Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No. 19/2008: Thursday 31 January 2008
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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: Accessible Passenger Transport and the National Concessionary Fares Scheme—

S3M-1246 Des McNulty: Accessible Passenger Transport and the National Concessionary Fares Scheme—That the Parliament notes the importance of accessible passenger transport to achieving the Scottish Government’s climate change objectives and in tackling the significant inequalities in Scottish society; expresses concern over capped allocations for reimbursement for concessionary travel and the Bus Service Operators Grant over the next three years and the implications for fare-paying passengers; urges ministers to reconsider their decision not to increase the Bus Service Operators Grant in line with the support given by the UK Government to bus service providers in England and Wales; calls on ministers to urgently review the national concessionary travel scheme to extend eligibility to disabled people in receipt of the lower rate of disability allowance and to older and disabled people using community transport in rural areas, enabling these extensions to be introduced by the parliamentary summer recess, and invites ministers to consult users, passenger service operators and the Parliament on other desirable changes to the scheme.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S3M-1246.2 Alison McInnes: Accessible Passenger Transport and the National Concessionary Fares Scheme—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1246) in the name of Des McNulty, insert at end "recognises the valuable contribution that Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) can make to social inclusion and accessibility, particularly in rural areas and for disabled and elderly passengers; notes with concern that the Scottish Government’s budget has caused uncertainty over the future of DRT provision; considers that expansion of DRT is an essential aspect of improving accessibility in Scotland, and therefore calls on ministers to end the uncertainty and develop DRT services in Scotland."

S3M-1246.1 Patrick Harvie: Accessible Passenger Transport and the National Concessionary Fares Scheme—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1246) in the name of Des McNulty, leave out from "expresses concern" to end and insert "recognises that it is vital that accessible and affordable public transport is available to help the Scottish Government to meet its climate change objectives and to ensure the continuation of vital urban and rural services; calls on the Scottish Government to provide a substantial increase in the budget for the Bus Service Operators Grant in 2008-09 and to consider keeping fares more affordable for the longer term; notes the Scottish Government’s intention to review the national concessionary travel scheme, and calls on ministers during that review to ensure that they maximise the benefits for the public throughout Scotland while guaranteeing the best return on a scheme which represents a significant investment of public money."

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendment to amendment

S3M-1246.1.1 Alex Johnstone: Accessible Passenger Transport and the National Concessionary Fares Scheme—As an amendment to amendment (S3M-1246.1) in the name of Patrick Harvie, insert at end "and notes that Labour and Liberal Democrat ministers in the previous administration chose not to grant eligibility to disabled people in receipt of the lower rate of disability allowance and to older and disabled people using community transport in rural areas when they created the National Concessionary Fares Scheme."

followed by Scottish Labour Party Debate: Education—

S3M-1258 Rhona Brankin: Education—That the Parliament recognises the importance of high-quality school buildings to young people’s learning; notes the SNP’s commitment to match the previous administration’s school building programme "brick for brick"; further notes that the previous administration built 200 schools between 2003 and 2007; condemns the Scottish Executive for its total failure to publish details of its school building programme, and calls on the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning to make a statement to the Parliament detailing the Executive’s plans for building the new schools that Scotland’s children deserve and that the SNP promised in its 2007 manifesto.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S3M-1258.1 Elizabeth Smith: Education—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1258) in the name of Rhona Brankin, leave out from "; notes the SNP’s commitment" to end and insert "and the need for energy efficiency, quality design including the incorporation of sound ecological and sustainable design principles, and value for money for the public purse in building schools; recognises the need for the Scottish Government and local authorities to continue to improve Scotland’s school estate; notes the SNP’s commitment to match the previous administration’s proposed school building programme "brick for brick", and calls on the Scottish Government to make a statement to the Parliament detailing its plans for new schools and how these will be funded."

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendment to amendment

S3M-1258.1.1 Maureen Watt: Education—As an amendment to amendment (S3M-1258.1) in the name of Elizabeth Smith, insert at end "and further notes that future plans for school buildings will be usefully informed by the imminent publication of Audit Scotland’s report on improving the Scottish school estate and the Scottish Government’s proposals for the Scottish Futures Trust and the Infrastructure Investment Plan."

