Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No.182/2008: Thursday 11 December 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: ScotRail Franchise—

S3M-3075 Des McNulty: ScotRail Franchise—That the Parliament notes the Audit Scotland report on the extension of First ScotRail’s contract to 2014; expresses serious concern regarding the lack of consultation over the extension of this franchise and the failure of ministers to require a fully documented business case; notes the resignation of the former finance director of Transport Scotland; calls on the Scottish Government to cooperate with any Audit Committee investigation, and urges the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change to issue a statement to the Parliament should any investigation into the probity or governance within Transport Scotland make that necessary.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S3M-3075.3 Stewart Stevenson: ScotRail Franchise—As an amendment to motion (S3M-3075) in the name of Des McNulty, leave out from "expresses" to first "Transport Scotland".

S3M-3075.1 Alex Johnstone: ScotRail Franchise—As an amendment to motion (S3M-3075) in the name of Des McNulty, leave out from "expresses" to end and insert "notes from the report that the original contract, negotiated by the previous Labour-led Scottish administration, "did not specify the conditions under which an extension should be considered or the criteria to be used to decide whether an extension might be appropriate"; believes that practice and procedures for future contract management can be improved and notes the report’s recommendations for Transport Scotland; considers that, in light of the finding that "First ScotRail was performing above its punctuality and capacity improvements targets within its first year of operating" and "key aspects of the original franchise contract were no longer fit for purpose", the decision to extend the contract, inserted into the original contract under the previous Labour-led Scottish administration, was on balance justifiable."

S3M-3075.2 Alison McInnes: ScotRail Franchise—As an amendment to motion (S3M-3075) in the name of Des McNulty, insert at end "requires the Scottish Government to conduct the next steps of the franchise extension process with the greatest possible transparency, and therefore calls on the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change to bring before Parliament the draft proposals on how the £73.1 million accrued through the franchise extension will be reinvested to allow close scrutiny of the plans before any further funds are committed."

followed by Scottish Labour Party Business: Kinship Care—

S3M-3078 Rhona Brankin: Kinship Care—That the Parliament notes the commitment given by the First Minister on 27 September 2007 to provide allowances for kinship carers and ensure that funding would be brought forward to ensure that all kinship carers of looked-after children in Scotland were paid the recommended allowance for foster carers; further notes the commitment contained in the Scottish Government’s strategy, Getting it right for every child in kinship and foster care, to introduce a minimum national allowance of between £119 and £198 per week for kinship carers and the comments of the Minister for Children and Early Years in the subsequent debate on 5 December 2007 that he anticipated that payment of this allowance would begin in April 2008; is concerned that this has not materialised and that the vast majority of kinship carers are not in receipt of an allowance consistent with the promises made by both the Minister for Children and Early Years and the First Minister, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to honour in full its pledge to Scotland’s kinship carers and to properly recognise the vital role that kinship carers play in looking after some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendment

S3M-3078.1 Adam Ingram: Kinship Care—As an amendment to motion (S3M-3078) in the name of Rhona Brankin, leave out from "to provide" to end and insert "to kinship carers; notes the increase of over 100% of looked-after children since 2000 who live with a kinship carer; recognises the crucial role that these carers play in supporting our most vulnerable children and that they should be supported financially at an equivalent level to foster carers; welcomes work by local authorities towards providing financial support to approved kinship carers of looked-after children using resources provided by central government and further welcomes the work of COSLA and the Association of Directors of Social Work to support the efforts of all local authorities to achieve this; calls on the Scottish Government to work constructively with the UK Government to resolve issues arising out of the interface with United Kingdom benefits legislation, and in this context notes the willingness of United Kingdom ministers to address anomalies in benefits entitlement for kinship carers."

11.40 am General Question Time—

1. Bill Wilson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will make representations at European level in favour of extending to the Scots language the provisions of Part III of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages that apply to the Welsh, Gaelic and Irish languages. (S3O-5229)

2. Bill Kidd: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with banks over any reluctance to cooperate with small innovative companies in receipt of government funding that are unable to gain match funding despite the Scottish Government guaranteeing 75% of any loan, via the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme. (S3O-5218)

3. Des McNulty: To ask the Scottish Executive what assistance it will give to St Margaret of Scotland Hospice to allow it to continue to provide services to palliative and continuing care patients. (S3O-5193)

4. Aileen Campbell: To ask the Scottish Executive what importance it attaches to the role of rural schools. (S3O-5208)

5. Robert Brown: To ask the Scottish Executive what its target number of teachers is for 2008-09 and 2009-10. (S3O-5232)

6. Duncan McNeil: To ask the Scottish Executive what action is being taken to meet the increasing demand for money advice and advocacy services. (S3O-5191)

