Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No. 74/2008: Thursday 8 May 2008
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Section A – Today’s Business

Meeting of the Parliament

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Scottish Labour Party Business: Meeting Scotland’s Housing Needs—

S3M-1848 Johann Lamont: Meeting Scotland’s Housing Needs—That the Parliament recognises the broad range of issues that must be tackled in meeting the diverse housing needs of people across Scotland; confirms that the Scottish Government must act to address these issues, including continued work to prevent and reduce homelessness, the further development of housing to meet particular and specialist need, dealing with the blockages to the supply of housing, providing affordable housing to buy and within the socially rented sector, ensuring higher quality and better managed housing for rent in the private sector, seeking solutions to the problems facing local authorities where tenants voted against stock transfer and recognising the distinctive challenges in rural areas, regeneration areas and areas of high demand; notes that the consultation responses to the Firm Foundations document exposed significant flaws in the Scottish Government’s approach; urges the Scottish Government to address these flaws and bring forward a coherent strategy for all of Scotland’s housing needs and, in particular, agrees that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing should ensure that the Mazars report into second stage transfer issues in Glasgow Housing Association is subject to open, transparent and independent scrutiny.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S3M-1848.2 Stewart Maxwell: Meeting Scotland’s Housing Needs—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1848) in the name of Johann Lamont, leave out from "notes" to end and insert "calls on the Scottish Government to facilitate discussion and mediation between Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) and the relevant local housing organisations to ensure that second stage transfers proceed speedily and equitably in the interests of all tenants and urges the Scottish Government to bring forward a coherent strategy for all of Scotland’s housing needs and, in particular, agrees that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing should ensure that the Mazars report into second stage transfer issues in GHA is subject to open, transparent and independent scrutiny."

S3M-1848.1 Jamie McGrigor: Meeting Scotland’s Housing Needs—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1848) in the name of Johann Lamont, insert at end "regrets the failure of the Scottish Government to actively promote housing stock transfer by local authorities to community-based housing associations, with the approval of tenants, and urges the Scottish Government to co-operate with HM Treasury and councils to achieve the substantial debt write-offs of over £2 billion which are available and thereby facilitate new investment in social housing."

S3M-1848.3 Jim Tolson: Meeting Scotland’s Housing Needs—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1848) in the name of Johann Lamont, insert at end "regrets that after two parliamentary debates on the subject since the budget was passed, the Scottish Government has still failed to come forward with clear figures on its housing plans across all sector and tenure types including the number of affordable rented houses to be built from 2008 to 2011, and has further failed to produce a clear trajectory for how it intends to meet its commitment to abolish unintentional homelessness by 2012; calls for improved energy efficiency to be a key objective in plans for new housing, and opposes the Scottish Government’s proposals for large scale procurement put forward in Firm Foundations."

11.40 am General Question Time—

1. Karen Gillon: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will review the operation of the air discount scheme. (S3O-3184)

2. Margaret Curran: To ask the Scottish Executive when the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing last met representatives of housing associations in Glasgow. (S3O-3180)

3. Hugh Henry: To ask the Scottish Executive what commitment it has to advanced highers following its announcement on national qualifications. (S3O-3189)

4. Michael Matheson: To ask the Scottish Executive when the Minister for Communities and Sport last met with representatives of Labour/Conservative-led Falkirk Council. (S3O-3229)

5. Jamie Hepburn: To ask the Scottish Executive how many council houses have been built by North Lanarkshire Council since 1996. (S3O-3226)

6. George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive what its position is on Edinburgh’s school building programme and whether more money is needed before progress on Portobello High, Boroughmuir and James Gillespie’s schools can begin. (S3O-3183)

7. Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress it has made to secure full broadband coverage across the Highlands and Islands. (S3O-3207)

8. Dave Thompson: To ask the Scottish Executive what importance it places on small inter-island ferries. (S3O-3236)

9. Robin Harper: To ask the Scottish Executive what estimate has been made of the amount of additional climate-changing pollution, in tonnes of CO2, from increased air traffic as a result of the proposed expansions of Glasgow and Edinburgh airports. (S3O-3256)

10. Willie Coffey: To ask the Scottish Executive what arrangements are in place to monitor the range, quality, and content of websites operated by and on behalf of the Scottish Government and its agencies. (S3O-3219)

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-740)

2. Annabel Goldie: To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the Prime Minister. (S3F-741)

3. Nicol Stephen: To ask the First Minister what issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cabinet. (S3F-742)

4. Brian Adam: To ask the First Minister what representations he has made to the Prime Minister about the impact of high fuel prices on the road haulage industry and the economy of Scotland in general. (S3F-747)

5. Andy Kerr: To ask the First Minister, following the recent publication of the responses to the Scottish Futures Trust consultation, what the next step in the process will be. (S3F-759)