S3M-1258.2 Jeremy Purvis: Education—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1258) in the name of Rhona Brankin, insert at end "recognises the publication of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Scottish Futures Trust and its support for the use of private finance, and is concerned that the failure of the SNP government to bring forward an alternative funding mechanism and support is causing confusion and uncertainty and is holding back councils across Scotland who want to improve schools in their areas."

11.40 am General Question Time—

1. Elaine Smith: To ask the Scottish Executive what checks are in place to ensure that signs and symptoms associated with oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid) are identified in the third trimester of pregnancy, particularly after the due date. (S3O-2150)

2. Ken Macintosh: To ask the Scottish Executive what its Education and Lifelong Learning department is doing through the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance to support science. (S3O-2138)

3. Marlyn Glen: To ask the Scottish Executive what legal advice it has been given on the impact on parental choice legislation of its pledge to reduce class sizes to 18 in primary 1 to 3. (S3O-2124)

4. David Whitton: To ask the Scottish Executive when it last met the Sheriff Principal of Glasgow and Strathkelvin. (S3O-2153)

5. Irene Oldfather: To ask the Scottish Executive what importance it attaches to language learning in schools. (S3O-2145)

6. Rob Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what conclusions it drew from the recent British Council symposium, Scotland’s Place in the World. (S3O-2079)

7. Kenneth Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it will take to encourage the teaching of Eastern European languages in schools. (S3O-2078)

8. Elizabeth Smith: To ask the Scottish Executive what efforts it is making to improve the quality of training provision for teachers and trainee teachers. (S3O-2062)

9. Hugh O’Donnell: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency regarding the disposal of construction site waste. (S3O-2103)

10. Jim Hume: To ask the Scottish Executive what it is doing to support the marketing and processing of Scottish food produce. (S3O-2105)

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time—

1. Ms Wendy Alexander: To ask the First Minister what engagements he has planned for the rest of the day. (S3F-469)

2. Annabel Goldie: To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the Secretary of State for Scotland. (S3F-470)

3. Nicol Stephen: To ask the First Minister what issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cabinet. (S3F-471)

4. Nigel Don: To ask the First Minister what steps the Scottish Government is taking to ensure that Scotland plays its part in tackling climate change. (S3F-487)

5. Richard Baker: To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government’s proposals to establish a concordat with universities will mean for higher education in Scotland. (S3F-480)

6. Mary Scanlon: To ask the First Minister what the known extent is of fraud in the NHS. (S3F-473)

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Finance and Sustainable Growth

1. Gil Paterson: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress has been made in formulating an alternative funding mechanism to public private partnerships. (S3O-2088)

2. John Scott: To ask the Scottish Executive what contact it has had with Scottish airport operators and airlines regarding the development of new international air routes following the ending of the route development fund for direct flights to and from Scottish airports. (S3O-2065)

3. Not Lodged

4. David McLetchie: To ask the Scottish Executive what its latest estimate is of the cost to councils of implementing single status pay agreements and meeting equal pay claims. (S3O-2060)

5. Sarah Boyack: To ask the Scottish Executive what further discussions it plans to have with the City of Edinburgh Council regarding capital funding. (S3O-2114)

6. John Lamont: To ask the Scottish Executive what it is doing to help the textile industry in the Scottish Borders. (S3O-2059)

7. Patricia Ferguson: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress has been made in identifying efficiency savings in the budget. (S3O-2121)

8. George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress it has made towards its objective of a 25% reduction in the number of quangos. (S3O-2122)

9. James Kelly: To ask the Scottish Executive what its policy priorities are for the 2008-09 budget. (S3O-2130)

10. Bill Wilson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is aware of Scottish, UK, European and international schemes and awards designed to recognise or support businesses that achieve excellence with regard to environmental and ethical criteria, such as the CommunityMark programme of Scottish Business in the Community and the Green Tourism Business Scheme. (S3O-2093)

11. Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive whether additional funding will be allocated by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth under the spending review to meet police pension liability over the next three years. (S3O-2141)

12. Ian McKee: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress is being made in discussions regarding the allocation of additional funding for public services and affordable housing in the city of Edinburgh. (S3O-2085)

13. Michael Matheson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has any plans to review existing council tax regulations. (S3O-2084)

14. Margo MacDonald: To ask the Scottish Executive, following the Registrar General for Scotland’s projection that the city population in Edinburgh is set to increase by 17.2% by 2031, what additional financial assistance it plans to make to the council as a result. (S3O-2066)

15. Claire Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive how it will safeguard economic and transport links between Fife and the Lothians from now until the new Forth Bridge is completed. (S3O-2113)

16. Bill Butler: To ask the Scottish Executive what financial support it will provide for Project Scotland after 31 March 2009. (S3O-2116)

17. Robin Harper: To ask the Scottish Executive what potential pilot projects have been considered to take forward its work on the carbon auditing of public expenditure. (S3O-2094)

18. Michael McMahon: To ask the Scottish Executive what the total cost of sickness absence was for all local authorities in 2006-07. (S3O-2139)

19. Christina McKelvie: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has estimated what effect the reduction in business rates, scheduled to begin in April 2008, will have in helping businesses through the current economic situation. (S3O-2086)

20. Malcolm Chisholm: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it will take to ensure that the creative industries are treated as a key sector, as pledged on page 29 of The Government Economic Strategy. (S3O-2117)

2.55 pm Scottish Government Debate: Poverty—

S3M-1260 Nicola Sturgeon: Poverty—That the Parliament agrees that poverty, inequality and deprivation are among the greatest challenges to be faced in Scotland today, that tackling these challenges is core to the delivery of the Government Economic Strategy and that development of a framework for taking forward these aspects of the Government Economic Strategy will contribute to the creation of a fairer Scotland.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S3M-1260.2 Margaret Curran: Poverty—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1260) in the name of Nicola Sturgeon, leave out from "that tackling these challenges" to end and insert "; regrets that the SNP’s approach fails to respond to the needs of the poorest households in Scotland and fails to engage those groups experienced in tackling poverty in finding solutions, and believes that social justice is a priority for the Scottish people and should remain a central policy commitment of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament."

S3M-1260.1 Mary Scanlon: Poverty—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1260) in the name of Nicola Sturgeon, insert at end "recognises that the Scottish Government, UK Government and local governments need to work together to get people off welfare and into work where possible and to increase the percentage of benefit take-up ensuring that those most in need of help get it, and calls on the Scottish Government to bring forward proposals to achieve these aims."

S3M-1260.3 Ross Finnie: Poverty—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1260) in the name of Nicola Sturgeon, leave out from "that tackling these challenges" to end and insert "; believes that tackling poverty requires a co-ordinated approach with the UK Government to ensure that the benefits system supports those most in need and actively encourages those able to return to education, training and work to do so; believes that a cross-party approach to increasing opportunity across Scotland is required, and therefore calls for the establishment of a cross-party inquiry, involving stakeholders, to address the causes and effects of poverty and wealth inequality in Scotland and recommend to the Parliament practical actions in areas including health, housing, training, social enterprise and the voluntary sector, micro-credit and community regeneration."

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business:

Debate on the subject of—

S3M-765 Elizabeth Smith: Extra-curricular Outdoor Education for Every School Pupil—That the Parliament notes the vital contribution that taking part in extra-curricular activities makes in developing our young people; notes that extra-curricular programmes help our young people to learn new skills, to enjoy new responsibility, to appreciate the work of other people and to learn about leadership; notes the success of projects such as Crieff High School’s Community Awareness Project, and considers that, in an age when too many of our young people are in the headlines for the wrong reasons and when there are increasing concerns about school discipline and the numbers of youngsters involved in incidents of antisocial behaviour, extra-curricular activities in schools and five days outdoor education for every school pupil in Scotland should be supported.

Contents An A B C D E F G H I J