Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No. 131/2008: Thursday 18 September 2008
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Section A – Today’s Business

Meeting of the Parliament

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Scottish Government Debate: Hill Farms and Less Favoured Areas—

S3M-2553 Richard Lochhead: Hill Farms and Less Favoured Areas—That the Parliament recognises the valuable contribution made by farmers on Scotland’s hills and other remote areas to food production, environmental management and our rural economy; notes the publication of the Scottish Agricultural College’s report, Farming’s Retreat from the Hills, funded by the Scottish Government, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s report on its Inquiry into Scotland’s Hills and Islands as well as other recent publications highlighting the challenges and opportunities facing the sector, and welcomes the publication on 18 September 2008 of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme and its commitment to work in partnership with stakeholders to consider the range of relevant economic, social and environmental issues with the aim of securing a sustainable future for agriculture on our hills and in our more remote communities.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S3M-2553.2 Sarah Boyack: Hill Farms and Less Favoured Areas—As an amendment to motion (S3M-2553) in the name of Richard Lochhead, leave out from "and welcomes" to end and insert "notes the publication on 18 September 2008 of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme; calls on the Scottish Government to simplify and streamline the Rural Development Programme (RDP) application process and to clarify the decision-making process to ensure transparency, effectiveness and fairness in the distribution of RDP allocations; further calls on the Scottish Government to set targets for public sector food procurement that would deliver a significant percentage of locally sourced and fairly traded produce, and encourages stakeholders to work in partnership to consider the range of relevant economic, social and environmental issues with the aim of securing a sustainable future for agriculture on our hills and in our remote communities."

S3M-2553.1 John Scott: Hill Farms and Less Favoured Areas—As an amendment to motion (S3M-2553) in the name of Richard Lochhead, insert at end "notes the burden of increased costs for hill farmers and crofters, notably fertilisers, fuel and transport, coupled with the ongoing challenges of farming on some of the most disadvantaged land in Europe, and therefore agrees with the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s report in condemning the UK Government’s policy of ending direct support for Scottish producers after 2013."

S3M-2553.3 Liam McArthur: Hill Farms and Less Favoured Areas—As an amendment to motion (S3M-2553) in the name of Richard Lochhead, insert at end "notes with concern that the decline in livestock farming activity undermines food security efforts and is likely to impact negatively on the delivery of environmental benefits, and calls on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to alleviate the short-term cash flow problems faced by many Scottish farmers by ensuring that the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme payments for 2008 are issued before the end of October, without compromising the delivery of single farm payments, and taking steps to ensure that future payments are issued within the same calendar year."

11.40 am General Question Time—

1. Tricia Marwick: To ask the Scottish Executive what impact the rise in energy costs will have on fuel bills in Fife. (S3O-4245)

2. Jackson Carlaw: To ask the Scottish Executive when it next plans to meet representatives of British Energy. (S3O-4190)

3. Bob Doris: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with the Glasgow Bar Association about the new summary justice reforms. (S3O-4238)

4. Aileen Campbell: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it is taking to monitor the impact of the Post Office Network Change Programme. (S3O-4234)

5. Dave Thompson: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress has been made in reforming the structures and operation of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. (S3O-4253)

6. Jim Tolson: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with house building firms affected by the economic downturn. (S3O-4271)

7. Ted Brocklebank: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it can confirm that the new £27 million community hospital and health centre in St Andrews will not have accident and emergency provision. (S3O-4180)

8. Claire Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress is being made on improvements to the Balfarg and Cadham junctions on the A92. (S3O-4193)

9. Charlie Gordon: To ask the Scottish Executive what its position is on the recommendations in the recent Competition Commission report on BAA airports market investigation. (S3O-4203)

10. Jamie Stone: To ask the Scottish Executive how it will ensure that future tidal and wave power developments in the Pentland Firth will be not be impeded by Scottish Natural Heritage’s proposal to create an extended marine reserve off the north coast of Caithness. (S3O-4270)

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time—

1. Iain Gray: To ask the First Minister what engagements he has planned for the rest of the day. (S3F-1008)

2. Annabel Goldie: To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the Prime Minister. (S3F-1009)

3. Tavish Scott: To ask the First Minister what issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cabinet. (S3F-1010)