6. Patrick Harvie: To ask the First Minister what the impact of peak oil will be on Scotland and what action the Scottish Government is taking to address the issue. (S3F-751)

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Rural Affairs and the Environment

1. Rhoda Grant: To ask the Scottish Executive what assistance is available for small farmers and crofters in the Highlands and Islands who wish to access funds from the Scottish Rural Development Programme. (S3O-3187)

2. Helen Eadie: To ask the Scottish Executive, in light of the call by the Association of British Insurers, what plans it has to stop developments designated as being at high risk of flooding across Scotland. (S3O-3181)

3. Johann Lamont: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with local authorities about the issue of environmental justice. (S3O-3193)

4. Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Executive what criteria determine whether an environmental impact assessment should be undertaken. (S3O-3238)

5. Gil Paterson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has had discussions with the UK Government with regard to bringing in regulation at Glasgow Airport aimed at reducing the noise impact on residents living under the flight path. (S3O-3234)

6. Charlie Gordon: To ask the Scottish Executive how its policy decisions will improve the environment. (S3O-3186)

7. Karen Whitefield: To ask the Scottish Executive how its environmental policies are improving Scotland’s sustainability. (S3O-3212)

8. Alison McInnes: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment has held with rural stakeholders on the impact of the rising cost of fuel on the viability of rural businesses. (S3O-3245)

9. Christine Grahame: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers there will be resources adequate to the task to monitor licensed snaring. (S3O-3225)

10. Paul Martin: To ask the Scottish Executive what targets it has for improving recycling in Glasgow. (S3O-3194)

Justice and Law Officers

1. Brian Adam: To ask the Scottish Executive what further consideration it is giving to the future provision of forensic science services. (S3O-3214)

2. Mike Pringle: To ask the Scottish Executive whether there are any plans to expand Scotland’s open prison estate. (S3O-3248)

3. Dr Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it is taking to ensure the dignity of women in custody is upheld. (S3O-3209)

4. Stuart McMillan: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress has been made on a consolidated firearms bill. (S3O-3232)

5. Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive when the Cabinet Secretary for Justice last met with the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police and what issues were discussed. (S3O-3202)

6. Rob Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what measures it is taking to rehabilitate offenders before and after their release from HM Prison Inverness. (S3O-3224)

7. Tricia Marwick: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that licensing boards are doing enough to tackle the inappropriate advertising of alcohol at off-licence premises. (S3O-3228)

8. Ken Macintosh: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that fingerprint witness Allan Bayle should be called to give evidence before the McKie inquiry and if so whether his previous record in giving evidence in other cases should be made available. (S3O-3198)

9. Not Lodged

10. Nigel Don: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions have taken place regarding the integration of fire and ambulance services in rural communities. (S3O-3220)

2.55 pm Scottish Government Debate: Effective Public Services—

S3M-1849 Bruce Crawford: Effective Public Services—That the Parliament welcomes the opportunity to debate proposals to deliver better public services by reducing duplication, bureaucracy and overlaps in the public sector with the aim of achieving greater focus and alignment with the Purpose of Government and the outcomes set out in the national performance framework.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S3M-1849.2 Andy Kerr: Effective Public Services—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1849) in the name of Bruce Crawford, leave out from "with the aim" to end and insert "but recognises that public service cuts seen all over Scotland are undermining those very services and that the cuts being experienced are not the result of reducing duplication, bureaucracy and overlaps but rather a failure to invest by the Scottish Government."

S3M-1849.1 Derek Brownlee: Effective Public Services—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1849) in the name of Bruce Crawford, insert at end "believes that there is scope for continuous improvement in the design and delivery of public services, and rejects the notion that improvements in public services can only be achieved by increased levels of public spending."

S3M-1849.3 Robert Brown: Effective Public Services—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1849) in the name of Bruce Crawford, leave out from "opportunity" to end and insert "commitment from successive Scottish administrations to reduce waste, bureaucracy and duplication in Scotland’s public sector; notes with concern the current administration’s superficial approach, which appears to be driven by numerical and financial targets alone rather than principles of good governance, and the failure of the Scottish Government to consult properly with the interests affected by key decisions, and regrets that these decisions were taken without parliamentary approval."

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Debate on the subject of—

S3M-1651 Alison McInnes: RNIB Scotland’s Right to Read Campaign—That the Parliament welcomes the Right to Read campaign by RNIB Scotland for equal access to textbooks and other educational material for blind and visually impaired children; notes the excellent example of schools such as Craigiebarns Primary School in Dundee in ensuring that blind and visually impaired children are included in mainstream schooling; believes that a national transcription service should be established, building on the work done by RNIB, other organisations and local councils; acknowledges that such a service could also be of use to other children with additional support needs, and so believes that prompt action is needed to move forward with this agenda.

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