Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No. 24/2007: Thursday 8 February 2007
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Contents An A B C D E F G H I J

Section A – Today’s Business

Meeting of the Parliament

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions—

S2M-5561 Ms Margaret Curran on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill, debate on groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time limit indicated, that time limit being calculated from when the Stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when a meeting of the Parliament is suspended (other than a suspension following the first division in the Stage being called) or otherwise not in progress:

Groups 1 to 5: 1 hour 5 minutes.

followed by Scottish National Party Debate: Forth and Tay Road Bridges Tolls—

S2M-5535 Tricia Marwick: Forth and Tay Road Bridges Tolls—That the Parliament believes that the tolls should be removed from the Forth Road Bridge and the Tay Road Bridge.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S2M-5535.2 Tavish Scott: Forth and Tay Road Bridges Tolls—As an amendment to motion (S2M-5535) in the name of Tricia Marwick, leave out from "believes" to end and insert "commits to a replacement crossing across the Forth and calls on the Cabinet to commit to preparatory work to start immediately; calls for the case for abolition of the tolls on the Fife Bridges to be considered in the light of the commitment to the new crossing; notes that the SNP’s sums do not add up and that under its current plans the SNP would not be able to afford to lift the tolls and pay for the construction of a new crossing; notes that its proposals do not address the impact of congestion or other environmental, social and economic impacts, and notes the importance of a sustainable transport policy, including smart tolling and investment in public transport to meet the long-term needs of Scotland."

S2M-5535.1 Mark Ballard: Forth and Tay Road Bridges Tolls—As an amendment to motion (S2M-5535) in the name of Tricia Marwick, leave out from "the tolls" to end and insert "existing tolls on the Forth Road Bridge and the Tay Road Bridge should be replaced with a scheme of variable charging which takes into account factors such as occupancy levels, peak hour traffic flows and specific exemptions, including for public transport, and that the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board and the Forth Transport Estuary Forum should be given more flexibility to use toll revenues to deal with transport issues in the vicinity."

followed by Scottish National Party Debate: Early Years Education, Development and Care—

S2M-5549 Fiona Hyslop: Early Years Education, Development and Care—That the Parliament believes that early years education, care and development support for our youngest children can provide firm foundations for later life and that there needs to be an increase in pace and attention in terms of delivery for the early years in Scotland; further believes that Scotland needs a 10-year strategy for care, development and education in the early years; recognises the vital role that nursery nurses play in delivery of this service as part of a team approach to early years services; calls for a 50% increase in free nursery education with access to a nursery teacher for all children; condemns the Scottish Executive for falling two years behind England and Wales in the provision of nursery education despite the fact that resources have been made available through the Barnett formula, and calls on ministers to offer an explanation.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S2M-5549.2 Robert Brown: Early Years Education, Development and Care—As an amendment to motion (S2M-5549) in the name of Fiona Hyslop, leave out from "that there needs" to end and insert "welcomes the significant increase in pre-school education entitlement that has been delivered since 1999; recognises that teachers have, and will continue to have, a major role to play in delivering pre-school education; recognises the vital role that qualified early years practitioners play in delivering early years services and welcomes proposals to deliver greater professionalism and improved career pathways for early years staff; welcomes proposals under A Curriculum for Excellence to introduce more active learning into early primary education; recognises that early years strategy needs to reflect these developments, and recognises that the Scottish Executive’s investment in education has rebuilt the foundations of a successful education system in Scotland".

S2M-5549.1 Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Early Years Education, Development and Care—As an amendment to motion (S2M-5549) in the name of Fiona Hyslop, leave out from "that there needs" to end and insert "can assist parents with the difficult but rewarding task of raising children; further believes that provision must be advanced, highly-skilled and flexible in order to meet the range of needs that parents and children in Scotland have; therefore expresses its concern that access to qualified teachers in nurseries may be insufficient in some areas of Scotland; recognises the potential that early intervention has for helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds, or who have additional support needs or are otherwise at risk, and calls for serious consideration to be given to expanding the number of family centres, particularly in areas of deprivation."

11.40 am General Question Time—

1. Tommy Sheridan: To ask the Scottish Executive what its assessment is of the performance of its housing policy since 1999 in tackling homelessness and providing a suitable supply of affordable social housing. (S2O-11922)

2. Mr Andrew Welsh: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is satisfied that current planning laws are adequate to deal with rapid, competing supermarket developments and to ensure fairness and long-term benefit. (S2O-11899)

3. Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to install Microsoft Vista on its computer systems. (S2O-11982)

4. Mark Ballard: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it will take following the release of the report of the Supporting and Developing Healthy Communities task group. (S2O-11980)

5. Mr David Davidson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has any plans to amend the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 to regulate the off-sales sector. (S2O-11931)

6. Mr Adam Ingram: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it can confirm that the Burns museum project at Alloway will be completed and the visitor attraction fully operational for the 2009 Year of Homecoming. (S2O-11908)

7. Bill Aitken: To ask the Scottish Executive, in respect of free personal care, what discussions it has had with local authorities about the reimbursement of people who have been wrongly charged by local authorities for assistance with meal preparation. (S2O-11917)