7. Robin Harper: To ask the Scottish Executive what additional health and wellbeing measures it is considering, as alternatives to GDP, to establish the performance of its economic policies. (S3O-5162)

8. Elizabeth Smith: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to review the assessment of teaching performance in schools. (S3O-5158)

9. Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive what the average waiting time for installation of central heating in Dumfries and Galloway is under its central heating programme. (S3O-5195)

10. Nigel Don: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it is taking to support community media projects. (S3O-5211)

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-1270)

2. Annabel Goldie: To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the Prime Minister. (S3F-1271)

3. Tavish Scott: To ask the First Minister what issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cabinet. (S3F-1272)

4. Dave Thompson: To ask the First Minister what action the Scottish Government is taking to combat drink driving over the festive period. (S3F-1276)

5. Richard Baker: To ask the First Minister how the Scottish Government will ensure that the Scottish Police Services Authority and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency are as effective as possible in fighting crime and supporting local police forces. (S3F-1291)

6. John Scott: To ask the First Minister what discussions the Scottish Government has had with the Food Standards Agency concerning supplies of pork to consumers. (S3F-1273)

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Justice and Law Officers

1. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress has been made in discussions on the retention and distribution of fiscal fine monies. (S3O-5231)

2. Mike Rumbles: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it agrees with Grampian’s chief constable that the proposed closure of Aberdeen’s forensic laboratory and fingerprint service will not lead to an improved service to Grampian Police. (S3O-5241)

3. Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Scottish Executive when it last met the chief constable of Strathclyde Police and what matters were discussed. (S3O-5180)

4. Willie Coffey: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will bring forward proposals to revise the procedures for registering a non domino disposition of property. (S3O-5209)

5. Claire Baker: To ask the Scottish Executive when funding for drug courts is due to end and when a decision will be made on whether it will be extended. (S3O-5166)

6. Ms Wendy Alexander: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will ensure that the police or prosecuting authorities automatically notify local licensing boards of any prosecutions concerning the sale of alcohol to under-18s. (S3O-5163)

7. Christine Grahame: To ask the Scottish Executive when a decision will be taken on whether the death of Irene Hogg, former Headteacher of Glendinning Terrace Primary in Galashiels, should be the subject of a fatal accident inquiry. (S3O-5216)

8. Johann Lamont: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it is taking to tackle the rising incidence of domestic abuse. (S3O-5183)

9. George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive when ministers next intend to meet with Mr Osama Saeed or other representatives of the Scottish Islamic Foundation and what subjects are likely to be discussed. (S3O-5175)

10. Jamie McGrigor: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will provide an update on how the new liquor licensing laws are affecting businesses. (S3O-5159)

Rural Affairs and the Environment

1. Christina McKelvie: To ask the Scottish Executive what progress it has made in relation to preventing the poisoning of raptors. (S3O-5222)

2. Patrick Harvie: To ask the Scottish Executive how it responds to criticism contained in the Sustainable Development Commission’s second assessment report. (S3O-5161)

3. Tom McCabe: To ask the Scottish Executive when it last met the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and what issues were discussed. (S3O-5187)

4. Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with forestry organisations on the future management and financing of the forest industry. (S3O-5198)

5. Tricia Marwick: To ask the Scottish Executive what assistance is provided to environmental projects in Fife. (S3O-5219)

6. Hugh Henry: To ask the Scottish Executive what the impact of the current economic situation is on meeting recycling targets. (S3O-5179)

7. Karen Whitefield: To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has for the future of forestry. (S3O-5202)

8. Withdrawn

9. Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Scottish Executive what mechanisms are in place to assist in the development of long distance footpaths. (S3O-5247)

10. Liam McArthur: To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with Orkney Islands Council, the Scottish Crofting Foundation and the NFU Scotland regarding the impact on small farmers in the crofting counties of losing access to the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grants Scheme and what views were expressed during discussions. (S3O-5235)

2.55 pm Ministerial Statement: Local Government Finance Settlement 2009-10

followed by Scottish Government Debate: Local Government Finance Settlement 2009-10

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business:

Debate on the subject of—

S3M-2991 Patrick Harvie: Communities Leading on Climate Change—That the Parliament congratulates the community groups around Scotland, such as the Toryglen Gardening Club in Glasgow, that have made successful applications to the Climate Challenge Fund; notes that the fund makes available £27.4 million over three years to support community-led efforts to make serious carbon reductions across Scotland; believes that Scotland’s diverse communities can play an important role in carbon innovation, and believes that projects supported by the fund can also help build community cohesion, tackle social exclusion and build sustainable local economies.

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