Motions supported by Marlyn Glen in the Scottish Parliament

March 2011

May Day

That the Parliament recognises the importance of the May Day bank holiday, which was introduced by the Labour Secretary of State for Employment, Michael Foot, in 1978 in honour of organised labour and the right to strike; understands that 1 May is celebrated as a holiday in over 100 countries around the world and is synonymous with International Workers' Day; considers that May Day has become an important international celebration of the social and economic achievements of the labour and trade union movement; is concerned therefore by reports that the UK Government is considering removing the 1 May bank holiday in favour of a new UK Day in October; understands that Scotland currently has only nine public holidays compared with the European Union average of 12 per year, and considers that any new public holiday should be an additional one and not a replacement for a traditional and internationally recognised celebration of working people.

 

Insulin Pumps

That the Parliament regrets the loss of potential savings opportunities of £278,000 in the procurement of insulin pumps through what appears to be mainland NHS boards, excluding Ayrshire and Arran, disregarding the guidance of NHS National Services Scotland’s National Procurement Division’s guidance on the preferred ranked supplier; considers that the division undertook an extensive technical and clinical assessment of the pumps prior to ranking preferred suppliers; calls for an explanation of why the mainland NHS boards seem to have failed to follow procurement guidance; urges the Scottish Executive to strengthen the requirement of NHS boards to follow national procurement guidance; is of the view that the Scottish Diabetes Action Plan sets out too modest targets for widening access to insulin pump therapy and understands that several boards have predicated their plans to widen access on expected procurement savings; believes that those NHS boards failing to follow procurement guidance have denied pumps to people on waiting lists because expected savings did not materialise; is concerned about what it believes to be the deteriorating position on widening access to pump therapy for adults in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area and calls on NHS Highland to reconsider its decision not to introduce a paediatric pump service; considers that Scotland has the second highest prevalence of type 1 diabetes in Europe but the lowest pump provision, and urges the Scottish Executive to challenge NHS boards to improve their record on widening access to insulin pump provision.

 

 

Edinburgh Fair Trade Awards

That the Parliament congratulates the winners of the 2011 Edinburgh Lord Provost Fair Trade Awards, presented to local cafes and eateries for commitment to ethical and fair trade products; recognises Yum Cafe, Fair Trade Cafe of Edinburgh University Chaplaincy, Wardie Parish Church, and Equal Exchange for what it considers to be their well-deserved awards, and commends all such initiatives that encourage fair and responsible trade in Scotland and abroad.

 

 

 

Centenary of International Women’s Day

That the Parliament welcomes the many events being organised throughout the world to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March 2011, including the event in the Parliament on Saturday 5 March, celebrating A Century of Aspirations, Achievement and Advancement; notes that the first International Women’s Day was held on 19 March 1911, with over a million women and men attending rallies campaigning for an end to discrimination and for women’s rights to vote, hold office, work and training; notes also the publication in 1911 of Bread and Roses, which has become an anthem for the international women’s movement; considers that there are still many aspects of women’s rights, representation and welfare that need to be addressed through a gendered policy approach, including the gender pay gap, the underrepresentation of women in senior positions in the public and private sectors and as elected representatives, and with regard to the provision of violence-against-women support services, and reaffirms its support for International Women’s Day and its commitment to tackling discrimination, implementing the gender equality duty and securing equality for women throughout Scottish society.

 

Celebrating Climate Change Week, 21 to 27 March 2011

That the Parliament welcomes the inaugural Climate Week, which will run from 21 to 27 March 2011; notes that the campaign seeks to encourage a week of events across the United Kingdom to focus attention on the challenges of climate change, to share ideas on how to tackle it and to inspire action across a range of sectors; further notes the campaign’s emphasis on encouraging change through organisations and networks that people are involved with, including workplaces, schools and community groups, to ensure maximum impact for the campaign; agrees with the campaign’s view that there is no universal solution for combating climate change and that solutions can involve changes in every area of our daily lives; further notes that the campaign has gathered support from individuals and organisations representing a broad range of sectors, including political, voluntary, education, business, cultural and sporting, religious and scientific, and encourages organisations and groups across Scotland to get involved in Climate Week and host events.

 

Fairtrade Fortnight

That the Parliament welcomes Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 28 February to 13 March 2011; applauds the efforts of church groups, charities, businesses, schools and individuals in promoting the benefits of fair trade in Scotland; believes that the fair trade movement has made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people and communities across the globe; considers that the co-operative movement has played a pioneering role in the advancement of fair trade; further considers that the fair trade concept is based on traditional co-operative principles of community ownership, concern for communities and democratic membership control; notes that estimated sales of fair trade products across the United Kingdom rose by 40% last year to more than £1 billion; considers that the Scottish Fair Trade Forum (SFTF), established in January 2007, is a continuing success, and encourages schools, local authorities, further and higher education establishments and businesses to sign up to the SFTF’s Countdown Campaign, which will feature a year of events building up to 2012 when the forum will submit Scotland’s bid to become a Fair Trade Nation.

 

February 2011

Celebrating Climate Change Week , 21 to 27 March 2011

That the Parliament welcomes the inaugural Climate Week, which will run from 21 to 27 March 2011; notes that the campaign seeks to encourage a week of events across the United Kingdom to focus attention on the challenges of climate change, to share ideas on how to tackle it and to inspire action across a range of sectors; further notes the campaign’s emphasis on encouraging change through organisations and networks that people are involved with, including workplaces, schools and community groups, to ensure maximum impact for the campaign; agrees with the campaign’s view that there is no universal solution for combating climate change and that solutions can involve changes in every area of our daily lives; further notes that the campaign has gathered support from individuals and organisations representing a broad range of sectors, including political, voluntary, education, business, cultural and sporting, religious and scientific, and encourages organisations and groups across Scotland to get involved in Climate Week and host events.

 

"I’m aware" for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month 2011

That the Parliament notes that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Scottish men, with 2,700 diagnoses every year and 19,000 Scots currently living with the disease; welcomes the recent launch of The Prostate Cancer Charity Scotland and wishes the charity, its 40 trained volunteers and seven support groups every success in striving for a Scotland where life is no longer limited by prostate cancer; further welcomes news that Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (PCAM) is to take place during March 2011, and gets behind the aims and activities of PCAM to ensure that, come April 2011, an ever increasing number of Scots are able to declare "I'm Aware."


Who We Are, Lochgelly

That the Parliament congratulates the Fife members of the Children’s Parliament for what it considers their successful Who We Are project, which was recently showcased in the Scottish Parliament; recognises the hard work and effort of the pupils that went into creating their papier-mâché models showing how they view themselves in 20 years’ time; thanks the staff of the Children’s Parliament who organised this project; considers that they work tirelessly to help Scottish children realise their potential, and hopes that the work of the Children’s Parliament can continue long into the future.

 

Scottish Sensory Centre

That the Parliament expresses regret at the recent decision to cease funding for the Scottish Sensory Centre (SSC) at the University of Edinburgh as of 31 March 2011; places on record its appreciation for the work of the SSC since the early 1990s in delivering training and promoting innovative practice in the specialist training of teachers of deaf children, visually impaired children and deafblind children; is concerned at the apparent lack of consultation on the decision with the SSC and wider stakeholders, and calls on the Scottish Government to confirm its future plans for the ongoing continuing professional development and mandatory training programmes for specialist teachers of sensory-impaired children in Scotland as a matter of urgency.

 

Sign-VRS

That the Parliament welcomes the development by the social enterprise company, Sign-VRS, of a new video relay service that enables Deaf people to call anyone using the service's BSL interpreters to translate the call; notes that Sign-VRS is the first dedicated video relay service in Scotland; further notes that Sign-VRS uses Sign-now.com technology, which is, uniquely in the United Kingdom, owned and managed by Deaf people, and, considers that the Scottish Government should support the wider use of this technology.

 

 

Support for the Libyan people

That the Parliament supports the citizens of Libya in what it considers their brave fight for freedom; calls on the Scottish and UK governments to condemn unequivocally Muammar Gaddafi for the reported brutal murder of hundreds of unarmed protesters in Libya; recognises and applauds those sections of the Libyan armed forces who, in an echo of what it sees as the noble and uplifting scenes in neighbouring Egypt, have defected from the Libyan regime to join the protesters, and further calls on the international community to support the Libyan people in their struggle for democracy and peace.

 

Missing People’s Missing Rights

That the Parliament welcomes the Missing People’s Missing Rights campaign, which offers a lifeline to those who run away and go missing each year and provides support for those left behind; notes that the campaign’s aims seek to improve how families of missing people are supported following a disappearance; further notes that the Missing People charity provides its services in Scotland with the support of the People’s Postcode Lottery; considers this to be an important issue, and commends the two organisations for working together to tackle it.

 

Congratulating a Friend of Nuclear Disarmament in Scotland and the World

That the Parliament congratulates the Hon. Douglas Roche O.C. on his nomination for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for his lifelong devotion to the cause of disarmament, notably nuclear disarmament; commends his commitment to nuclear disarmament through his role as founder or co-founder of the Middle Powers Initiative, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Parliamentarians for Global Action, as well as his long-time friendship and commitment in support of the disarmament cause in Scotland, and welcomes his nomination for the award by the International Peace Bureau.

 

School Clothing Grant Axed

That the Parliament appreciates what it sees as the considerable effort put into producing the report of the short-life working group on the review of school meal and school clothing grant provision across Scotland; is concerned that the final report was completed in March 2009 but not published until January 2011, some 22 months later; notes the main recommendations that the Scottish Government and COSLA should produce guidance for local authorities on the school clothing grant and that the minimum level should rise to £70 per pupil per annum; notes further that councils are under a statutory duty in terms of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 to make clothing grant provision to eligible parents; is aware of the value of the grant to hard-pressed parents, and regrets that the Scottish Ministers appear to have pigeonholed the report without any proposals for present or future action on it.

 

Quarriers 140 Years On

That the Parliament notes that 2011 is the 140th anniversary of the creation of Quarriers Village in Renfrewshire by the Greenock-born Glasgow shoemaker, William Quarrier; considers that Quarriers as a community gave welcome sanctuary down the years to thousands of children rescued from the horrible slums of Glasgow and other children living in dire poverty and now, as the Scotland-based charity Quarriers, by way of its dedicated, professional employees, provides care and support for children and adults with numerous mental and physical impairments and through social inclusion throughout Scotland and south of the border; offers sincere thanks and compliments to all at Quarriers, and hopes that what it considers their remarkable and compassionate service to those in need is given the recognition and financial support that they so manifestly deserve in the years to come.

 

Congratulations to Tillydrone Vision

That the Parliament congratulates Tillydrone Vision on the successful delivery of a tractor to the community of Bezallel in Uganda and on the £10,000 that was raised to build a compound wall to keep the children safe; acknowledges the efforts of the Tillydrone community in raising money for the people of Bezallel, which it believes to be a fantastic example of international solidarity between disadvantaged communities, and wishes Tillydrone Vision every success in its efforts.

 

Supporting Rape Survivors

That the Parliament is gravely concerned that the crime of rape continues to be underreported; believes that no woman is ever to blame for being raped, and recognises the need to change public attitudes to rape to ensure that survivors feel able to report or speak out about being raped without the fear of being blamed or disbelieved.

 

Tobacco and Alcohol in Scotland

That the Parliament acknowledges the damaging impact to Scotland’s public health caused by tobacco and alcohol in society; is aware of the devastating health and social impact that both substances can cause; recognises the huge cost to Scotland in dealing with both tobacco and alcohol; believes that both sectors can learn from each other in tackling the health problems that these substances cause; further believes that the first joint conference on the issue organised by ASH Scotland, Alcohol Focus Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems will help explore the issues surrounding Scotland’s use of tobacco and alcohol, and urges the Scottish Government to consider any recommendations emanating from the conference that seek to reduce the harmful impact of tobacco and alcohol in Scotland.

Congratulations to the Egyptian People

That the Parliament congratulates the Egyptian people on what it sees as their bravery in bringing an end to the 30-year Mubarak regime and their fight for democracy, freedom of expression and an improvement to their daily life and calls on Britain and the international community to support the transition to a parliamentary democracy that reflects the true wishes of the Egyptian people and provide any cooperation needed to investigate the vast wealth reported to have been acquired by Hosni Mubarak and his family during his reign.

