Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No. 134/2007: Monday 8 October 2007
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Section E – Written questions lodged on 5 October 2007

Questions marked with a triangle (Δ) are initiated by the Scottish Executive in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.

Questions in which a member has indicated a declarable interest are marked with an "R".

S3W-5217 Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Executive how it monitors the independence of culture and leisure trusts.

S3W-5218 Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Executive how it ensures that a culture and leisure trust’s funding surplus is reinvested in the local community.

S3W-5219 Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has any plans to ring-fence the surpluses generated by culture and leisure trusts to ensure that funding raised is not used either directly or indirectly to fund local authorities’ core services.

S3W-5220 Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will provide details of generated income and expenditure of culture and leisure trusts in each of the last three years, broken down by trust and type of income and expenditure.

S3W-5221 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how NHS boards will meet the additional financial requirements for equal pay settlements.

S3W-5222 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive whether allied health professionals who are paid different rates for doing the same job are entitled to equal pay for equal work under existing legislation.

S3W-5223 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it plans to merge any NHS boards.

S3W-5224 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how many council-owned houses in each local authority area are not expected to achieve the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015.

S3W-5225 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how it will legislate on the pricing of alcohol and alcohol promotions in retail outlets.

S3W-5226 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how many home owners have received a rural home ownership grant in each of the last three years, broken down by local authority area.

S3W-5227 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how many purchasers of new or existing properties not requiring improvement have received financial assistance through the rural home ownership grant scheme in each of the last three years.

S3W-5228 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how many homeowners have received a rural home ownership grant on the basis of restricted (a) opportunities and (b) access in each of the last three years.

S3W-5229 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive what decision-making and spending powers the new regional organisations for enterprise will have.

S3W-5230 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how it will monitor whether the restructuring of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise increases productivity.

S3W-5231 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how it will monitor whether the new enterprise structure increases regional GDP.

S3W-5232 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive (a) how many and (b) which local authorities and local enterprise companies are currently in the process of co-locating.

S3W-5233 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive whether local authorities will receive additional funding for the responsibilities transferred to them under the recent review of the structures and functions of the enterprise network and whether this funding will be ring-fenced for economic development activities.

S3W-5234 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to realign community planning partnerships with the boundaries of the new enterprise regional organisations and VisitScotland.

S3W-5235 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive whether public sector involvement in Katalyst Projects Ltd will be transferred from Scottish Enterprise Dumfries and Galloway to Dumfries and Galloway Council.

S3W-5236 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the national Business Gateway website will be maintained after responsibility for Business Gateway passes to local authorities and, if so, who will be responsible for such maintenance.

S3W-5237 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive whether transferring responsibility for the delivery of Business Gateway to 32 councils instead of 12 local enterprise companies will increase complexity.

S3W-5238 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive when Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise networks’ local enterprise companies will cease to exist.

S3W-5239 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to take forward the results of the consultation on a science and innovation strategy for Scotland and, if so, how.

S3W-5240 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive what the status is of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee.

S3W-5241 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive to which minister or ministers the Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland reports.

S3W-5242 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how many times the (a) Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and (b) Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism met representatives of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce prior to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on 26 September 2007 about the restructuring of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

S3W-5243 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how many times the (a) Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and (b) Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism met representatives of CBI Scotland prior to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on 26 September 2007 about the restructuring of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

S3W-5244 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how many times the (a) Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and (b) Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism met representatives of the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland prior to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on 26 September 2007 about the restructuring of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

S3W-5245 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how many times the (a) Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and (b) Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism met representatives of Scottish Financial Enterprise prior to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on 26 September 2007 about the restructuring of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

S3W-5246 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how many times the (a) Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and (b) Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism met representatives of the Institute of Directors prior to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on 26 September 2007 about the restructuring of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

S3W-5247 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how many times the (a) Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and (b) Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism met representatives of the Scottish Trades Union Congress prior to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on 26 September 2007 about the restructuring of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

S3W-5248 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how many times the (a) Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and (b) Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism met chairs and chief executives of the enterprise networks prior to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on 26 September 2007 about the restructuring of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

S3W-5249 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how many times the (a) Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and (b) Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism met trade unions representing staff employed in the enterprise networks prior to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on 26 September 2007 about the restructuring of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

S3W-5250 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how many times the (a) Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and (b) Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism met representatives of COSLA prior to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on 26 September 2007 about the restructuring of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

S3W-5251 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has met the Chief Executive and Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council regarding their estimates of the funding required to freeze council tax in 2008-09 at the 2007-08 level.

S3W-5252 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how much funding it estimates that Dumfries and Galloway Council will require to freeze council tax in 2008-09 at the 2007-08 level.

S3W-5253 Rhoda Grant: To ask the Scottish Executive what land holdings it has in Moray.

