18 September Vol. 2, No 20 Session 3

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Hill Farms and Less Favoured Areas: The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment moved S3M-2553—That the Parliament recognises the valuable contribution made by farmers on Scotland’s hills and other remote areas to food production, environmental management and our rural economy; notes the publication of the Scottish Agriculture College’s report, Farming’s Retreat from the Hills, funded by the Scottish Government, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s report on its Inquiry into Scotland’s Hills and Islands as well as other recent publications highlighting the challenges and opportunities facing the sector, and welcomes the publication on 18 September 2008 of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme and its commitment to work in partnership with stakeholders to consider the range of relevant economic, social and environmental issues with the aim of securing a sustainable future for agriculture on our hills and in our more remote communities.

Sarah Boyack moved amendment S3M-2553.2 to motion S3M-2553—

Leave out from “and welcomes” to end and insert—

“notes the publication on 18 September 2008 of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme; calls on the Scottish Government to simplify and streamline the Rural Development Programme (RDP) application process and to clarify the decision-making process to ensure transparency, effectiveness and fairness in the distribution of RDP allocations; further calls on the Scottish Government to set targets for public sector food procurement that would deliver a significant percentage of locally sourced and fairly traded produce, and encourages stakeholders to work in partnership to consider the range of relevant economic, social and environmental issues with the aim of securing a sustainable future for agriculture on our hills and in our remote communities.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 54, Against 62, Abstentions 0).

John Scott moved amendment S3M-2553.1 to motion S3M-2553—

insert at end—

“notes the burden of increased costs for hill farmers and crofters, notably fertilisers, fuel and transport, coupled with the ongoing challenges of farming on some of the most disadvantaged land in Europe, and therefore agrees with the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s report in condemning the UK Government’s policy of ending direct support for Scottish producers after 2013.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 79, Against 37, Abstentions 0).

Liam McArthur moved amendment S3M-2553.3 to motion S3M-2553—

insert at end—

“notes with concern that the decline in livestock farming activity undermines food security efforts and is likely to impact negatively on the delivery of environmental benefits, and calls on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to alleviate the short-term cash flow problems faced by many Scottish farmers by ensuring that the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme payments for 2008 are issued before the end of October, without compromising the delivery of single farm payments, and taking steps to ensure that future payments are issued within the same calendar year.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 52, Against 64, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 78, Against 37, Abstentions 1).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the valuable contribution made by farmers on Scotland’s hills and other remote areas to food production, environmental management and our rural economy; notes the publication of the Scottish Agriculture College’s report, Farming’s Retreat from the Hills, funded by the Scottish Government, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s report on its Inquiry into Scotland’s Hills and Islands as well as other recent publications highlighting the challenges and opportunities facing the sector; welcomes the publication on 18 September 2008 of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme and its commitment to work in partnership with stakeholders to consider the range of relevant economic, social and environmental issues with the aim of securing a sustainable future for agriculture on our hills and in our more remote communities; notes the burden of increased costs for hill farmers and crofters, notably fertilisers, fuel and transport, coupled with the ongoing challenges of farming on some of the most disadvantaged land in Europe, and therefore agrees with the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s report in condemning the UK Government’s policy of ending direct support for Scottish producers after 2013.

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

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

4. Themed Question Time: Questions on Education and Lifelong Learning, and on Europe, External Affairs and Culture were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

5. Growing Pains - can we achieve a 50% growth in tourist revenue by 2015?: Iain Smith moved S3M-2543—That the Parliament notes the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee’s 6th Report, 2008 (Session 3): Growing Pains - can we achieve a 50% growth in tourist revenue by 2015? (SP Paper 141).

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

6. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1 and 5 as noted above.

7. Cancer Poverty: The Parliament debated S3M-1972 in the name of Michael Matheson—That the Parliament recognises the wider social impact of dealing and living with a cancer diagnosis, including the significant financial consequences of the disease; is concerned that 90% of people affected by cancer in the United Kingdom experience a significant drop in income and an increase in daily living expenses as a direct result of their diagnosis; welcomes the work of Macmillan Cancer Support, in partnership with the regional cancer advisory groups and local government, in developing a network of cancer-aware benefits advisors in Falkirk and across Scotland; supports the embedding of referral to benefits and financial advice within routine NHS clinical practice, and recognises the need to address cancer poverty in the Better Cancer Care strategy and ensure that financial advice becomes an integral part of every Scot’s cancer journey.

The meeting closed at 5.41 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
18 September 2008

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

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 18 September 2008 and are subject to annulment—

The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008 (SSI2008/309)

laid under paragraph 2(2) of schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972

The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2008 (SSI 2008/310)

laid under section 54 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003

The National Health Service (Recognition of Health Service Bodies) (Scotland) Order 2008 (SSI 2008/315)

laid under section 105(2) of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 18 September 2008 and is not subject to any parliamentary procedure

Scottish Information Commissioner Annual Accounts Year Ended 31 March 2008 (SG/2008/170)

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

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 18 September 2008—

Health and Sport Committee, 5th Report, 2008 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 147)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 33rd Report 2008 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 149)