2 October Vol. 2, No 24 Session 3

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 pm.

1. Local Government Finance: Derek Brownlee moved S3M-2631—That the Parliament calls on the Scottish Government to publish in detail, prior to the introduction of a council tax abolition Bill, how it proposes to allocate to each local authority local income tax revenues and all other sources of funding, including revenue support grant and non-domestic rates income, in the event of the Bill being enacted.

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth (John Swinney) moved amendment S3M-2631.2 to motion S3M-2631—

Insert at end—

"and believes the UK Government should agree that Council Tax Benefit money forms an integral part of local government finance and should be available to local government as part of decisions by the Scottish Parliament to reform local taxation in Scotland."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 38, Abstentions 16).

David Whitton moved amendment S3M-2631.1 to motion S3M-2631—

After second "income" insert—

", together with indicative figures for each local authority for the first year of operation of local income tax, and how stability of funding is delivered to ensure that no local authority loses revenues directly because of the introduction of the new tax system"

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

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 68, Against 34, Abstentions 16).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament calls on the Scottish Government to publish in detail, prior to the introduction of a council tax abolition Bill, how it proposes to allocate to each local authority local income tax revenues and all other sources of funding, including revenue support grant and non-domestic rates income, together with indicative figures for each local authority for the first year of operation of local income tax, and how stability of funding is delivered to ensure that no local authority loses revenues directly because of the introduction of the new tax system in the event of the Bill being enacted, and believes the UK Government should agree that Council Tax Benefit money forms an integral part of local government finance and should be available to local government as part of decisions by the Scottish Parliament to reform local taxation in Scotland.

2. Age Limits on Purchases of Alcohol: Murdo Fraser moved S3M-2629—That the Parliament rejects the Scottish Government’s proposals to raise the age limit for purchasing alcohol from off-licences and supermarkets from 18 to 21.

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved amendment S3M-2629.1 to motion S3M-2629—

Leave out from "rejects" to end and insert—

"welcomes the period of consultation, listening and debate that is happening in Scotland on how to rebalance the country’s relationship with alcohol; welcomes the initiatives being taken at local level, including voluntary agreements not to sell alcohol to persons under 21; notes the ongoing work done by licensing boards and other partners to implement the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005; recognises the need to build on that legislation with further measures including the ending of irresponsible alcohol promotions, and acknowledges that given the major public health implications failure to take further action to tackle alcohol misuse is not an option."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 48, Against 71, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 72, Against 47, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament rejects the Scottish Government’s proposals to raise the age limit for purchasing alcohol from off-licences and supermarkets from 18 to 21.

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 Justice and Law Officers and Rural Affairs and the Environment were answered by Cabinet Secretaries, Ministers and the Scottish Law Officers.

6. Scudamore Report into Foot and Mouth Disease: The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment (Richard Lochhead) moved S3M-2635—That the Parliament supports the Scudamore report’s conclusions on Scotland’s handling of the 2007 foot and mouth disease outbreak, contained in Foot and Mouth Disease Review (Scotland) 2007, and welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to take the recommendations forward, including consideration of any potential opportunities for regionalisation and other steps to minimise the potential future disruption to the Scottish livestock industry.

Sarah Boyack moved amendment S3M-2635.3 to motion S3M-2635—

Leave out from "to minimise" to end and insert—

"such as the role that local abattoirs might play and the unique circumstances of Scotland’s islands; notes however the continuing difficulties experienced by the pig industry, and calls on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to support the Scottish pig industry and to consider further action to minimise the potential future disruption to the Scottish livestock industry."

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

John Scott moved amendment S3M-2635.1 to motion S3M-2635—

Insert at end—

"notes the continued economic impact of the outbreak on Scotland’s beef, sheep and pig farmers, and calls on the Scottish Government to address proactively the continuing decline in livestock numbers across Scotland."