 

Women in Employment

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Women’s Convention for organising the conference, Women in Employment: What's It Worth?, in Glasgow on 5 February 2011; notes that the conference looked at and discussed barriers to women in employment and how to overcome these; welcomes the feedback from the workshops held at the conference, which highlighted the difficulties that women face in this area, and looks forward to equality in the workplace and beyond.

 

First Female Premier of Tasmania

That the Parliament sends its warmest congratulations to Lara Giddings who, in the first session, worked as a parliamentary research officer for the member for Dunfermline East, Helen Eadie, and who was last month elected as the first female Premier of Tasmania, having previously been the youngest woman elected to an Australian parliament at the age of 23 years; notes that Giddings was elected as Australian Labor Party deputy leader and sworn in as deputy premier, prior to which she worked for the Tasmanian premier as a speech writer and media assistant, and also notes that, from 2004 to 2006, Giddings was Minister for Economic Development and Minister for the Arts and, following the 2006 election, she was assigned the role of Minister for Health and Human Services.

 

The Future of the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music

That the Parliament notes with concern the potential removal of funding by Highland Council from the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music based at Plockton High School; considers that this national centre of excellence is widely acclaimed to be an outstanding success, offering opportunities to talented young traditional musicians to develop their skills and potential while following a normal school curriculum; notes the success of the centre and of many former pupils who it considers are making a significant contribution to the traditional music scene in Scotland and the success of a number of individual pupils who have won acclamation as young musicians of the year; further understands that Highland Council previously received a specific addition to its grant aid to provide this centre and that additional funding was rolled into its annual grant when ring-fenced funding ended; urges Highland Council to reconsider any action that would threaten the future of the national centre and further recruitment of young people with particular potential in the field of traditional music, and expresses a strong desire to see the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music continue what is seen as its outstanding work in making a major contribution to enriching this dimension of Scottish cultural life.

 

30th. Anniversary of the Lee Jeans sit-in

That the Parliament remembers the 240 women who staged what it sees as a historic sit-in at the Lee Jeans factory in Greenock 30 years ago, beginning on 5 February 1981; notes that the workers barricaded themselves into the canteen for seven months in protest at the decision to close the factory; salutes the workers for capturing the imagination of the whole country and achieving a landmark victory against a US multinational; wishes the former convener, Helen Monaghan, and machinists, Margaret Wallace and Catherine Robertson, well for the 30th anniversary reunion event that they have organised, and considers the Lee Jeans sit-in to be an inspiration to women workers all over the world.

 

Being Young, being heard, Citizens Advice Bureau

That the Parliament welcomes Citizens Advice Scotland’s (CAS) most recent research report, Being Young Being Heard, outlining the impact of the recession on young people living in Scotland; commends CAS for undertaking what it considers to be this important piece of research on the problems faced by young people; notes that young people in Scotland are having to cope with serious issues such as debt and unemployment; is concerned that young people are three times more likely to be unemployed compared with the rest of the working-age population; is particularly concerned that during the recession East Lothian saw an increase of 172% in young people claiming Jobseekers Allowance, the largest increase in Scotland; is further concerned that the average debt held by young Citizens Advice Bureaux clients in Scotland is £10,000 and that these debt problems are often instigated by unemployment and in-work problems faced by young people; considers there to be an urgent need for programmes that assist young people with their problems, and would welcome new and improved policies and practices that benefit young people across Scotland.

 

University of the Highlands and Islands Becomes Scotland’s Newest University

That the Parliament welcomes the achievement of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) in becoming Scotland’s newest university, which has over 8,000 students and more than 100 courses specifically tailored for the needs of the Highlands and Islands region and beyond; notes that this landmark achievement of university title by UHI is the realisation of a long-time ambition for the region to have its own university to support economic development and help sustain rural and island communities; believes that, as a university, UHI will benefit the region by attracting more young people and also recruit students from beyond the Highlands and Islands region; congratulates the staff, students and supporters who have contributed to this achievement, and wishes UHI every success for the future.

 

Congratulations to Eileen McCallum

That the Parliament congratulates Eileen McCallum on winning the Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year Award; acknowledges her determination in fighting for better services for her grandsons with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and the 6,000 people with muscle disease across Scotland; considers that she has shown commitment and enthusiasm in combining care for her grandsons, a successful acting career, influential parliamentary campaigning work and active fundraising; notes her longstanding support for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and the key evidence that she provided for the inquiry into specialist care conducted by the Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on Muscular Dystrophy, which resulted in the publication of the recommendations in The Mackie Report: Access to specialist neuromuscular care and social care in Scotland, and applauds all the women shortlisted for the Scotswoman of the Year Award.

 

 

International Year of Chemistry

That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the United Nations in recognising 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry (IYC), which was launched at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on 27 January; notes that the IYC is a UN-approved initiative with the support of chemical societies and other organisations around the world; notes that the IYC aims to increase the public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs, to engage young people in chemistry and to generate enthusiasm for chemistry's creative future, and welcomes the constructive role that it considers the society continues to play in the fulfilment of its charitable aims to serve the public interest by consistently strengthening the relations between science and parliamentarians, including its plan to hold a science hustings meeting in advance of the 2011 Scottish Parliament election.

 

January 2011

An Incredible Year for Dundee Rep ( Motion proposed by Marlyn Glen )

That the Parliament welcomes the achievements of Dundee Rep Theatre over the past year and its efforts to attract new audiences; notes that Dundee Rep has just launched its new season, including the premiere of two new works by the Scottish Dance Theatre; recognises that Dundee Rep has won eight awards and received 27 nominations over the past three years; further notes Dundee Rep’s partnership with Dundee Contemporary Arts to establish the Creative Identities Project, bringing opportunities for young people from Dundee and Angus to access the arts, and applauds the contribution that the Dundee Rep has made to promoting Dundee as a centre for the arts.

 

Central FM

That the Parliament congratulates Central FM on being chosen as the top small Scottish radio station in the prestigious Sony Radio Awards; considers that the station provides excellent news coverage and a high standard of entertainment and shows a commitment to local communities, and wishes the station success in the UK finals of this category, which is for stations with an adult listenership of under 300,000.

 

50 Nurses and Midwives Cut at the Vale Hospital

That the Parliament is disappointed that 50 nursing and midwifery jobs have been cut at the Vale of Leven Hospital since 2007; believes that the Vision for the Vale has cut jobs, reduced bed numbers, closed wards, removed emergency consultant cover and transferred a number of services across to the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) in Paisley; understands that there is a growing desire for a north-of-the-river solution, which would see services currently delivered at the RAH being transferred to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank, only minutes away from the Vale of Leven Hospital, and regrets that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing has previously rejected this option.

 

2010 Voscars, Scotland at its Best

That the Parliament congratulates the winners and nominees of the 2010 ProjectScotland Voscar awards, which were presented on Thursday 20 January 2011; recognises the success of ProjectScotland in providing over 3,500 developmental opportunities for young people across Scotland and over 2.4 million volunteering hours to communities across the country; acknowledges the need to ensure that opportunities are made available for young people especially in the current economic climate, and wishes all ProjectScotland volunteers, past and present, continued success in the years ahead.

 

Breast at its best

That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Government's new strategy to improve maternal and infant nutrition; recognises that the Scottish Government has adopted as its policy the World Health Organisation’s guidance recommending exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life; believes that the benefits of breastfeeding are well documented for both mother and child and that breast milk provides babies with the essential nutrients that they need for healthy development and contains antibodies that help protect from common childhood illnesses; is concerned that there has been negative publicity surrounding a recent report in the British Medical Journal questioning the best time to introduce solid foods into a baby's diet; understands that Baby Milk Action states on its website that three of the authors of the report in question receive funding from the baby food industry; therefore welcomes the new advertising campaign to promote the benefits of breastfeeding, and urges NHS Lanarkshire to develop a fresh action plan to take forward the implementation of the strategy.

 

30th. anniversary of the twinning of Nablus and Dundee

That the Parliament notes the 30th anniversary of the twinning of Nablus in Palestine and Dundee; congratulates Fraser Patrick, the convener of the Dundee Nablus Twinning Association, and the Palestinian students, Rami Issa and Rafiq Zein Eddin, who have been working with the twinning association to stage events commemorating the 30th anniversary of the link with the West Bank city, and considers that those involved in the anniversary celebrations have been actively strengthening the ties between Dundee and Nablus and continuing the tradition of friendship and understanding between the people of Nablus and the people of Dundee.

 

There is a better way

That the Parliament commends the STUC on the launch of its There is a Better Way campaign; believes that deep, savage and immediate cuts are neither unavoidable nor inevitable and that they would actually threaten economic recovery across Scotland and in areas such as Coatbridge and Chryston; further believes that a sensible and sustainable response to the current economic crisis is to promote growth and ensure fairness through creating jobs and protecting services, through fair taxation and a living wage, and *would welcome widespread support for the STUC campaign.

 

UK Government Attacks Workers’ Rights

That the Parliament notes with concern recent proposals by the UK Government to amend employment legislation including an increase in the length of service needed to claim unfair dismissal from one to two years and the proposed introduction of a fee for starting employment tribunal claims; believes that such proposals will encourage unscrupulous employment practices in Scotland; further believes that business and government should make investment in the skills and training of their workforce a priority rather than make workers increasingly vulnerable to exploitation; dismisses anecdotal claims that tribunals are open to exploitation by vexatious complainants, and considers these proposals to be regressive and to amount to a Thatcherite attack on workers’ rights.

Congratulations to Anne Marie Carrie, New Barnardo’s UK Chief Executive

That the Parliament congratulates Anne Marie Carrie on her appointment to the post of Barnardo’s UK chief executive; notes her long career as a public servant in Scotland, including roles as a community centre manager in Glasgow, teacher in West Lothian, further education lecturer in Edinburgh and director of education and children's services in East Lothian; notes her call on her first day in office for greater government action to tackle child sexual exploitation; notes the evidence from Barnardo’s Scotland that the age of young victims of sexual exploitation appears to be dropping and that exploitation is becoming more organised; understands that Vulnerable Children Guidance Pack: Sexual Exploitation Through Prostitution, published by the Scottish Executive in 2003 is the most recent set of Scottish guidance for professionals focusing on sexual exploitation; notes the commitment in the guidance to commissioning research on the nature and scope of the problem in Scotland; believes that sexual exploitation of children is a horrific form of abuse and that such abuse is not confined to any one area or racial group; believes that the Scottish Government should make good the commitment made in 2003 to commission research into the nature and scale of child sexual exploitation, and further believes that the Scottish guidance on child sexual exploitation should be revised and refreshed to take account of the changes, particularly in internet use, since its publication in 2003.

 

70th Anniversary of the Clydebank Blitz

 

That the Parliament notes that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Clydebank Blitz; recognises that the destruction inflicted by aerial bombardment on 13 and 14 March 1941 in Clydebank was proportionately the worst suffered in any part of the United Kingdom, leaving only seven houses undamaged in the town and over 48,000 people homeless; mourns the hundreds of people who lost their lives, along with those who were seriously injured; praises the heroism of service personnel, health and local authority workers and volunteers in Clydebank at the time of the Blitz; welcomes the efforts of West Dunbartonshire Council, local church congregations and other local groups to ensure that the anniversary is recognised in an appropriate fashion; acknowledges the terrible price paid by Clydebank, and considers there to be a need to invest in the regeneration of the town that was affected not only by the Blitz but also by the collapse of the shipbuilding and engineering industries on which the economy of the town was so dependent.

 

Scottish Parliament V&A at Dundee Exhibition

That the Parliament welcomes the V&A at Dundee exhibition, which will be in the Main Hall from 17 to 27 January 2011; notes that the exhibition will showcase the six designs, which it considers were all outstanding, that were shortlisted for the V&A at Dundee building competition, including the winning submission from Kengo Kuma and Associates; further welcomes the £5 million of funding committed by the Scottish Government for the building of the V&A; congratulates the project partners, Dundee City Council, the universities of Dundee and Abertay Dundee, Scottish Enterprise and the V&A; believes that the partners have all been vital in ensuring that the project becomes a reality; notes that the project, expected to be completed in 2014, will create 900 jobs and bring an estimated 130,000 extra visitors to Dundee each year, and further notes that the museum will provide access to what it believes will be high-quality exhibitions for residents in Dundee and across Scotland by linking up with cultural centres in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, making Scotland a global cultural destination.