S3W-5254 Rhoda Grant: To ask the Scottish Executive whether any of its available landholdings in Moray will be used to create new crofts as outlined in the proposal to create new crofting areas.

S3W-5255 Rhoda Grant: To ask the Scottish Executive how it will ensure that new crofts will be created in Moray.

S3W-5256 Rhoda Grant: To ask the Scottish Executive what financial incentives will be available to establish new crofts in Moray.

S3W-5257 Rhoda Grant: To ask the Scottish Executive whether any financial incentives to extend crofting to Moray will be additional to existing resources.

S3W-5258 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will meet the stage 3 payments in full to pay optometrists under the free eye test initiative, as agreed by the previous administration.

S3W-5259 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive what the percentage hours of sickness absence have been in each of the last five years in each NHS board.

S3W-5260 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how many patients aged over 65 were admitted to hospital two or more times as emergency patients in each of the last five years.

S3W-5261 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how many doctors from countries outwith Scotland have been employed to provide locum support for out-of-hours and other GP services since the new GMS contract came into effect.

S3W-5262 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive what action is being taken to address the disparity between NHS boards in the cost of providing primary care out-of-hours services.

S3W-5263 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the recruitment and retention of GPs has improved as a result of the new GMS contract.

S3W-5264 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how paramedics and ambulance crews are being supported to take more responsibility for out-of-hours care.

S3W-5265 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive how many people have presented to accident and emergency departments in each of the last five years.

S3W-5266 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive when the national tariff service agreements between NHS boards will be publicly available.

S3W-5267 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive when Agenda for Change is due to be completed.

S3W-5268 Hugh Henry: To ask the Scottish Executive whether there will be 1,000 more police officers in employment by May 2011 than were in employment in May 2007.

S3W-5269 Hugh Henry: To ask the Scottish Executive what the target is for the minimum number of police officers to be employed by May 2011.

S3W-5270 Hugh Henry: To ask the Scottish Executive whether additional resources will be provided to local authorities to ensure a freeze in council tax from 2008.

S3W-5271 Hugh Henry: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will give an assurance that there will be no cuts in local authority services as a result of a freeze in council tax from 2008.

S3W-5272 Mary Scanlon: To ask the Scottish Executive what the external debt of each local authority has been in each of the last 10 years.

S3W-5273 Liam McArthur: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-4458 by Fiona Hyslop on 1 October 2007, how it intends to ensure that the needs of science are fully taken account of in the comprehensive spending review.

S3W-5274 Liam McArthur: To ask the Scottish Executive what assessment it has made of the impact on the competitiveness of Scottish universities if the cap on tuition fees for English universities is removed and how it intends to respond to the findings of any such assessment.

S3W-5275 Liam McArthur: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will take account of the potential removal of the cap on tuition fees for English universities when considering the funding settlement for Scottish universities in the comprehensive spending review.

S3W-5276 Liam McArthur: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-4458 by Fiona Hyslop on 1 October 2007, how it intends to ensure that the science and engineering departments of Scottish universities remain competitive with universities in England if the cap on tuition fees is lifted.

S3W-5277 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive who will appoint members of the strategic forum for enterprise; what budget will be allocated annually to running the forum; whether members of the forum will receive remuneration for their duties, and to whom the forum will report.

S3W-5278 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive who will appoint members of the business-led boards of the regional operations that will replace the local enterprise companies; what budget will be allocated annually to running each operation; how that overall budget will compare with the current local enterprise company budget; whether members of the boards of regional operations will receive remuneration for their duties, and to whom the boards will report.

S3W-5279 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to introduce primary legislation to establish its new skills agency and, if so, when it expects to do so.

S3W-5280 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive who will appoint the board members of the planned single skills body encompassing Careers Scotland, learndirect Scotland and other skills functions of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise; when it expects the new body to be in place; what budget will be allocated to it annually; whether its board members will be remunerated, and to whom the board will report.

S3W-5281 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive who will appoint members of the board of Scottish Enterprise following its reform; whether members of the board will receive remuneration, and to whom the board will report.

S3W-5282 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive who will appoint members of the board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise following its reform; whether members of the board will receive remuneration, and to whom the board will report.

S3W-5283 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive what additional support it intends to provide to local authorities for local regeneration and how this compares with the existing local regeneration budgets of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

S3W-5284 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the statement on enterprise networks by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth on 26 September 2007, what plans it has to establish industry sector advisory bodies; when any such bodies are expected to be in place; which industry sectors such bodies will serve; who will appoint the boards of any such bodies; to whom such bodies will report, and what budget it intends to assign such bodies.