4. Tricia Marwick: To ask the First Minister what action the Scottish Government is taking to ensure that Scotland receives a full share of spending by the energy supply companies on improving domestic energy efficiency. (S3F-1018)

5. Lewis Macdonald: To ask the First Minister how many enforcement actions the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has taken resulting from sewage pollution of beaches since May 2007. (S3F-1021)

6. Murdo Fraser: To ask the First Minister whether, in light of recent court rulings, the Scottish Government will introduce legislation to enforce a class size limit of 18 in primaries one to three. (S3F-1011)

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Education and Lifelong Learning

1. Jeremy Purvis: To ask the Scottish Executive how many of the 3,599 targets, outcomes and indicators contained in the 32 local authority single outcome agreements commit to delivering class sizes in primaries 1, 2 and 3 to a maximum of 18 by 2011. (S3O-4266)

2. Nanette Milne: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it supports the teaching of pupils in P1 to P3 by probationary teachers. (S3O-4176)

3. Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to support school pupils who have English as an additional language. (S3O-4228)

4. John Farquhar Munro: To ask the Scottish Executive when the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning last met Highland Council to discuss its school building programme. (S3O-4263)

5. Michael McMahon: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress is being made on renewing school buildings. (S3O-4214)

6. Alison McInnes: To ask the Scottish Executive what consideration it has given to the introduction of a minimum income guarantee for students. (S3O-4262)

7. Elizabeth Smith: To ask the Scottish Executive what assessment it has made of the OECD report that states that the largest educational attainment gap in Scotland exists at P4 and P5. (S3O-4178)

8. John Wilson: To ask the Scottish Executive how many local authorities employ dedicated educational psychologists. (S3O-4257)

9. Nigel Don: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans are in place for schools to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. (S3O-4237)

10. Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it will take to ensure that pupils absent from exams due to illness have the right of appeal against grades given by the SQA. (S3O-4216)

Europe, External Affairs and Culture

1. Hugh O’Donnell: To ask the Scottish Executive what further discussions it has had with relevant bodies regarding the Lewis chessmen. (S3O-4264)

2. Rob Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps are being taken to secure paintings on loan to the National Galleries of Scotland for permanent display in the national collections. (S3O-4241)

3. David Stewart: To ask the Scottish Executive when it will publish the latest estimates it has received of the costs of establishing Creative Scotland. (S3O-4225)

4. Bill Aitken: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it anticipates difficulties with starting the recruitment process for the new board and chief executive of Creative Scotland in advance of the parliamentary process. (S3O-4185)

5. Not Lodged

6. Derek Brownlee: To ask the Scottish Executive what additional government support is planned for artists during the remainder of this session of the Parliament. (S3O-4183)

7. Robin Harper: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has given consideration to the consequences of the possible withdrawal of Edinburgh’s world heritage status. (S3O-4229)

8. Cathy Peattie: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions have taken place or are planned between the Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust and other traditional arts organisations. (S3O-4222)

9. Withdrawn

10. Johann Lamont: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has received a report in the last year that indicated that the cost of establishing Creative Scotland would be approximately £7 million. (S3O-4208)

2.55 pm Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee Debate: 6th Report 2008: Growing Pains - can we achieve a 50% growth in tourist revenue by 2015?—

S3M-2543 Iain Smith: Growing Pains - can we achieve a 50% growth in tourist revenue by 2015?—That the Parliament notes the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee’s 6th Report, 2008 (Session 3): Growing Pains - can we achieve a 50% growth in tourist revenue by 2015? (SP Paper 141).

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business:

Debate on the subject of—

S3M-1972 Michael Matheson: Cancer Poverty—That the Parliament recognises the wider social impact of dealing and living with a cancer diagnosis, including the significant financial consequences of the disease; is concerned that 90% of people affected by cancer in the United Kingdom experience a significant drop in income and an increase in daily living expenses as a direct result of their diagnosis; welcomes the work of Macmillan Cancer Support, in partnership with the regional cancer advisory groups and local government, in developing a network of cancer-aware benefits advisors in Falkirk and across Scotland; supports the embedding of referral to benefits and financial advice within routine NHS clinical practice, and recognises the need to address cancer poverty in the Better Cancer Care strategy and ensure that financial advice becomes an integral part of every Scot’s cancer journey.

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