 

Holocaust Memorial Day 2011

That the Parliament notes that, on Thursday 27 January 2011, communities across Scotland will mark Holocaust Memorial Day; notes that this will be the 66th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of one of the largest mass murders in human history, where over one million men, women and children were killed; further notes that the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 is Untold Stories; congratulates the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for its work in supporting events across the country to mark the day; values the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project, which gives two post-16-year-old students from every school and college in Scotland the chance to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau; applauds James Clements and Mimi Evans-Agnew, two students from Hyndland Secondary School in Glasgow, on delivering the Parliament’s Time for Reflection message based on their experiences of the project; commends what it sees as the great contribution to Scotland by Holocaust survivors, and encourages all members to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day and to commit to ensuring that racism and prejudice are never again allowed to gain a foothold in society.

Opposing the Deskilling of Teaching in Renfrewshire

That the Parliament condemns Renfrewshire Council for having cut teacher numbers by 244 since the current leadership came to power in 2007, proportionately more than any other local authority in Scotland; notes Renfrewshire’s plans to axe the number of classroom assistants by 70 in the coming financial year; further condemns the authority’s plans to cut, from August 2011, the teaching time in every Renfrewshire Primary School by 10% and to axe the number of primary teachers by more than 60 and replace them with 120 part-time sessional workers; notes that the sessional workers will be paid from funding from the European Social Fund of £14 per hour inclusive of on-costs compared with £29.58 per hour for a qualified teacher; understands that this will mean that all Renfrewshire primary pupils will, in future, be given lessons by part-time non-teachers for one tenth of the school week; deplores what it considers to be the lack of consultation with parents, teachers or teaching unions; notes the absence of both a published training programme for the sessional workers and any published safeguards for teaching quality, discipline or behaviour when they take charge later this year; calls on Renfrewshire Council's education board to reject what are believed to be misguided plans when it meets on 13 January 2011, and supports all those parents and others who are campaigning locally against what it sees as a schooling-on-the-cheap plan.

 

England Ashes Win

That the Parliament congratulates the England cricket team on its emphatic Ashes series win; acknowledges the record-breaking performances of the team; notes that cricket participation in Scotland continues to rise, particularly among younger players, with 468 schools competing in Cricket Scotland’s 2010 school cup tournaments, and acknowledges the role that cricket can play in creating a healthier Scotland and promoting community relations.

 

The 40th. Anniversary of the Ibrox Stadium Disaster

That the Parliament remembers the 66 football supporters who died in the Ibrox Stadium disaster on 2 January 1971; conveys its sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives on that day; notes that a memorial service will be held to mark the 40th anniversary at the stadium on 3 January 2011 and that the former Rangers and Celtic captains, John Greig and Billy McNeill, will lead out the teams before the traditional New Year's Old Firm game as a mark of respect, and looks forward to both clubs and their supporters putting sporting rivalries to one side and coming together to remember those who died that day.

 

Extrajudicial , Summary and Arbritrary Executions on grounds of Sexual Orientation

That the Parliament condemns the decision on 16 November 2010 by the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee of the United Nations to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions; recognises that in many countries lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, as well as transgender people, remain at risk of execution as a result of prejudiced laws and public attitudes; congratulates the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and many European countries for voting to retain the reference to sexual orientation; welcomes the commitment of Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, to restore this reference when the resolution is discussed by the General Assembly, and urges the global community, in opposing all extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, to recognise that prejudice on grounds of both sexual orientation and transgender identity are being used as justification for what it sees as offensive and unacceptable actions.

 

Coalition Attack on Disabled People

That the Parliament condemns the decision by the UK Government to withdraw the Independent Living Fund (ILF); understands that the UK Government plans to phase out the £359 million fund by 2015; notes that the Independent Living Fund supports more than 21,000 severely disabled people by providing, on average, £300 a week; regrets that the UK Government will now not accept any new applications to the ILF; welcomes the comments by Lord Morris, the first person to occupy the post of Minister for Disabled People, who stated that this move would not save money; regards the withdrawal of ILF as an attack on disabled people, and calls on the UK Government to change its mind and continue the ILF.

 

Royal Blind, National Braille Week 2011

That the Parliament celebrates National Braille Week 2011, which takes place from 4 to 10 January; congratulates Royal Blind on its National Braille Week art exhibition, being held at the Royal Bank of Scotland branch at 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, which showcases visually impaired artists’ work and celebrates the importance of Braille; considers that blind and visually impaired people play an active and important role in society and contribute positively in all walks of life; further considers that the ability to read and write in Braille opens the door to literacy, intellectual freedom and independence; supports Royal Blind’s call for a greater recognition of Braille as essential to enabling opportunity, equality and access for all, and congratulates Royal Blind for the role that it plays in improving the lives of visually impaired and blind people and in providing core services, including the work of the Scottish Braille Press.

 

Glencraft’s Royal Warrant

That the Parliament congratulates the management and staff of Glencraft on the reinstatement of its royal warrant and its contract to supply beds to the Royal Family for three years; acknowledges the hard work of the staff, board and supporters of Glencraft in securing what it considers to be viable future business, and looks forward to what it believes will be increasing demand for high quality Glencraft furniture in Aberdeen and across Scotland in the years to come.

 

The Historic Reopening of the Airdire to Bathgate Rail Link

That the Parliament warmly welcomes the completion of the Airdrie to Bathgate rail link, the longest passenger route to be opened in Scotland for more than 100 years; commends the efforts of all involved in this project, in particular Network Rail, for delivering the project on time and on budget and the previous administration for what it considers was its vision; further notes what it believes will be the significant economic, environmental and social benefits that the line will bring for communities along the route in wider West Lothian, North Lanarkshire and across Scotland, and praises the local communities along the route for what it considers was their patience during the construction of the new line.

 

Greight Facilities Grants

That the Parliament celebrates the contribution of the Scottish Government’s Freight Facilities Grants (FFG) in moving freight to rail and sea, and the contribution that this makes to reducing carbon emissions and congestion; notes that 37 FFG awards totalling £68.9 million have been made to projects in Scotland and understands that this reduces the need for 33,573,500 lorry miles per year; recognises that Transport Scotland is in advanced discussions with a number of bidders to the fund, including a proposal by a social enterprise in South Ayrshire for a railhead at Grangestone by Girvan; believes that a Grangestone railhead could provide great economic and environmental benefits to South Ayrshire; regrets the Scottish Government’s proposals to reduce support for the freight industry from £10.3 million in 2010-11 to £2.9 million in 2011-12, including the closure of the FFG scheme for projects which will incur expenditure after 31 March 2011, and expresses great concern that this would put in jeopardy the work that has been done on the Grangestone railhead scheme and similar proposals across Scotland.

 

December 2010

The Impact of the Cold Spell on Disabled Children and their Families

That the Parliament recognises the disproportionate impact that adverse, cold weather conditions can have on vulnerable groups; notes that disabled children who require intensive support from voluntary sector organisations such as Aberlour Child Care Trust may have been unable to access these services, which it considers vital, due to the extreme weather; recognizes the importance of interventions such as short-stay and crisis respite residential care in allowing families affected by disability to stay together; applauds what it sees as the valiant efforts of voluntary sector organisations in keeping these services open despite the snow, in some cases going the extra mile to provide respite support in the family home, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that these services have access to the levels of funding that they need to continue providing a lifeline to these children and their families despite the inclement meteorological and economic circumstances in which they currently find themselves.

 

Glas-goals Spectacular Success

That the Parliament celebrates what it considers the spectacular success of the Evening Times Glas-goals campaign and its three targets of encouraging Glaswegians to walk or run a million miles, stub out a million cigarettes and shed half a million pounds in weight over the course of 2010 through a series of imaginative and highly successful events; applauds the fact that Glas-goals has smashed all three targets; praises the Evening Times for reporting positively over the course of the campaign on a wide range of activities throughout the city that promote healthy lifestyles and challenge the city’s poor public health record, and views Glas-goals as the perfect springboard to begin building a lasting physical and sporting legacy in the approach to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

 

Domestic Abuse- Together We can Stop It

That the Parliament welcomes the launch of Scottish Women’s Aid’s new campaign, Domestic abuse. Together we can stop it, during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, 25 November to 10 December 2010; congratulates Scottish Women’s Aid on the launch of the campaign website, http://www.togetherwecanstopit.org  and encourages widespread support for the campaign and its advocacy of 10 things you can do to stop domestic abuse.

 

Save Violence Against Women Services

That the Parliament notes what it considers the vital and much-needed support that the Scottish Executive has provided over the last decade to help sustain and develop support services such as rape crisis centres and women’s aid groups; further notes that much of this support has been in the form of dedicated funding for services takling violence against women, including the Rape Crisis Specific Fund, the Children’s Services Fund and the Violence Against Women Fund; believes that, if these funds do not continue, the impact on women and children across Scotland will be severe; welcomes the campaign by Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid to gather pledges to support and protect funding for these services, and encourages all MSPs to pledge their support.

 

42 per cent Better

That the Parliament welcomes publication of Friends of the Earth Scotland’s report, 42% Better, looking at the achievability of Scotland’s climate targets; agrees with what it considers to be its key message that not only are the climate targets achievable but measures to tackle climate change can have significant social and economic benefits; in particular notes its conclusions that, by eliminating fuel poverty, an energy efficiency programme could prevent up to 180,000 cases of anxiety and depression each year, reduce the amount of time people are off work due to asthma and breathing problems by up to 25% and, when coupled with delivery of renewable heating systems, create 99,000 person-years of employment between now and 2020; further notes its findings that, by improving cycling rates, increased investment in active travel could save up to 1,672 lives a year, save a substantial chunk of the £170 million NHSScotland spend each year tackling obesity and, through higher productivity and less ill health, save the Scottish economy an estimated £23 million a year, and therefore calls on members to work together to strengthen the Report on Proposals and Policies to ensure that it gives the utmost confidence that Scotland will meet its climate targets while simultaneously delivering the maximum social and economic benefit to its people.

 

Bicentenary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse

That the Parliament notes that 2011 marks the bicentenary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse situated off the coast of Arbroath, which is widely considered to be one of the seven wonders of the industrial world; welcomes what it considers the substantial investment made in the refurbishment of the Signal Tower museum in Arbroath, which will now focus on the history of this world-famous lighthouse, and wishes the community-led year-long celebration of the bicentenary, called the Year of the Light, every success in promoting Arbroath and its maritime history.

 

Leuchie House

That the Parliament welcomes the announcement by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of the continuation of Leuchie House for a period of at least six months; congratulates members of the Save Leuchie Campaign for what it sees as their considerable efforts; further congratulates Mairi O’Keefe, the manager of Leuchie House for her work in bringing forward an alternative proposal to secure future provision for people with MS, and wishes her and the staff every success in gaining funding for the future.

 

Prevented Sexually Transmitted Infection

That the Parliament expresses its deep concern at the continuing increase in the number of cases of genital warts reported by Health Protection Scotland and NHS Information Services Division; notes the support of professional and patient organisations including fpa, the Terence Higgins Trust, the Royal Society for Public Health, the Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV for the introduction of the quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to help protects against cervical cancer and genital warts that is already used across mainland Europe, and calls on the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland to ensure that they bring their influence to bear to ensure that decisions taken at UK level that affect the HPV vaccination programme in Scotland take into account the opportunity offered by a quadrivalent vaccine to prevent both cervical cancer and genital warts.

 

Action for Sick Children in Scotland

That the Parliament welcomes the work of Action for Sick Children (Scotland) in raising awareness of the needs and rights of ill children and young people; calls on all children and young people's healthcare rights to be upheld in line with the European Association for Children in Hospital Charter; recognises the need to empower and support young people to take responsibility for their own health and management of their chronic condition; shares the belief that every sick child or young person has the right of equal access to education whenever they are well enough to learn, regardless of where they live; expresses concern at the reported wide variation in educational support that is available to children in hospitals and asks ministers to collect and collate information nationally on where and when hospital teaching is provided and on how many days a child has to be off sick before a teacher starts helping them at home, and, in light of this, calls on the Scottish Government to review the national guidance on absence due to ill health.