S3W-5285 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-3940 by Kenny MacAskill on 14 September 2007, when the Scottish Legal Aid Board’s survey of the particular types of work which registered providers of civil legal assistance undertake will be completed and how the results will be made available to potential applicants for legal aid seeking to identify the solicitors most likely to be able to take on their case.

S3W-5286 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-3939 by Kenny MacAskill on 14 September 2007, how many solicitors’ practices received payments from the Scottish Legal Aid Board in excess of £50,000 per annum in each of the last five years, broken down into firms offering (a) only civil legal aid work, (b) only criminal legal aid work and (c) both civil and criminal legal aid work.

S3W-5287 Tavish Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-3940 by Kenny MacAskill on 14 September 2007, what action the Scottish Legal Aid Board will take if its survey of the particular types of work which registered providers of civil legal assistance undertake identifies areas where there are few solicitors offering legal aid services, either in general or in particular types of cases.

S3W-5288 Irene Oldfather: To ask the Scottish Executive whether supplies of flu vaccine are sufficient to meet demand from at risk groups.

S3W-5289 Irene Oldfather: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to increase uptake of flu vaccinations from groups most at risk.

S3W-5290 Irene Oldfather: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to increase uptake of flu vaccination among older people.

S3W-5291 Irene Oldfather: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to encourage those who care for older people to enter the flu vaccination programme.

S3W-5292 Robert Brown: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to develop a play and communication strategy.

S3W-5293 Murdo Fraser: To ask the Scottish Executive what safeguards there are to prevent the exposure of children to (a) political bias and (b) scientific inaccuracy or misrepresentation in the classroom.

S3W-5294 Murdo Fraser: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the film, An Inconvenient Truth, and supporting materials were assessed against any safeguards that exist to prevent the exposure of children to (a) political bias and (b) scientific inaccuracy or misrepresentation in the classroom before they were sent to schools.

S3W-5295 Murdo Fraser: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to review any safeguards that exist to prevent the exposure of children to (a) political bias and (b) scientific inaccuracy or misrepresentation in the classroom, following the ruling of Mr Justice Burton in the High Court in London concerning the showing of the film, An Inconvenient Truth, in English schools.

S3W-5296 Jamie McGrigor: To ask the Scottish Executive when it last met representatives of the Northern Ireland Assembly to discuss the possible reinstatement of the Ballycastle to Campbeltown ferry and what progress is being made with regard to its reinstatement.

S3W-5297 Jamie McGrigor: To ask the Scottish Executive what its response is to any local concerns in the Campbeltown area about apparent lack of progress in the re-establishment of the Ballycastle to Campbeltown ferry.

S3W-5298 Jamie McGrigor: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress is being made in establishing a new NHS dental practice in the Oban area following the closure of the Argyll Square dental practice in 2007.

S3W-5299 Richard Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive what criteria it believes should be used by local authorities when considering whether to close or amalgamate schools.

S3W-5300 Richard Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that 60% capacity is an appropriate criterion for local authorities to use to place schools under review which could conclude with the schools being closed or amalgamated.

S3W-5301 Richard Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has had any discussions with the Accounts Commission on reviewing the commission’s advice that a 60% capacity in schools should be a criterion used by local authorities in decisions to place the future of schools under review.

S3W-5302 Angela Constance: To ask the Scottish Executive why portable CD oxygen cylinders are not listed on the Scottish Drug Tariff.

S3W-5303 Angela Constance: To ask the Scottish Executive what difficulties there are for contractors in providing portable CD oxygen cylinders when requested by prescribing doctors and pharmacists.

S3W-5304 Angela Constance: To ask the Scottish Executive why portable oxygen cylinders are not available on the NHS.

S3W-5305 Sarah Boyack: To ask the Scottish Executive, in light of the decision to abolish the Cabinet Committee on Sustainable Scotland, what formal internal mechanisms exist to ensure that decisions meet the Executive’s five priorities and contribute to the target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 3% a year.

S3W-5306 Margaret Mitchell: To ask the Scottish Executive how many fines were issued by environmental health officers and community wardens for littering in each of the last five years.

S3W-5307 Margaret Mitchell: To ask the Scottish Executive how many pupils attend each local authority school in South Lanarkshire.

S3W-5308 Margaret Mitchell: To ask the Scottish Executive what the (a) dining hall capacity and (b) maximum number of daily lunches that can be provided by school kitchens is in each local authority school in South Lanarkshire.

S3W-5309 Derek Brownlee: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the statement on enterprise networks by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth on 26 September 2007, which VisitScotland local offices are under consideration for closure.

S3W-5310 Derek Brownlee: To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the statement on enterprise networks by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth on 26 September 2007, how it will ensure that local control of tourism strategy is retained in a hub network of six areas.

S3W-5311 Mike Pringle: To ask the Scottish Executive what financial support it intends to give to the City of Edinburgh Council to help school rebuilding.

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