3M-3384—

insert at end—

“and for such reports to include the latest estimate of the number of jobs in the financial sector in Scotland, direct and indirect.”

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

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

Accordingly the Parliament resolved— That the Parliament notes the importance of the financial services industry to the Scottish economy; believes that the Financial Services Advisory Board (FiSAB), set up to be the custodian and advocate of the strategy for the industry in Scotland during a time of economic boom, should now be given more powers and a new purpose to focus on protection for this major Scottish industry during the current banking crisis and recession; notes the Scottish Government’s commitment that FiSAB should be adapted to deal with the challenges in the sector and should meet more frequently than the present position of twice a year; believes that there should be continued workforce representation at the meetings in the shape of the recognised trade unions, and calls for the urgent formation of a finance sector jobs taskforce within FiSAB to work proactively to help the staff with essential skills who are losing their jobs and for ministers to report to the Parliament on its work and for such reports to include the latest estimate of the number of jobs in the financial sector in Scotland, direct and indirect.

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

6. Early Years Framework: The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Fiona Hyslop) moved S3M-3385—That the Parliament recognises that getting the early years right is key to delivering improved outcomes for children and young people and a key opportunity to shape a more successful Scotland; notes the publication ofTheEarlyYearsFramework and the vision it sets out for giving children the best start in life, including a focus on parenting, early intervention, meeting the needs of children and parents and play; further recognises the challenges in shifting to prevention and early intervention while also supporting children who need help now, and calls on national and local government to work together to address these challenges in partnership during theimplementation of the framework.

Karen Whitefield moved amendment S3M-3385.3 to motion S3M-3385—

after “now” insert—

“notes with concern that, according to the Scottish Government Pre-School and Childcare Statistics 2008, the number of qualified nursery teachers employed in Scotland has declined under the current administration despite the claim of the First Minister on 25 September 2008 at First Minister’s Question Time (Official Report c. 11215) that the numbers under his government are substantially increasing”.

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 45, Against 61, Abstentions 16).

Elizabeth Smith moved amendment S3M-3385.1 to motion S3M-3385—

insert at end—

“which should include greater emphasis on the development of parenting skills and harnessing the excellent work of voluntary sector groups that provide these services.”

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

Hugh O’Donnell moved amendment S3M-3385.2 to motion S3M-3385—

after “together” insert—

“with external agencies and the voluntary sector”.

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

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

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises that getting the early years right is key to delivering improved outcomes for children and young people and a key opportunity to shape a more successful Scotland; notes the publication of The Early Years Framework and the vision it sets out for giving children the best start in life, including a focus on parenting, early intervention, meeting the needs of children and parents and play; further recognises the challenges in shifting to prevention and early intervention while also supporting children who need help now, and calls on national and local government to work together with external agencies and the voluntary sector to address these challenges in partnership during theimplementation of the framework which should include greater emphasis on the development of parenting skills and harnessing the excellent work of voluntary sector groups that provide these services.

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

8. Investment in Schools in North Highland: The Parliament debated S3M-3284 in the name of Jamie Stone—That the Parliament recognises the impact of the quality of a school’s environment on the effectiveness of the education of its pupils and believes that the dilapidated state of a number of school buildings in the north Highlands impedes the education of many pupils; recognises Highland Council's lack of financial resources to renovate and build schools, and regrets the lack of a funding mechanism that would allow Highland Council to initiate a much-needed schools refurbishment and new-build programme.

The meeting closed at 5.36 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
5 February 2009

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

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 5 February 2009 and is not subject to any parliamentary procedure

The Local Government Finance Act 1992 (Scotland) Order 2009 (SG/2009/12)

laid under paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 12 to the Local Government Finance Act 1992

Note: The Local Government Finance Act 1992 (Scotland) Order 2009 (SG/2009/11) which was laid before the Parliament on 4 February 2009 has been withdrawn.

Committee Reports

The following report was published on 5 February 2009

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 8th Report 2009 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 207)