World Aids Day

That the Parliament recognises the importance of World AIDS Day, which takes place on 1 December 2010, in raising awareness and tackling the stigma of HIV; notes that there are an estimated 86,500 people across the UK living with HIV, with 6,630 new diagnosis in 2009, and understands that as many as a quarter of these people are unaware of their infection; further notes that there are an estimated 33.4 million people worldwide living with the condition including 2.1 million children under 15; further notes that students from across Scotland will congregate in Edinburgh on World AIDS Day to fundraise and provide information in order to reduce the stigma surrounding the issue; commends the work of individuals and organisations across Scotland who work to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS including Waverley Care, an Edinburgh based HIV/AIDS group, whose Spiritual and Pastoral Care Co-ordinator, Rev. Marion Chatterley, will address the Parliament at Time for Reflection on World AIDS Day, and encourages people across Scotland to "act aware" by making a commitment to help improve understanding about HIV in Scotland, prevent HIV transmission and stop prejudice.

Carers Rights Day

That the Parliament notes that Friday 3 December 2010 is Carers Rights Day; acknowledges and values what it considers the substantial contribution made by over 700,000 unpaid carers and young carers across Scotland; welcomes the practical and emotional support provided by the network of Princess Royal Trust for Carers Centres across Scotland; recognises what is seen as the critical work of Falkirk Carers Centre in identifying and supporting over 53,000 carers and young carers; understands that, despite what it considers their valuable work and social impact and the inclusion of £5 million of Carer Information Strategy funding for NHS boards in the draft budget, carers organisations across Scotland continue to face significant funding challenges as a result of local government cuts, and believes that all parties should demonstrate their support for unpaid carers in the Parliament and in local constituencies and regions across the country as carers centres wait to hear about local core funding over the coming weeks.

November 2010

 

Silently Stressed, NUS Scotland’s Research on Student Stress

That the Parliament is concerned by the recent report from NUS Scotland on student stress, Silently Stressed: a survey into student mental wellbeing, which reported that student stress is on the rise, with over 90% of students feeling very stressed by examinations, 70% feeling very stressed by financial hardship and 50% feeling stressed while working in a paid job; is particularly alarmed that 40% of student counselling services surveyed were unable to meet demand from the student community and calls on Universities Scotland to ensure that student welfare and support services are adequately resourced to meet the reported increase in student stress; notes that over 80% of students surveyed felt that stigma around mental illness prevented them from seeking help, and calls for more work to be carried out on how the barrier of stigma can be overcome in encouraging students to come forward early to seek support for stress.

Getabout and Liftshare

That the Parliament notes that, following the first ever liftshare week, membership of the UK-wide car-sharing network has now exceeded 400,000; further notes that car sharing, as well as bringing environmental benefits, can save participants money through shared travelling costs; congratulates liftshare on its recent success in the Contribution to the Community category at the Nectar Small Business Awards; considers outstanding the work of Getabout, a partnership between Nestrans, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils, local universities and other organisations, in promoting better transport choices, including car sharing, in the north east, and believes that encouraging car sharing and other more sustainable transport options can play a key part in helping the transport sector to meet its share of Scotland’s climate change reduction targets.

 

 

Moray Firth’s Spectacular Coastline

That the Parliament notes that the Moray Firth coastline has been ranked among the most beautiful and spectacular in the world by the National Geographic Traveller magazine’s panel of experts in sustainable tourism; considers that its scenery, beaches, marine wildlife and coastal communities deserve to be better known and visited, and urges the Scottish Executive to support the statutory and voluntary agencies that are working to promote sustainable tourism in the Moray Firth.

 

 

Keep the Post Public

That the Parliament supports the campaign organised by the Keep The Post Public Coalition opposing the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail; believes that the UK Government’s plans threaten the continuation of the universal service obligation and will lead to reduced services and discriminatory charges in rural areas; believes that privatisation will also result in the closure of post offices throughout Scotland; congratulates the Communications Workers Union for proposing an alternative business model, which it considers would allow the Royal Mail to remain in the public sector; notes the widespread public opposition to the privatisation of the Royal Mail including that of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat-led Dumfries and Galloway Council, which voted to keep the post

Lothian Supported Carers Scheme

That the Parliament congratulates Barnardo’s Scotland on the launch of the Lothian Supported Carers Scheme (LSCS), a new Lothian-wide project based in north Edinburgh and funded for five years by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with all of Lothian’s local authorities; understands that young people often leave care with multiple and complex needs and are vulnerable to the risk of homelessness and social exclusion; recognises that the scheme will provide what it believes will be much-needed accommodation and support for 65 young care leavers not ready to live independently; considers that LSCS will play a vital role in working with young care leavers and providing a positive role model from which to develop meaningful relationships and reduce the risk of antisocial or offending behaviour; commends the engagement of young people in the scheme; applauds the contribution that carers will make in helping young people through the important transition from adolescence to adulthood, and looks forward to seeing the young people realise their full potential.

 

Investment in Social Housing

That the Parliament considers that continuing to invest in social housing is important and that significant economic and social benefits arise from housing investment and activity; commends the Fife Housing Association Alliance (FHAA) for delivering, in partnership with Fife Council, 1,300 new homes over the last five years; considers that the FHAA has created an appropriate partnership framework and structures that guarantee the delivery of quality affordable housing in Fife; notes with concern the representations made by the FHAA that, without continuing support from the Scottish Government, its success and ability to continue to deliver affordable social housing will be jeopardised; advocates that housing policy and funding allocations should primarily be driven by the needs of lower-income households that cannot afford the costs of housing without financial assistance, and believes that a properly funded housing policy based on such principles delivers good quality housing, thereby improving health, educational chances, employment opportunities and general wellbeing.

Donor Milk Bank

That the Parliament congratulates the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Donor Milk Bank for its work on improving the health of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable infants; considers that breast milk is the recommended form of nutrition for all infants, particularly for those born preterm; acknowledges the benefits of breast milk, including earlier tolerance of enteral feeds, a reduced risk of infection and a reduction in necrotising enterocolitis, considered one of the most serious conditions affecting sick and premature infants; appreciates that mothers who give birth before 32 weeks’ gestation, have multiple births or have medical complications may have more difficulty producing their own breast milk for a number of physiological reasons and that the short-term provision of donor milk can offer a suitable alternative for their infants; applauds the work of all of those who have supported Scotland’s only Donor Milk Bank, and asks ministers, members and NHS boards across Scotland to further explore the benefits of this approach for high-risk infants.

 

 

Fighting Visual Impairment and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

That the Parliament recognises the importance of eyesight to a full life; understands that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) accounts for over half of registered blindness; is concerned that the prevalence of AMD is set to grow markedly with the increasing age profile of the population; notes that treatment for AMD requires repeat application of appropriate treatments, commonly a regime of eye injections, but that outcomes are good if diagnosed early and believes that it is vital that NHS boards are able to meet demand for treatment effectively now and in the future.

 

 

Congratulations to Voice of Carers Across Lothian

That the Parliament congratulates Voice of Carers Across Lothian (VOCAL) on its success in becoming the first organisation in Scotland to be awarded Quality Mark Level 2 by the Charities Evaluation Service in July 2010 and the title of Centre of Excellence by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers in November 2010; considers that these awards not only reflect the strong collective commitment to excellence in carer support by VOCAL board members, staff and volunteers but also their strong tradition of partnership work with funders and service partners; believes that VOCAL and other carer organisations play an important role in supporting carers in the Lothians and across Scotland, and wishes them well in the future.

 

World COPD Day

That the Parliament notes that Wednesday 17 November 2010 is World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day, an annual event organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease to improve awareness and care of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; notes with concern that the prevalence of COPD has more than doubled in the last two decades, killing more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer and making it the fourth biggest cause of death in the United Kingdom; believes that events such as World COPD Day are important in raising the profile of the disease and its causes and encouraging people to have their symptoms checked as soon as possible, and congratulates the British Lung Foundation and Breathe Easy Kirkcaldy and other Breathe Easy groups across Scotland for promoting the importance of respiratory health and providing support and information to those with lung conditions.

 

 

 

Spanish Civil War Brothers

That the Parliament recognises what it considers the bravery of the four brothers, Tommy, Daniel, Joe and John Gibbons, who travelled from Renton in West Dunbartonshire across to Spain to serve with the anti-fascist International Brigades; further understands that one of the brothers, Tommy, died in action; notes that a cairn will be dedicated to the brothers at Renton’s Carman Centre in a ceremony on Sunday 1 May 2011, and commends what it considers the sacrifice of these brothers and all those who fought against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War.

Supported by: Jamie Hepburn, Gil Paterson, Marlyn Glen, Karen Gillon, Brian Adam, Dr Alasdair Allan, Robin Harper, Dr Bill Wilson, David Stewart, Claire Baker, John Wilson, Trish Godman, Bob Doris, Hugh O'Donnell, Mary Mulligan, Elaine Smith, Stewart Maxwell, Mr Frank McAveety, Rhona Brankin, Sarah Boyack, Bill Kidd, Patricia Ferguson, Hugh Henry, Des McNulty, Dr Richard Simpson, Cathy Peattie, Dr Elaine Murray, Linda Fabiani, Bill Butler

 

Aung San Suu Kyi, an international inspiration

That the Parliament welcomes the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s best-known prisoner of conscience; notes that Aung San Suu Kyi has spent more than 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest; further notes that she was last detained in May 2003 after the Burmese Government reportedly attacked her motorcade in Depayin, having been previously detained from 1989 to 1995 and from 2000 to 2002; notes that, in the 1990 general election, Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won 59% of the national votes and 80% of the seats in the Burmese Parliament, a result that would normally have assured her the role of Prime Minister but was instead nullified by the military junta, resulting in an international outcry; commends what it considers the bravery and dignity that the Nobel Peace Laureate has shown throughout her years in house arrest; considers that her leadership gives hope and inspiration to thousands of political prisoners currently being held in deplorable conditions for simply exercising their right to peaceful protest, and wishes her well in her quest to deliver freedom of speech, democracy and human rights to the people of Burma.

 

Concern over Relocation of Asylum Seekers

That the Parliament notes with serious concern the decision by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to terminate its accommodation contract with Glasgow City Council, which could lead to the forced relocation of over a thousand asylum seekers to anywhere in Scotland; criticises the UKBA for the apparent suddenness of its communication and lack of clarity contained within, which is believed to have led to great uncertainty and anxiety not only among those in Glasgow but also the local integration networks and housing providers; believes that the UKBA policies that states that "whenever possible you will be given at least three to five days notice of the move" and that "you will (only) be allowed to take two pieces of luggage per person to your new accommodation" are directly opposed to the basic rights that many have fought for and more aligned with the injustices many have fought against, and would welcome alternative proposals being brought forward.

 

Hepatitis C Action Plan for Scotland

That the Parliament wholeheartedly supports the Hepatitis C Action Plan for Scotland, which it considers has made impressive progress in diagnosing, treating and supporting hepatitis C patients; understands that the Hepatitis C Action Plan for Scotland has been cited across the world as an example of national best practice in addressing hepatitis C; further understands that the effectiveness of the Hepatitis C Action Plan for Scotland was a key motivator behind the decision to develop a national liver disease strategy for England, and calls on the Scottish Executive to ensure that the progress made in addressing hepatitis C is sustained and furthered by continued investment and support for what it considers this important public health area.

 

 

China to Protect Scotch Whisky

That the Parliament welcomes the news that China will now recognise and protect Scotch Whisky as a geographical indication; notes that this is the culmination of three years of discussions between the Scotch Whisky Association and the Chinese Government; understands that the agreement will ensure that China recognises that Scotch Whisky can be made only in Scotland; further understands that the decision ensures that local consumers in China will be protected from imitations and also that the integrity of Scotch Whisky is protected, and considers this a significant landmark in an increasingly important market for Scotch Whisky distillers.

 

Long Term Conditions Alliance

That the Parliament welcomes the Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland (LTCAS), which will exhibit in the Garden Lobby between Tuesday 16 and Thursday 18 November 2010; notes that, with around 40% of Scotland’s population living with at least one long-term condition and the number steadily rising, LTCAS is calling for a cost-effective, joined-up and fair response to meet this growing challenge; considers that empowering individuals to take ownership of their conditions through supporting self-management will not only improve quality of life for individuals but is also essential to making best use of public funds, and welcomes LTCAS’ recently launched My Conditions, My Terms, My Life campaign.