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

Jim Hume moved amendment S3M-2635.2 to motion S3M-2635—

Insert at end—

"believes that, although the devolution settlement has largely been a success for Scottish agriculture, the current position whereby Scotland decides on animal health policy but has no control over its funding is an anomaly of the Scotland Act 1998, which is detrimental to relationships between the two administrations, and calls on the Scottish Government to press the case for devolving a proportionate share of the animal health budget currently held at Westminster to Scotland, while preserving the right to access the UK Treasury reserve fund."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 54, Abstentions 1).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 38, Abstentions 16).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament supports the Scudamore report’s conclusions on Scotland’s handling of the 2007 foot and mouth disease outbreak, contained in Foot and Mouth Disease Review (Scotland) 2007, and welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to take the recommendations forward, including consideration of any potential opportunities for regionalisation and other steps such as the role that local abattoirs might play and the unique circumstances of Scotland’s islands; notes however the continuing difficulties experienced by the pig industry; calls on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to support the Scottish pig industry and to consider further action to minimise the potential future disruption to the Scottish livestock industry; notes the continued economic impact of the outbreak on Scotland’s beef, sheep and pig farmers; calls on the Scottish Government to address proactively the continuing decline in livestock numbers across Scotland; believes that, although the devolution settlement has largely been a success for Scottish agriculture, the current position whereby Scotland decides on animal health policy but has no control over its funding is an anomaly of the Scotland Act 1998, which is detrimental to relationships between the two administrations, and calls on the Scottish Government to press the case for devolving a proportionate share of the animal health budget currently held at Westminster to Scotland, while preserving the right to access the UK Treasury reserve fund.

7. Committee Membership: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-2648—That the Parliament agrees that—

Cathie Craigie be appointed to replace Charlie Gordon as a member of the Audit Committee;

Wendy Alexander be appointed to replace David Whitton as a member of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee;

Claire Baker be appointed to replace Mary Mulligan as a member of the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee;

Malcolm Chisholm be appointed to replace Richard Baker as a member of the Equal Opportunities Committee;

Charlie Gordon be appointed to replace Malcolm Chisholm as a member of the European and External Relations Committee;

David Whitton and Jackie Baillie be appointed to replace Elaine Murray and Tom McCabe as members of the Finance Committee;

Jackie Baillie be appointed to replace Rhoda Grant as a member of the Health and Sport Committee;

Mary Mulligan be appointed to replace Johann Lamont as a member of the Local Government and Communities Committee;

Marlyn Glen and Bill Butler be appointed to replace Rhoda Grant and Claire Baker as members of the Public Petitions Committee;

Elaine Murray be appointed to replace Des McNulty as a member of the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee;

Peter Peacock and Marilyn Livingstone be appointed to replace Cathie Craigie and Marlyn Glen as members of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee;

Malcolm Chisholm and Tom McCabe be appointed to replace John Park and Jackie Baillie as members of the Subordinate Legislation Committee;

Des McNulty be appointed to replace David Stewart as a member of the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Substitution on Committees: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-2649—That the Parliament agrees that—

David Whitton be appointed to replace George Foulkes as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee;

Cathy Peattie be appointed to replace Claire Baker as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee;

Johann Lamont be appointed to replace John Park as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Equal Opportunities Committee;

Ken Macintosh be appointed to replace Jackie Baillie as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the European and External Relations Committee;

Lewis Macdonald be appointed to replace Peter Peacock as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Finance Committee;

Frank McAveety be appointed to replace Irene Oldfather as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Health and Sport Committee;

Richard Simpson be appointed to replace Marlyn Glen as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Justice Committee;

Paul Martin be appointed to replace Rhoda Grant as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Local Government and Communities Committee;

Claire Baker be appointed to replace Marilyn Livingstone as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Public Petitions Committee;

Rhoda Grant be appointed to replace David Stewart as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee;

Mary Mulligan be appointed to replace Trish Godman as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee;

David Stewart be appointed to replace Richard Baker as the Scottish Labour Party substitute on the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

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

10. Alloa to Fife and Edinburgh Rail Link: The Parliament debated S3M-2419 in the name of Jim Tolson—That the Parliament notes that the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership has proposed that a feasibility study into a rail passenger service between Alloa or Stirling and Edinburgh via Fife should be sought; believes that the upgrading of the Charlestown Junction would allow a direct rail service between Alloa and Edinburgh and improve direct freight operations from the west coast via Stirling-Alloa and into Rosyth; notes that the usage of the newly reopened Stirling-Alloa rail service has greatly exceeded the forecast passenger numbers, and believes that there is a strong case for early work to explore the opportunities to increase the sustainable transport options available to people in the Stirling, Fife and Edinburgh areas.

The meeting closed at 5.40 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
2 October 2008

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 2 October 2008 for approval by resolution

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (Scheme of Assistance) Regulations 2008

laid under section 191(5) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 2 October 2008 and are not subject to any parliamentary procedure

Scottish Screen (Enterprises) Limited Report and Financial Statements 31st March 2008 (SG/2008/203)—

Scottish Screen Annual Report and consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended 31st March 2008 (SG/2008/204)—

National Museums Scotland Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2008 (SG/2008/205)—

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