8. Richard Lochhead: To ask the Scottish Executive what action is being taken to expedite access to NHS dentists in Moray and across Scotland. (S2O-11928)

9. Christine Grahame: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to promote full religious equality and an end to institutionalised discrimination. (S2O-11925)

10. Mrs Mary Mulligan: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it will take to support projects such as FOCCUS, provided by Scottish Marriage Care, for people contemplating marriage. (S2O-11959)

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time—

1. Nicola Sturgeon: To ask the First Minister what issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Scottish Executive’s Cabinet. (S2F-2701)

2. Miss Annabel Goldie: To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the Prime Minister and what issues they will discuss. (S2F-2702)

3. Shiona Baird: To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the Secretary of State for Scotland and what issues he intends to discuss. (S2F-2713)

4. Mrs Nanette Milne: To ask the First Minister what discussions the Scottish Executive has had with the UK Government about the recent outbreak of avian flu in Suffolk. (S2F-2708)

5. Mr Frank McAveety: To ask the First Minister whether the Scottish Executive has any plans to issue guidance or legislate to make schools mobile phone free zones. (S2F-2715)

6. Mr Jamie Stone: To ask the First Minister whether the Scottish Executive will conduct an urgent review of safety at level crossings without barriers. (S2F-2706)

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport

1. Mr Charlie Gordon: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has made representations to the European Commission about the proposed merger between Iberdrola and Scottish Power. (S2O-11943)

2. Jeremy Purvis: To ask the Scottish Executive how it is supporting education and training for renewable energy technology installation and maintenance. (S2O-11974)

3. Mr Duncan McNeil: To ask the Scottish Executive how it will work with business to reduce the number of unskilled workers in the workforce. (S2O-11955)

4. Iain Smith: To ask the Scottish Executive how it is supporting the spin-out of research from Scotland’s universities. (S2O-11970)

5. Christine May: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to increase the use of rail for passenger and freight traffic. (S2O-11951)

6. Shona Robison: To ask the Scottish Executive when it plans to publish the initial findings of the study of the economic, social and environmental impact and cost of retaining or removing tolls from the Tay and Forth road bridges. (S2O-11903)

7. Marilyn Livingstone: To ask the Scottish Executive what the uptake has been of the young persons’ concessionary travel scheme. (S2O-11948)

8. Irene Oldfather: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with the Scottish Funding Council about the current position at James Watt College. (S2O-11961)

9. Margaret Smith: To ask the Scottish Executive whether Strategic Transport Appraisal Guidance is being taken into account in the evaluation of a further Forth crossing and when a decision will be taken. (S2O-11967)

10. Stewart Stevenson: To ask the Scottish Executive what measures it is taking to work with businesses to improve investment in research and development and reach the targets set out in the 2004 Spending Review, following the publication of Business Enterprise Research and Development 2005 on 30 January 2007 which shows that business research and development accounts for 0.59% of GDP. (S2O-11915)

Justice and Law Officers

1. Karen Gillon: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps are being taken to address serious organised crime. (S2O-11941)

2. Ms Wendy Alexander: To ask the Scottish Executive how the establishment of a youth court in Paisley can help reduce crime. (S2O-11932)

3. Euan Robson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has any plans to promote and extend the traceable bottle marking scheme nationwide. (S2O-11968)

4. Ms Rosemary Byrne: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to make equal provision of drug rehabilitation and treatment services across Scotland. (S2O-11921)

5. John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive whether its position is that the criminal convictions of those who did not pay the Skye Bridge tolls should be overturned. (S2O-11972)

6. Frances Curran: To ask the Scottish Executive how many anti-nuclear protestors have been arrested at the Faslane naval base since the start of the "Faslane 365" campaign and how many have been charged. (S2O-11927)

7. Cathie Craigie: To ask the Scottish Executive what innovative measures are being considered to tackle shops that fail to adhere to the law on the supply of cigarettes and alcohol to under-age children. (S2O-11938)

8. Mr Mark Ruskell: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will consider the creation of the new category of "short term" prisoner within the Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill, as advocated by the Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum. (S2O-11983)

9. Alex Fergusson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is satisfied that the law pertaining to asset seizure in drug-related cases is being evenly applied. (S2O-11910)

10. Ms Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the Minister for Justice will meet parents whose son died, having been wrongly prescribed methadone, to discuss their concerns about the operation of fatal accident inquiries and the legal basis of methadone prescribing guidelines. (S2O-11919)

2.55 pm Stage 3 Proceedings: Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill—

S2M-5361 Tavish Scott: Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees that the Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill be passed.

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business:

Debate on the subject of—

S2M-5425 Ms Maureen Watt: School Transport Safety—That the Parliament notes that current legislation regarding the provision of seatbelts on school transport does not require all school buses to be fitted with seatbelt facilities; further notes that the mandatory fitting of seatbelts on school buses only applies to those vehicles first used on or after 1 October 2001 or those manufactured six months before that date; recognises that this loophole can result in children’s safety being jeopardised, as was experienced at a recent accident in Aberdeenshire, and considers that the Scottish Executive should make representations to the Department for Transport in order to have legislation amended so that all school buses, regardless of age and size, are fitted with adequate seatbelt facilities.

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