 

Nine Years of Conflict in Afghanistan

That the Parliament notes that 7 October 2010 marked the ninth anniversary of the start of Operation Enduring Freedom by the United States’ military in Afghanistan and that 20 December 2010 will mark the ninth anniversary of the establishment of the International Security Assistance Force by the United Nations; further notes that this is longer than the duration of World War I and of World War II, and nearly as long as both these wars combined; regrets the loss of life caused by the conflict, including 341 military personnel from the United Kingdom, 2,174 from coalition forces in total and thousands of civilian causalities; considers that there is widespread concern among residents in Central Scotland and across the country at the ongoing loss of life, both military and civilian, in Afghanistan, and believes that greater progress is required to be made on a timely exit strategy.

 

Herald Society Award for Edinburgh Care Tender Campaign

That the Parliament congratulates the Edinburgh Campaign for Choice in Care and Support Services on being awarded the Herald Society Award for Campaign of the Year in 2010; notes that the campaign opposed proposals by the City of Edinburgh Council to tender a number of care and support services for people with learning disabilities and other support needs that reportedly would ultimately have affected nearly 800 people receiving support from 30 different care providers and expressed concern at the lack of proper consultation; understands that the proposals in the tender would have removed hundreds of service users from carers with whom they had built up trusting relationships over time and severely restricted the level of direct payments available to people who wanted to organise their own care; further notes the findings of an independent review by Deloitte, which criticised flaws in the tender process, including inconsistent scoring of tender bids, inaccurate and incomplete pricing information and an execution that was "not as sufficiently meticulous or as thorough as expected"; further notes an internal report by the chief executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, Tom Aitchison, acknowledging the flaws in the process, and his apology for the distress caused to vulnerable groups, and recognises the contribution that the Edinburgh Campaign for Choice in Care and Support Services made, in highlighting the concerns of vulnerable people, to persuading the council to abandon the tender and prompting the above reviews.

Adult Education

That the Parliament welcomes the role that Scotland has been given in highlighting the outcomes of the sixth UNESCO International Conference on Adult Education, CONFINTEA VI; considers that the conference provided an important platform for policy dialogue and advocacy on adult learning and non-formal education at a global level; welcomes the publication of the first-ever Global Report on Adult Learning and Education by the United Nations, which aims to cut illiteracy by half by 2015; believes that lifelong learning should be available and accessible to all; recognises the importance of adult learning in Scotland, and congratulates the Scotland’s Learning Partnership for what is considered the important work that it is undertaking in promoting adult learning in Scotland.

 

Computer Tax Games Relief

As an amendment to motion S3M-6627 in the name of Joe FitzPatrick (Computer Games Tax Relief), leave out from "calls" to end and insert "considers that this tax relief is much needed and was established by the Labour-led UK administration in response to local discussions in Dundee, and calls on the Scottish Government to put £5 million into the games industry in Dundee, equivalent to the tax break, in order to save 200 jobs and find a way to support the industry."

V&A at Dundee

That the Parliament congratulates Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, whose design has been chosen for the V&A museum planned for Dundee’s waterfront; pays tribute to the other architects shortlisted, and considers it important to bring the V&A museum to Dundee and to properly fund such a development.

V&A Museum Dundee Design Winner

That the Parliament congratulates Kengo Kuma and Associates, the design team that has been awarded the contract to construct the Victoria and Albert Museum building at Craig Harbour in Dundee; welcomes the news that four UK-based companies, including three from Scotland will be involved in the project to build what it expects will become a national landmark; understands that the project, expected to be completed in 2014, will create 900 jobs and bring an estimated 130,000 extra visitors to Dundee each year; further notes that the museum aims to provide access to high-quality exhibitions for residents in Dundee and across Scotland, and welcomes the support given to the project by the University of Dundee, the University of Abertay Dundee, Dundee City Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government.

 

Dundee FC

That the Parliament notes the 25-point deduction imposed on Dundee FC by the Scottish Football League for entering administration; notes also the penalty of a player-signing ban and the threat of further sanctions; further notes that this is the highest such deduction imposed in British senior football and places the 117-year-old former League Champions and European Cup semi-finalists in what it considers to be an extremely precarious position; believes that this decision will come as a further blow to Dundee supporters who, for the second time in a decade, are trying to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to save their club from liquidation and have already raised almost £100,000 since the club entered administration in October 2010; notes the recent Back on the Ball? report by PKF, which warned that many Scottish clubs were paying out too much of their turnover on player wages, thus leaving them overly reliant on external investment from club owners for survival; considers that the situation at Dundee FC highlights the real need for the sport's governing bodies to work with the Scottish Government and supporters’ trusts to create a more accountable and transparent system of financial governance of clubs in order to ensure that Scottish football is run primarily for the benefit of supporters; wishes the Dee4Life supporter’s trust all the best in its campaign to save Dundee FC by funding a supporters’ buy-out, and calls on the sport’s governing bodies to stand up for ordinary football supporters by backing such initiatives.

 

Edinburgh University Settlement Declares Bankruptcy

That the Parliament notes that Edinburgh University Settlement has ceased operations after running up debts of more than £300,000; is concerned that this will result in 40 members of staff being made redundant and over 200 learners having their courses withdrawn; notes that the majority of these learners are from disadvantaged backgrounds, are disabled or have English as a second language; further notes that Edinburgh University Settlement provided these groups with a range of services including adult and community education, employment and vocational training projects and support for people coping with mental health issues, and urges support from all stakeholders involved in Edinburgh University Settlement to work to ensure that the services provided by the projects are continued to the benefit of users.

 

Dundee Science Festival

That the Parliament welcomes Dundee’s first science festival, organised by Dundee Science Centre and under the patronage of Professor Sir Philip Cohen, which celebrates Dundee as a city of science and will see, over the fortnight, what it considers an exciting programme of activities in diverse venues across Dundee, appealing to all in the community from the early years to adults, aiming to provide inspiring lifelong learning, and wishes the centre and festival every success in this exciting venture.

 

Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2010

That the Parliament welcomes the designation of November as Lung Cancer Awareness Month; notes that lung cancer remains Scotland’s leading cause of cancer death with just over 4,000 deaths each year; considers that, in order to decrease lung cancer mortality, increased investment in lung cancer research is needed, including research into improving early detection; commends the work of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation in raising awareness and researching earlier diagnosis, and calls on the Scottish Government to continue to support work raising awareness about the early detection and prevention of Scotland’s biggest killer cancer.

 

Congratulations to the Barred! Campaign

That the Parliament congratulates Mark Cooper and Capability Scotland for the success of their Barred! campaign, which recently won the Campaign of the Year - Devolved Administrations award at the Public Affairs News Awards 2010; believes that the right of disabled people across Scotland to live an independent lifestyle has been enhanced through their hard work and commends what it considers their practical yet passionate approach to campaigning for change, and believes that, while the road to equality is long, the journey is easier because of their contribution.

 

 

Alasdair Gray rejects Lib Dem cuts

As an amendment to motion S3M-7280 in the name of Bob Doris (Alasdair Gray Rejects Lib Dem Cuts), leave out from "Mr Gray" to end and insert "it therefore regrets that SNP leader Alex Salmond recommended to voters in England that voting Liberal Democrat in the 2010 general election would be "a legitimate and proper thing to do", and calls on him to admit his mistake publicly and apologise accordingly."

 

Support for Children in Family and Friends Care

That the Parliament notes that there is estimated to be a minimum of 13,400 children in kinship (family and friends) care in Glasgow and throughout Scotland; understands that three out of four of these families are living in poverty and that kinship care is frequently the best form of early intervention as well as a longer-term option for children requiring non-parental care, particularly for those who have experienced multiple traumas; notes that kinship care is estimated to save the Scottish Government and local authorities £536 million per year in reduced care costs; considers with regret that the Scottish Government, the UK Government and Scottish local authorities have not yet been able to ensure provision of adequate financial, educational and other supports for children looked after by kinship carers; considers that there is currently insufficient joint working across all levels of government, and believes that kinship care provision is best developed with the involvement of kinship carers themselves as part of the decision-making process and that this would ensure that all policies are based on the needs of the child and that there is no discrimination of kinship carers based on their legal status or postcode.

Congratulations to Councillor Eddie Phillips, Best Green Campaigner/Activist 2010

That the Parliament warmly congratulates Councillor Eddie Phillips of East Renfrewshire Council on being awarded the title of Best Green Campaigner/Activist at the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2010; notes that the Scottish Green Awards are held in association with Scottish Power and are designed to reward actions and initiatives that benefit the environment and encourage others to follow in their footsteps; recognises the role that Councillor Phillips has played as the founder of the Go Greener project in East Renfrewshire, which aims to improve the environment at a local level and raise awareness of climate change, and believes that thinking green is not only good for the environment but is essential in tackling climate change and making communities more sustainable.

 

People’s Postcode Lottery Launches Dream Fund

That the Parliament welcomes the launch of the People’s Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund as part of the People’s Postcode Trust; considers that the Dream Fund is an exciting new initiative that will offer registered charities and community organisations in Scotland the opportunity to apply for up to £100,000 to deliver a life-changing project over 12 months; further notes that the emphasis of the fund is on long-term benefit, with a focus on helping communities lead active lifestyles, supporting volunteering and tackling climate change; recognises that the Dream Fund encourages applicants to collaborate to provide a more efficient service to meet the challenges being faced by the charitable and voluntary sector, and, lastly, congratulates the lottery on this innovative project and looks forward to seeing the benefits that this will reap for Scotland.

 

Nuclear Submarine Runs Aground off Skye

That the Parliament notes with serious concern reports that the Royal Navy HMS Astute submarine ran aground close to the Skye Bridge; further notes that this comes as the latest in a catalogue of like incidents involving nuclear submarines off the west coast of Scotland in previous years; believes that, while no nuclear reactor leak or any other environmental concerns have as yet been reported, the potentiality of such a calamity remains of grave concern; considers that inquiries into previous incidents of a similar nature have highlighted the insufficient application of the safety regime for nuclear submarines, and calls on the Ministry of Defence to instigate an immediate inquiry into this incident.

 

 

Show Racism in the Red Card Fortnight of Action

That the Parliament notes that 15 until 31 October 2010 marks Show Racism the Red Card’s 7th annual Fortnight of Action, which will feature 30 anti-racist community events across Scotland and includes Islamophobia workshops at Knightswood Secondary School in Glasgow; welcomes the support of Scotland's football clubs for the campaign with activity at Scottish Football League, Scottish Women’s Premier League, Scottish Women’s Football League and Scottish Cup second round matches on 23 and 24 October and at Scottish Premier League matches on the weekend of 30 and 31 October; believes that Scottish football, both at club and international level, has benefited hugely from the participation of players born outside of Scotland; abhors the treatment of players who have been racially abused at grounds across Scotland, and unequivocally affirms that racism has no place in Scottish society.

 

Fighting All the Way for Equal Pay

That the Parliament welcomes the publication of How fair is Britain? Equality, Human Rights and Good Relations in 2010, The First Triennial Review by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC); notes the report finds that, 40 years after the passing of the Equal Pay Act 1970, women in the UK still earn significantly less than men; is concerned by the report’s conclusion that progress in closing the gender pay gap in the UK has ground to a halt; welcomes the EHRC’s goal of closing the gender pay gap faster and further, and commends Close the Gap, in conjunction with the STUC, for supporting what it considers to be the Mikron theatre company’s excellent production, Striking The Balance…fighting all the way for equal pay, which was performed recently in Glasgow and Edinburgh to celebrate 40 years of the Equal Pay Act and which chronicles the continuing struggle to close the gap since the act was passed.

 

There is a better Way

That the Parliament commends the STUC on the launch of its There is a Better Way campaign; believes that deep, savage and immediate cuts are neither unavoidable nor inevitable and that they would actually threaten economic recovery *across Scotland and in areas such as Coatbridge and Chryston*; further believes that a sensible and sustainable response to the current economic crisis is to promote growth and ensure fairness through creating jobs and protecting services, through fair taxation and a living wage, and *would welcome widespread support for the STUC campaign*.

