Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No. 117/2007: Thursday 13 September 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

followed by Scottish Labour Party Debate: Education—

S3M-457 Hugh Henry: Education—That the Parliament regrets that education has not been given a higher priority by this administration; calls for an urgent explanation to be given on funding for higher education and further education; calls for the missing detail to be given on the manifesto commitment to write off student debt; calls for a statement on how the commitment to reduce class sizes for primary 1 to primary 3 which has not been fully explained or costed will be delivered by 2011; calls for more detail on how a teacher will be provided to every early years class by 2011; regrets that nothing has been said about tackling indiscipline in Scotland’s schools, and calls for an early statement on how funding will be provided to improve the school estate in Scotland.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S3M-457.2 Fiona Hyslop: Education—As an amendment to motion (S3M-457) in the name of Hugh Henry, leave out from first "regrets" to end and insert "recognises the importance placed on education in Scotland by all parties in the Parliament; welcomes the prospect of early legislation to abolish the graduate endowment fee; appreciates that the delay by over a year of the comprehensive spending review has dictated the timing of comprehensive announcements on spending plans for education on student debt, teachers’ numbers and the school estate, and looks forward to positive and constructive discussion with COSLA on outcome agreements as part of the spending review to improve the education of pupils, recognising that the pace, scale and delivery of improvements in pre-school provision and class size reduction in P1-P3 will be a key element of such agreements."

S3M-457.1 Jeremy Purvis: Education—As an amendment to motion (S3M-457) in the name of Hugh Henry, insert at end "and further calls for an early announcement on when the SNP manifesto pledge for a 50% increase in free nursery education for 3 and 4-year-olds will be met and how much it will cost."

11.40 am General Question Time—

1. Dr Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to impose a freeze on council tax levels. (S3O-586)

2. Iain Smith: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to improve access to NHS dental services in Fife. (S3O-609)

3. Marilyn Livingstone: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has for regeneration within the Levenmouth area of Fife. (S3O-571)

4. Alex Johnstone: To ask the Scottish Executive when it now expects construction work on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route to begin. (S3O-592)

5. Alison McInnes: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will report back to the Parliament on its work on continuing to progress the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link project. (S3O-602)

6. Jeremy Purvis: To ask the Scottish Executive what the benefits of local enterprise companies are in relation to growing the local economy. (S3O-606)

7. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Scottish Executive how many homes have been made available for occupation as a result of rural empty properties grants in (a) Scotland and (b) Dumfries and Galloway. (S3O-590)

8. Mike Rumbles: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will remove the £3,500 cap on its free central heating programme. (S3O-607)

9. Stuart McMillan: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to intervene in the dispute relating to hospital car parking charges in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. (S3O-615)

10. David McLetchie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will discuss with City of Edinburgh Council options for partial housing stock transfers to community-based housing associations with a view to achieving debt write-off and new investment in social housing in the city. (S3O-593)

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time—

1. Cathy Jamieson: To ask the First Minister what engagements he has planned for the rest of the day. (S3F-126)

2. Annabel Goldie: To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the Secretary of State for Scotland. (S3F-127)

3. Nicol Stephen: To ask the First Minister what issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cabinet. (S3F-128)

4. John Wilson: To ask the First Minister what action the Scottish Government proposes to take to review the number of quangos. (S3F-129)

5. Hugh Henry: To ask the First Minister what the estimated revenue and capital costs are for implementing primary 1 to primary 3 class sizes of 18 across the country by 2011. (S3F-146)

6. Mike Rumbles: To ask the First Minister what action Scottish ministers will take to deal with the increased risk of flooding across Scotland. (S3F-136)

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Europe, External Affairs and Culture

1. Karen Whitefield: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to invest in and support the public library network. (S3O-588)

2. Paul Martin: To ask the Scottish Executive what recent meetings it has held with interested parties to progress its priorities for culture. (S3O-572)

3. Rob Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to promote the celebration of St Andrew’s Day this year. (S3O-597)

4. Jamie Stone: To ask the Scottish Executive how it can assist the Thurso community in its bid to host the Royal National Mod. (S3O-611)

5. Gil Paterson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is in discussions with the UK Government about the European Treaty. (S3O-616)

6. Ted Brocklebank: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to review arrangements for the annual Tartan Day celebrations in the United States of America. (S3O-595)

7. Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had regarding the preservation of Scotland’s Roman heritage. (S3O-617)

8. Robert Brown: To ask the Scottish Executive what analysis it has made of the consequences of the Scottish Government assuming responsibility for social security and pensions, as outlined in Choosing Scotland’s Future: a National Conversation, and whether it will publish such analysis. (S3O-598)

9. Jackson Carlaw: To ask the Scottish Executive what meetings it has had with EU ministers and officials since May 2007 and what issues were discussed. (S3O-594)

10. Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive how it will address concerns raised by Jonathan Mills, Edinburgh International Festival Director, that it was £200,000 cheaper to import Cologne Opera’s production of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio than to engage Scottish Opera for a new production. (S3O-580)

Education and Lifelong Learning

1. Withdrawn

2. Jamie Hepburn: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to develop the teaching of modern languages in primary schools. (S3O-596)

3. Patricia Ferguson: To ask the Scottish Executive how many teachers were employed in Scottish education on 31 August 2007. (S3O-559)

4. John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive what additional resources it intends to make available for the provision of Gaelic education. (S3O-603)

5. Irene Oldfather: To ask the Scottish Executive what importance it places on physical education in schools. (S3O-582)

6. Jim Hume: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it will take to enhance the lives of young people across Scotland. (S3O-600)

7. Margaret Mitchell: To ask the Scottish Executive how it plans to assist voluntary and other not-for-profit organisations in working with young people who are, or are at risk of being, not in education, employment or training. (S3O-547)

8. Iain Gray: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to address skills gaps in key industries. (S3O-566)

9. Michael McMahon: To ask the Scottish Executive how it will ensure that Scottish universities are able to maintain their competitive edge in the face of increased funding for universities in England and Wales. (S3O-577)

10. Murdo Fraser: To ask the Scottish Executive how it intends to reduce class sizes in Primary 1 to 3. (S3O-591)

2.55 pm Ministerial Statement: The Case of Angus Sinclair

followed by Ministerial Statement: National Developments in Planning

followed by Debate on the draft Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 (Variation of Age Limit for Sale of Tobacco etc. and Consequential Modifications) Order 2007—

S3M-445 Bruce Crawford on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Approval of SSI—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 (Variation of Age Limit for Sale of Tobacco etc. and Consequential Modifications) Order 2007 be approved.

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business:

Debate on the subject of—

S3M-273 Brian Adam: MacMillan Cancer Support’s Recovered but not Covered Campaign—That the Parliament condemns the extortionate premiums charged by many travel insurance firms to cancer patients or persons with a history of cancer treatment, which often lead to their travel insurance prices being considerably higher than journey costs; acknowledges that this problem will worsen with growing numbers of people diagnosed with cancer and living longer who want or need to travel; recognises its impact on patients and their families in Aberdeen North and elsewhere in Scotland; furthermore supports MacMillan Cancer Support’s Recovered but not Covered campaign which seeks to make it easier for people affected by cancer to get fair travel insurance prices, and welcomes joint research between MacMillan and the Royal Bank of Scotland to investigate how cancer sufferers can obtain fairer travel insurance, but considers that these discriminatory and insensitive charges should be ended by other insurance companies.

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