Face Equality for Children

That the Parliament congratulates the charity Changing Faces on its Face Equality for Children campaign; recognises that approximately 7,500 children in Scotland have a significant facial disfigurement and believes that negative assumptions about this often result in prejudice and discrimination that might lead to low academic achievement, reduced employability and a poor quality of life; supports the campaign’s objective of challenging those negative assumptions and in mobilising education, health and other public services to achieve that objective, and looks forward to the time when all such children are treated fairly and equally and able to realise their full potential.

 

Women’s National Commission

That the Parliament is concerned by the UK Government’s plans to close the Women’s National Commission (WNC); believes that the WNC is an important and cost-effective mechanism to give women a direct voice to government; believes that this is yet another blow for women across the United Kingdom at a time when the comprehensive spending review is likely to hit women and families disproportionately; understands the importance of continuing to combat the numerous inequalities that women suffer economically, socially and politically, and would welcome a reconsideration of the UK Government’s position on closing the WNC.

 

2010 Commonwealth Games

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish team on what it considers to be its tremendous performance in winning 26 medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games; expresses its gratitude to the network of relatives, friends, coaches and sports administrators who supported the participants in their endeavours; thanks Delhi for the hospitality that it afforded to every competitor and visitor from across the Commonwealth; records its appreciation of the Scots involved in what it believes was the truly magnificent spectacle that followed the handover ceremony, and looks forward to extending a warm Scottish welcome to athletes and supporters from around the Commonwealth to Glasgow in 2014.

 

Security Industry Authority

That the Parliament expresses its concern at the decision by the UK Government that the work of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) should be subject to a "phased transition to new regulatory regime"; considers that the SIA has made real progress in reducing the level of criminality in the private security industry, encouraging the raising of standards in training and delivery in the industry and leading to an improvement in its public perception, and believes that moves to abolish the SIA threaten this progress; also considers that the SIA has successfully worked with partners in Scotland, including the Scottish Government, local authorities, police and other agencies; believes that the SIA has a key role at a time when regulation of the private security industry will be of crucial importance, in the run up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and urges the Scottish Government to engage in dialogue with the UK Government on this process and keep the Parliament informed of developments as they will affect the security industry in Scotland.

 

World Osteoporosis Day, 2010

That the Parliament welcomes World Osteoporosis Day on 20 October 2010 in helping to raise awareness of osteoporosis; praises the fundraising activities that are happening, including Go Orange for Osteoporosis; commends the National Osteoporosis Society for its continued efforts to help raise funding and awareness for the three million people in the UK estimated to have osteoporosis; hopes that spending cuts will not affect the osteoporosis services already in place or those being planned for the NHS in Scotland; welcomes the decision by NHS Forth Valley, which was the last remaining NHS board without this service, to open a local osteoporosis service, and hopes that treatment and management of osteoporosis continues to be promoted and managed at all levels in the NHS, with equal access to appropriate osteoporosis services across Scotland, including fracture liaison services and osteoporosis specialist nurses.

Proposal to abolish Consumer Focus

That the Parliament expresses concern that, in the wake of the publication of the Postal Services Bill proposing what are considered significant changes to the postal market and post office network, the UK Government is proposing to abolish Consumer Focus, the statutory champion for postal customers in Scotland; acknowledges the key role of Scotland’s post office network in both urban and rural communities and considers that the decision to remove the postal service watchdog will remove a strong voice in consumer representation, and calls on the Scottish Government to make representations to the UK Government on behalf of postal service users.

 

UK Anti-Slavery Day and European Anti-Trafficking Day

That the Parliament marks the first UK Anti-Slavery Day, which coincides with European Anti-Trafficking Day on 18 October 2010; understands that an estimated 12.3 million people across the world are in slavery today, forced to work for little or no pay and denied basic human rights and freedoms; further considers that many enslaved people have also been victims of human trafficking across international borders, including into the United Kingdom; further recognises that, between 1 April 2009 and 31 August 2010, 74 people in Scotland were identified as suspected victims of human trafficking; pledges its support for the Anti-Slavery International and Stop the Traffik campaigns to bring a global end to slavery and human trafficking; calls on the UK Government to reconsider what it considers its regrettable decision to decline to opt in to the new European Union anti-trafficking directive, and asks the Scottish Government to continue its existing work to prevent women, children and men being trafficked into Scotland and to provide services and support for victims of trafficking and slavery.

 

October 2010

St. Oswald’s Does the Hat Trick

That the Parliament congratulates St Oswald’s RC School in Cathcart in Glasgow on becoming one of around 100 schools in Scotland to be awarded a third Green Flag as an eco-school; notes that St Oswald’s pupils, who have additional support needs, work regularly to enhance the amenity of a local park and help to maintain the gardens of older local residents, and considers that the achievements of these pupils are a credit to their school, to their teachers and, above all, to themselves.

 

Alcohol Awareness Week 2010

That the Parliament supports Alcohol Awareness Week, which is scheduled to run from 4 to 10 October 2010; notes that Alcohol Awareness Week is an initiative that brings together the Scottish Government, the alcohol industry, health professionals and the voluntary sector to promote a joined-up message about drinking alcohol responsibly, and further notes that this is Scotland’s fourth such week and that it includes a joint programme of events designed to provide useful information about responsible drinking.

 

Coalition’s Welfare Cuts

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Local Government Forum Against Poverty and Rights Advice Scotland for what it considers their excellent, detailed report, People Councils the Economy; understands that the coalition government is set to remove more than £514 million a year from the pockets of Scotland's lowest income households and in turn from the Scottish economy; considers this an attack on disabled people and on the poorest and most vulnerable people in Scotland; calls on the Scottish Government to prioritise tackling poverty and disadvantage in its forthcoming budget, and calls on Scottish local authorities to support the work of the forum and its welfare rights teams.

 

 

10th. Anniversary of the Death of Donald Dewar

That the Parliament notes the tenth anniversary of the death of Donald Dewar, Scotland’s first First Minister, on 11 October 2000 and places on record its admiration for his life and work, in particular his central role in the long campaign for the establishment of a devolved Scottish legislature, which assumed its full legislative powers on 1 July 1999; recognises Donald Dewar’s contribution to Scottish public life not only as one who held high ministerial office but also as a wholehearted advocate for the people he represented, firstly as MP for Aberdeen South (1966-70), then as MP for Glasgow Garscadden (1978-1997) and finally for Glasgow Anniesland, as both MP (1997-2000) and MSP (1999-2000); acknowledges that Donald Dewar’s central political objective was to champion the cause of those most in need and to do so unequivocally, without fear or favour, and remembers with affection the life of a man who was devoted to the creation not only of the Parliament itself but of a more just and equal Scotland.

 

Ryder Cup Triumph 2010

hat the Parliament congratulates the European team, captained by Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, on regaining the Ryder Cup from the United States of America by 14½ points to 13½ in what it considers a thrilling contest held in Wales on the Celtic Manor course; applauds all of the players involved in what it sees as a tremendous victory for Europe, and looks forward to a similar result when the Ryder Cup is held in Scotland at Gleneagles in September 2014.

 

September 2010

National Learn to Sign Week

That the Parliament welcomes National Learn to Sign Week, which will run from 4 to 10 October 2010; congratulates all of Scotland’s Deaf organisations for the work that they have done to promote British Sign Language (BSL); particularly commends Scotland’s Deaf groups for the work that they are doing to promote BSL in schools and further education centres, and hopes that BSL is given equal status with spoken languages in Scotland.

Victim Support Scotland, International Conference

That the Parliament notes Victim Support Scotland’s first international conference, to be held between 5 and 7 October 2010 in Edinburgh; commends Victim Support Scotland for bringing together practitioners, academics, statutory bodies and researchers to discuss victimology and reflect on victim engagement in the justice system; further notes that 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of Victim Support Scotland; considers that all individuals and agencies that provide services to victims of crime undertake vital work, and encourages the Scottish Executive to support Victim Support Scotland’s call to establish a victims’ commissioner for Scotland.

 

Victoria and Albert Museum

That the Parliament considers as a major step forward in the development of the Victoria and Albert Museum in Dundee the showcasing of the six shortlisted designs at the University of Abertay in Dundee from 29 September 2010 at an exhibit entitled, V&A at Dundee - Making it Happen; welcomes the fact that this free exhibition will be open to all residents and visitors of Dundee as late as 9pm and at weekends to allow everyone the opportunity to view the designs and express their opinion; views the project as an excellent opportunity for Dundee, bringing both extra employment and tourism to the city, following on from recent successes, such as the showcasing of Titian’s Diana and Actaeon in the newly refurbished McManus Galleries, and believes that this will add to Scotland’s wealth of internationally renowned culture.

 

Beautiful Scotland Awards— That the Parliament congratulates the city of Dundee on its recent clutch of accolades at this year’s Beautiful Scotland Awards, particularly the communities of Ardler, which received a bronze medal certificate, and Broughty Ferry, which received a silver gilt medal certificate, on top of the whole city’s silver medal certificate and Wright Sustainable Development Award.

 

Dundee Museum of Transport

That the Parliament congratulates the members of the Dundee Museum of Transport on what it considers to be the sterling effort undertaken by them in attempting to create a museum in the city with partners including the Taybus Vintage Vehicle Society, Dundee Model Boat Club and Dundee City Council; notes the plans to run apprenticeships in conjunction with the Claverhouse Group and believes that these will help to bring much-needed employment to the city; considers that the former site of the Maryfield Tram Depot in Dundee would be a perfect site for such a museum, and hopes that the charity can come to an amicable agreement with the current owners of the site.

 

University of Dundee World Rankings

That the Parliament congratulates the University of Dundee on being included in the top 200 world universities ranked by the Times Educational Supplement; understands that this year's rankings were undertaken under a new and more thorough methodology, which places more emphasis on hard measures of excellence in all three core elements of a university’s mission - research, teaching and knowledge transfer; further notes that the university has been described by The Sunday Times as "an institution regarded as one of the success stories of British higher education", which has already been ranked top in the world for research impact in pharmacology by Thomson Reuters and elected Europe's "best place to work in academia" in the annual worldwide survey compiled by The Scientist magazine, and wishes the staff and students all the very best in continuing to move the bar of human knowledge and further both Dundee and Scotland's reputations worldwide.

 

World Parkinson’s Congress

That the Parliament welcomes the accomplishment of the World Parkinson’s Congress 2010 in bringing together what is considered one of the largest and most diverse groups of people with Parkinson’s disease, caregivers, scientists and other health professionals, official and non-governmental organisations ever convened to discuss and investigate Parkinson’s disease and the issues related to living with Parkinson’s disease; considers that Parkinson’s disease is one of the most debilitating, socially disruptive and costly neurodegenerative conditions in the world today and that people who live with it face serious challenges with movement and other functions that worsen as the condition progresses; believes that the scientific advances achieved to date and the further advances that will be made possible by increased investments in neuroscience over the next several years will provide the basis both for significant improvement in the management of Parkinson’s and ultimately the prospect of a cure, and further believes that this will only happen through the allocation of significant research funding from government among others.

 

Edinburgh Chamber’s Business Plea

That the Parliament supports the call from Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce for the reintroduction of transitional relief by the Scottish Government to soften what it considers to be the blow of this year's rates revaluation; joins the chamber in expressing its concern that the tone date,1 April 2008, upon which new rateable values are based, came at a time when the Scottish economy was at the height of a lengthy period of growth and immediately prior to what is considered to be the longest and deepest recession in recent history and that the new rateable values do not adequately take in to account the effects of the recession; notes that many businesses across Scotland are facing increases of 100 to 200% in their business rates bill; further notes that, as a result of the revaluation, many small-to-medium sized businesses in Edinburgh and across Scotland have been valued out of eligibility for the small business bonus scheme and believes that this has led to a situation where they are  being doubly hit; further notes that the revaluation is also hitting public services, with NHS Lothian facing a reported £5 million hike in rates, which is equivalent to the cost of approximately 180 nurses; further notes that 3,300 businesses and organisations across the capital, including NHS Lothian, have appealed their rates bill and that that number is reported to be rising quickly; and further supports calls from the Edinburgh Chamber for the Scottish Government to carry out an urgent review of the rating appeals process to ensure that businesses have the best possible opportunity to challenge unrealistic rating valuations.

 

Congratulations to the Glasgow Boys

That the Parliament congratulates the exhibition, Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880-1900, at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on having received more than 100,000 visitors; considers that the success of this exhibition has been due to the hard work of the staff involved, particularly those on Kelvingrove’s exhibition organising committee; believes that this demonstrates the popularity of Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and realises the importance of properly funding such a venue.

 

Vote for Sport

That the Parliament welcomes the launch of the Scottish Sports Alliance's Vote for Sport pledge campaign, which calls on every MSP to recognise the unique role, value and potential of sport in Scottish society and to act as a Scottish sporting champion throughout their term in the Parliament; believes that, during the next four years, both the London Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will provide significant opportunities for Scottish sport to unite communities and inspire the nation, and encourages MSPs from across the chamber to sign the pledge.

 

Homelessness 2012

That the Parliament reaffirms its commitment to the internationally acclaimed homelessness objective that by 2012 anyone unintentionally homeless should be offered permanent accommodation; believes that this requires continuing investment in the building of new socially rented homes to deal with supply shortages; agrees that preventing homelessness where possible, in line with the principles of early intervention, is also a key priority in achieving this objective, and applauds the work of organisations such as Move On, which has put those principles into practice in a range of successful projects and whose Edinburgh headquarters are based in the Edinburgh North and Leith constituency.

Solicitor of the Year

That the Parliament congratulates Frank Maguire of Thompsons Solicitors on being named Solicitor of the Year at the Law Awards of Scotland 2010; recognises that he has received the award in light of his legal expertise and political commitment; notes that he has worked with members of Parliament from across all parties particularly to improve and protect the rights of workers with asbestos-related disease, and congratulates all the winners at this year's awards and the organisers on the success of the event.

 

Roma Rights and Free Movement of People

That the Parliament notes a recent European Parliament resolution on the French Government’s policy of deporting Roma families and demolishing their encampments, passed by 337 votes to 245; further notes the European directive on free movement of persons allowing all citizens of the European Union to freely reside in any member state; recalls the European Commission’s function as guardian of treaties with a duty to question and intervene when community law may be breached; further recalls the legal right and principle of European citizenship; welcomes Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding’s recent statement that the case may be put to the European Court of Justice; firmly believes that under no circumstances should any ethnic group be stigmatised or deported purely on grounds of ethnicity, and calls on the European Commission to introduce tougher community legislation on the protection of Roma communities and their integration in society.

 

 

Mental Health Awareness Week

That the Parliament supports Mental Health Awareness Week, from 4 to 10 October 2010; acknowledges that one in four people in Scotland will experience mental health problems during their lives; understands that people with mental health problems continue to experience high unemployment, stigma and discrimination; further understands that poor mental health is among the most common reasons for work absenteeism, and welcomes the launch of the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) DISMISSED? campaign, which aims to achieve fairer treatment of people with mental health problems in employment.

 

CAA Aberdeen

That the Parliament recognises the initiative taken by Clydeside Action on Asbestos in establishing a service to support people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire with an asbestos-related disease; welcomes the establishment of a local support group facilitated by its disability outreach worker in Aberdeen; notes the self-management courses that are to be held by the support group to allow people with an asbestos-related disease to share their experiences and support each in other in relaxed and informal surroundings located in the city, and applauds the joint working between the charity, trade unions and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in providing these services as well as ensuring that their clients have access to legal and welfare advice.

Tackling the Link between Poverty and Educational Under-Achievement

That the Parliament expresses concern at what it considers to be the wide gap in educational attainment in Scotland between children from poorer and better-off families; believes that this reinforces and perpetuates existing patterns of poverty; further believes that it is not acceptable that Scotland’s poorest children make less progress at every stage of schooling than their better-off classmates; considers that, to break the cycle of deprivation, targeted support for children from the poorest homes and the most disadvantaged communities is needed to help them reach their full potential; welcomes Save the Children’s campaign, Better Odds At School, which highlights this issue of educational underachievement; supports the nurture class programme that is being carried forward by Glasgow City Council, which targets resources at improving the life chances of the most vulnerable children, and urges the Scottish Government to bend resources toward those in greatest need.

 

Scottish Human Rights Commission , Care about Rights?

That the Parliament welcomes the launch of the Scottish Human Rights Commission’s awareness-raising project, Care About Rights?, which relates to the care and support of older people; notes that the project aims to empower people to understand their rights and increase the ability and accountability of those who have duties to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and is aimed at everyone who comes into contact with, and has responsibility for, care services for older people; believes that an increased awareness and knowledge of human rights issues and practical advice about how to apply human rights principles in the delivery of care will ensure that older people are given the respect that they deserve, and therefore supports the aim of the commission to see a commitment to human rights becoming central in everyday practice and policy in the care and support of older people.

 

World Alzheimer’s Day 2010

That the Parliament expresses support for World Alzheimer’s Day, Tuesday 21 September 2010; notes that the theme for this year’s event is "Dementia. It's time for action!", which seeks to focus on the need for governments and the general public to take any action that they can to raise awareness of dementia and improve service provision for people with dementia and their carers; recognises the efforts of charity groups to raise awareness of the need to support the estimated 30 million people who have dementia around the world; further notes that this year’s World Alzheimer’s Day lecture, held by Alzheimer Scotland, will focus on the challenges that hospitals represent for patients with dementia and will seek to identify a model of good practice for dementia care in the general hospital environment and considers that the National Dementia Strategy can play a vital role in improving general hospital care but requires to be appropriately resourced and monitored in order to be effective, and believes that a better understanding of dementia as an illness can reduce the misunderstandings and stigma that exist about the condition and work toward promoting the highest standards of health and community care, both in Scotland and elsewhere in the world.

 

Growing International Consensus for Nuclear Disarmament

That the Parliament endorses the comments made by the foreign ministers of Japan and Germany, Katsuya Okada and Guido Westerwelle, in the Wall Street Journal Online concerning nuclear disarmament; notes that the United States of America and Russia have begun decreasing their nuclear weapons supplies; further recognises the main points of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May 2010; considers the need for disarmament of nuclear weapons, and believes that it is essential for the UK Government to begin disarmament in the United Kingdom immediately with the decommissioning of Trident.

 

Auchengeich Colliery Disaster

That the Parliament notes the anniversary of the Auchengeich Colliery disaster, which claimed the lives of 47 miners on 18 September 1959 in one of Scotland’s worst mining disasters of the 20th century; recognises that this disaster has had a lasting impact on the people of Chryston and the surrounding areas; welcomes the expansion of the memorial site, including what it considers to be a fantastic bronze statue sculpted by John McKenna, which will serve as a reminder to future generations of the sacrifice of those who braved difficult and dangerous conditions in Scotland’s mines; commends the trade union movement for its work in campaigning for stricter enforcement and higher penalties for breaches of health and safety laws; believes that health and safety in the workplace should not be compromised as a result of any potential cuts; expresses solidarity with miners throughout the world, particularly the 33 Chilean miners who are trapped 700 metres below the Atacama Desert, and wishes the men a safe return to their friends and family.

Sexual Health Week

That the Parliament welcomes the Family Planning Association’s (FPA) Sexual Health Week, to be held this year between 13 and 19 September; notes that the 2010 campaign will focus on raising awareness about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in people over 50; further notes that the campaign was prompted by rising levels of STIs among over 50s considered in part to be a result of an increasing number of people starting new relationships later in life, and fully supports the FPA campaign to promote safer sex regardless of age.

 

 

August 2010

Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery Disaster

That the Parliament commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery disaster near New Cumnock, which saw 129 men trapped underground; remembers the 13 who lost their lives in the disaster; recognises the life-saving work carried out by all volunteers and rescuers, who helped bring 116 men back to safety, and, at this time, expresses solidarity with the miners and their families in Chile as work continues to rescue the men currently trapped underground in the San Jose copper and gold mine.

 

A Step Backwards for Asbestos-related diseases

That the Parliament regrets the recent decision taken by the UK Government to cut planned investment into creating a UK-wide research centre into asbestos-related diseases; believes this move to be a step backward in assisting further research into the causes and treatment of such diseases; considers that there is a need for a UK-wide approach to research on asbestos-related diseases; notes with deep concern that, according to the Health and Safety Executive, a total of 2,617 Scottish men died from mesothelioma between 1981 and 2005; believes that the Scottish Government should give urgent attention to raising this issue with the UK Government, and further believes that the Scottish Government should consider ways in which greater support can be given for research into asbestos related diseases.

 

Keeping the Heat on for Edinburgh’s Residents

That the Parliament expresses concern at the recent Ipsos MORI survey commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Council that highlighted that 22% of Edinburgh residents fear that they will not be able to afford to heat their home and that the proportion of people who can afford to heat their home has fallen since spring 2007; recognises that increased fuel prices may be a cause and may lead to more households becoming fuel poor; regrets that the UK Government is reducing the availability of the winter fuel allowance by increasing the qualifying age from 60 to 66 and considers that UK Government proposals to reduce the amount of Winter Fuel Payment are regressive and may increase fuel poverty levels in Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole, and believes that the Scottish Government needs to review the effectiveness of energy efficiency programmes to ensure that they reach people in all types of housing tenure including tenements and flats and to encourage and support local authorities in promoting the use of one-off council tax discounts to drive greater uptake of energy efficiency measures across Scotland.

 

International Literacy Day

That the Parliament welcomes International Literacy Day 2010, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 8 September 2010; notes that it forms part of the UNESCO Literacy Decade 2003-13, which has the aim of raising awareness of the importance of literacy across the globe; further notes that the Scottish Survey of Adult Literacies (SSAL) 2009 showed that 73.3% of the Scottish working age population have a level of skills recognised internationally as appropriate for a contemporary society while 26.7% may face occasional challenges and constrained opportunities due to their literacy skills and that, within that group, 3.6% face serious challenges in their literacy practices; considers that this means the literacy level of a sizeable minority of people acts as a barrier that prevents them from making the most of their opportunities and believes that there are still far too many people who are excluded from full participation in activities as a result of the literacy challenges that they face; agrees with the Literacy Commission report published in December 2009 that Scotland should have a zero tolerance approach to illiteracy, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that the forthcoming Literacy Action Plan takes forward all the main recommendations of the Literacy Commission.

International Day of the Disappeared

That the Parliament commends the work of the British Red Cross and the other organisations involved in tracing those people who are missing and in trying to restore family links across the world; recognises that every year people go missing as a result of conflicts and natural disasters and sombrely notes how enforced disappearances can arise through abduction or imprisonment; remembers those who are missing and the family and friends trying to trace their loved ones, and believes that on 30 August 2010, the International Day of the Disappeared, we should remember those who are missing and support the work in tracing them in any we can.

Wear It Pink 2010

That the Parliament recognises that over 4,000 women and 20 men in Scotland will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year; endorses Breast Cancer Campaign’s organisation of Wear it Pink on Friday 29 October 2010; understands the importance of the event in promoting awareness of breast cancer among the general public; encourages MSPs to participate in the initiative to help raise funds for innovative world-class breast cancer research at centres of excellence throughout the United Kingdom, and congratulates Breast Cancer Campaign and all of its supporters for having raised £3 million in 2009 through wear it pink.

 

Cancellation of Rpsyth-Zeebgugge Passenger Service

That the Parliament notes with concern the recent announcement by DFDS to end the passenger service on the Rosyth-Zeebrugge ferry service in December 2010; hopes that changes to the existing freight service will improve the long-term security of the route; further hopes that businesses in Fife and across Scotland will not be faced with a repeat of the cancellation of the route in 2008, and calls on the Scottish Government to support the reintroduction of a passenger service on the route and help develop Rosyth’s status as an international transport hub.

 

World Pipe Band Championship 2010

That the Parliament congratulates St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band, Eire, and its Pipe Major Terry Tully for winning the Grade 1 competition at the 64th World Pipe Band Championships held on Saturday 14 August 2010 at Glasgow Green; recognises the considerable achievement of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association and Glasgow City Council in organising and hosting this successful annual event; further recognises the contribution made by BBC Scotland in broadcasting the "worlds" on their website so that it can be enjoyed by those at home and abroad who couldn’t manage to attend; acknowledges the boost to the local and wider Scottish economy of having thousands of people from all over the world visiting Glasgow for this occasion; recognises that this competition is considered a highlight of the Scottish cultural calendar, renowned across the globe as a unique experience; commends all of the pipe bands for participating to make this a successful event, and congratulates in particular all of the youth bands including the North Lanarkshire Schools Pipe Band for their commitment to this event.

 

65th. Anniversary of the Atomic Bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

That the Parliament notes the 65th Anniversary of the atomic bomb attacks at Hiroshima and Nagasaki taking place on 6 and 9 August 2010; pays respect to all those who lost their lives in the attacks; welcomes the attendance by representatives of the United States of America for the first time, and hopes that this will create a world without nuclear weapons in order to ensure that such unimaginable horrors are never repeated.

 

 July 2010

Titian’s a Hit!

That the Parliament welcomes what is considered the outstanding success of the exhibition at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum of Titian’s Diana and Actaeon during the month of July 2010; celebrates the fact that over 140,000 people visited Kelvingrove during July to view the masterpiece and that it will also be on display in Dundee and Aberdeen during the summer; considers that displaying such masterpieces in venues across Scotland is an effective and imaginative way of widening access to the arts and ensuring that Scotland’s artistic treasures are enjoyed by as many people as possible, and encourages the National Galleries of Scotland to give serious consideration to participating in similar schemes involving other works in its collection.

 

Jail Guitar Doors

That the Parliament welcomes Jail Guitar Doors to HMP Saughton; recognises that the initiative established and promoted by Billy Bragg aims to provide guitars to prisons that are using music as a means of rehabilitating prison inmates; considers that this is an innovative idea that has a legitimate and valid place in the rehabilitation process; believes that the initiative has helped prisoners elsewhere in the United Kingdom process problems in a non-confrontational way; further believes that new approaches to the rehabilitation of prisoners should be welcomed, and encourages other Scottish prisons to consider adopting the Jail Guitar Doors initiative.

 

Nil by Mouth Marks Ten Years in Campaign Against Sectarianism

That the Parliament acknowledges the 10th anniversary of the formation of Scotland's only dedicated anti-sectarianism charity, Nil by Mouth; recalls that the charity was set up in response to the senseless sectarian murder of Mark Scott in Glasgow in 1996; notes that over the last decade Nil by Mouth has encouraged and supported a range of community-led anti-sectarianism projects and events, delivered workshops to thousands of school children across Scotland and worked with government, football clubs, workplaces and community groups to promote greater religious tolerance and understanding; considers the progress made over the last decade in challenging sectarian attitudes and behaviour, including anti-sectarianism summits, new penalties for conviction, agreements on rules for parades, school twinning projects and the introduction of the first National Action Plan on Tackling Sectarianism in 2006 and commends the charity on the role that it has played in challenging sectarianism in Scotland, and applauds the commitment of the charity's trustees, volunteers and staff to tackling sectarian attitudes wherever they are found.

 

2010 Scottish School Magazine Awards

That the Parliament congratulates all the schools that took part in the 2010 Scottish School Magazine Competition and especially Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen on winning the gold award for its magazine, Electric, Boclair Academy in Bearsden on winning a silver award and the Best Design and Layout category for its magazine, Bac Talk, and considers that all the schools taking part have proved without doubt that the future of magazine publishing in Scotland is in safe hands.

 

See Me Campaign

That the Parliament considers the significant contribution that the see me campaign has made in tackling the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems; further notes that it is estimated that as many as one in four Scots will experience some form of mental health problem and that more than half of those with such conditions have experienced stigma or discrimination; recognises that the stigma associated with mental health problems can be more distressing and damaging than the symptoms of the condition itself; believes that it will take a generation to effect lasting change in society, and would welcome continued support for the see me campaign in Dumbarton and across the rest of Scotland.

 

BT Rewards

That the Parliament is concerned that BT is demonstrating insensitivity to staff and customers in the rewards given to senior staff and directors; regrets the 79% increase in reward to the chief executive officer with a £850,000 per annum salary and an annual bonus of £1,206,000; believes that there is no justification for the amounts paid to board members, including Sir Michael Rake, £670,000, Hanif Lalani, £1,166,000, and Patricia Hewitt, £128,000, and further believes that the UK Government should investigate ways of restricting such corporate excesses.

 

 

Make Poverty History, Keep the Promises Made in 2005

That the Parliament notes the 5th anniversary of the G8 summit held at Gleneagles in 2005 and of the Make Poverty History demonstration that saw over 250,000 people take to the streets of Edinburgh on 2 July 2005 to demand justice for the poorest people in the world; applauds the commitments made in 2005, which pledged to boost aid for developing countries by $50 billion, cancel the debt of the 18 poorest nations and reduce tariffs and subsidies; welcomes the continuing commitment of the UK Government to keep the promises made in 2005; notes with concern that, after the recent G8 and G20 summits held at Miskoka and Toronto in Canada, the 2010 G8 communiqué does not mention the commitments made at Gleneagles, as was done in previous years, and implores the richest nations in the world to honour their promises to avoid the feared $18 billion shortfall in the overall $50 billion target and to make poverty history.

 

North Lanarkshire Schools’ Pipe Band is British Champion

That the Parliament congratulates North Lanarkshire Schools’ Pipe Band on winning the Novice Juvenile Grade at the British Pipe Band Championships 2010 held in Annan on 26 June; commends Pipe Major Ross Cowan for his ongoing commitment to tutoring the band and for leading it to success in this competition; notes that the band wears its own tartan, the Spirit of North Lanarkshire, commissioned by North Lanarkshire Council; praises the council for its investment in its schools’ music programme; believes that music in schools is an important investment for government, and wishes the North Lanarkshire Schools’ Pipe Band success in future competitions.

 

Glasgow Women’s Library

That the Parliament congratulates Glasgow Women’s Library on its promotion to full status as an Accredited Museum by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA); notes that the MLA’s Museum Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for all museums in the United Kingdom and that this award testifies not only to the importance and value of the Glasgow Women’s Library but also to the hard work and dedication of its staff and members; further notes that the library is undergoing a new phase in its development as it plans to move to its new premises at the Mitchell Library in summer 2010; recognises the efforts of staff to raise the necessary £1.5 million for this move; congratulates them on their results to date, having accumulated nearly £500,000; urges Glasgow City Council to help support the project through its capital contributions and commends the Robertson Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Scottish Arts Council, the Third Sector Enterprise Fund and the Women on the Shelf Scheme on their support of the project to date; wishes the library all the best in its future endeavours to achieve further accreditation as the national women’s library, and urges the Scottish Government to work to support such valuable facilities in the third sector that contribute substantially to the cultural and social fabric of Scottish life.

 

June 2010

1GOAL Campaign

That the Parliament supports the 1GOAL campaign, which aims to encourage world leaders to ensure the provision of education for 72 million children by 2015 and to meet the UN Millennium Development Goal to end poverty; congratulates the pupils and staff of Braidhurst High School in Motherwell for supporting the 1GOAL campaign to kick-start the 2010 World Cup in South Africa; praises other pupils across Scotland who have supported the campaign; applauds the millions of people worldwide who have already signed up, and believes that, after the first football World Cup to be held in Africa is over, backs should not be turned on the continent but instead efforts redoubled to ensure that every child can go to school, in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

 

Broadcasting Black Hole for Scottish Rugby

That the Parliament notes Scotland’s commendable performance during the Six Nations tournament with a notable away win in Ireland; is disappointed that terrestrial broadcasters do not cover a broader range of rugby matches and tournaments at all playing levels; believes that more investment in the coverage of Scottish rugby is essential in order to promote sport in general to a wider audience, thereby increasing participation and health levels and to showcase the successes of Scotland’s rugby teams; notes the substantial contribution that rugby matches bring to the local Edinburgh economy, and would welcome efforts to ensure increased broadcast coverage of rugby in Scotland.

 

Co-operatives Fortnight

That the Parliament notes that 19 June to 3 July 2010 marks the first ever Co-operatives Fortnight, which will see 14 days of events, workshops and activities aimed at promoting co-operative models and values across the country; acknowledges the estimated £3 billion that co-operatives contribute to the Scottish economy; welcomes the decision of the United Nations to recognise the major role that co-operatives play in society by designating 2012 International Year of Cooperatives; considers that Scotland is of huge significance to the co-operative movement, given the international significance of the Fenwick Weavers and the UNESCO World Heritage site at New Lanark, and encourages the Scottish Government, local authorities, communities, schools and individuals to participate in both this year’s Co-operatives Fortnight and the UN International Year of the Cooperatives in 2012.

 

Illegal Killing Birds of Prey

That the Parliament considers that birds of prey are important indicators of the health of the environment and that, despite best efforts, many of Scotland’s native species of bird of prey have an unfavourable conservation status, often due to illegal killing; considers that the prevalence of this criminality is most obvious in upland areas, particularly in some areas managed for driven grouse shooting in the southern uplands and central and eastern Highlands; welcomes the steps taken by PAWS and recent environment ministers to address the problem of illegal killing of birds of prey; welcomes recent statements by landowning bodies condemning illegal poisoning but hopes that this will be translated into positive action on the ground and demonstrable improvements in the range and breeding success of key bird of prey species; expresses concern at any prospect of licensed control of birds of prey to protect reared pheasants or other gamebirds; applauds the work of the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project as a constructive approach; understands that any move toward licensed control of birds of prey would make Scotland the only country in Europe to routinely sanction such action, sending out mixed messages to land managers about the obligation to conserve some of our most threatened species, and expresses concern that this would have implications for Scotland’s international reputation and for important sectors, such as tourism.

 

Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SRC) on its excellent work in helping to create sustainable change for the participation of women in the science, engineering and technology (SET) sectors in Scotland; notes that, in 2008, 29% of female graduates in SET were working in the sector that they qualified in compared with 52% of male graduates; recognises that, through running career development events, working with colleges and universities and engaging with employers, SRC is acting to address the underrepresentation of women in the SET workforce, and therefore gives its full support for SRC’s continued success.

Police Pass on Skills to Tackle Domestic Abuse

That the Parliament congratulates the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) that is passing on its specialist skills to police colleagues across West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh; notes that the officers at DART have developed a range of skills, including building up trust with domestic abuse victims and appropriate referral for support; further notes that, by using such skills, the DART team has increased the overall detection rate for domestic abuse by around 10% in just three months, and congratulates Strathclyde Police for this initiative, utilising experienced officers to help their colleagues deal better with crimes of domestic abuse.

 

Keep the Moratorium on Whaling

That the Parliament notes with concern that the upcoming Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which takes place in Agadir in Morocco from Monday 21 to Friday 25 June 2010, will discuss lifting the moratorium on commercial whaling; strongly urges the IWC not to relax commercial whaling laws; deplores the practice of commercial whaling, and calls on the Scottish and UK governments to appeal to the whaling nations to stop the practice.

 

Keep Leuchie House

That the Parliament regrets the decision to close Leuchie House; notes that Leuchie House is the only respite home operating in Scotland and northern England for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and is one of only four across the United Kingdom; believes that the level of care given at Leuchie House is exceptional; notes that the facility that it offers MS patients to holiday with their carer and their children is unique; notes that it has continually achieved the maximum evaluation of excellent in every area of inspection by the Care Commission; recognises that Leuchie House is much valued by service users; believes that the closure of such a specialised facility will cause a strain on families and other services, such as the NHS, as they struggle to cope with the needs of MS patients, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure the continuation of the facility.

 

Break the Silence, Buy Radios for Burma

That the Parliament notes that Burma, also known as Myanmar, has been under military rule since 1962 when the parliamentary government was overthrown by an army coup; believes that access to a radio could help a family or community learn about their rights and let them hear of the international solidarity that Burma’s military regime works so hard to block out; further believes that freedom of information and expression is a fundamental human right that empowers individuals and communities to learn about and strive for justice and a whole range of other rights and freedoms, and therefore welcomes the new initiative by Amnesty International to mark the 65th birthday of the pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, by supplying radios to the people of Burma as a means of empowering them through access to crucial information that radios provide.

 

Action Scotland Against Stalking

That the Parliament congratulates Action Scotland Against Stalking on winning the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ Campaign of the Year Award in recognition of its work to introduce a definition of stalking into Scots Law; notes in particular the work undertaken by Ann Moulds who, after losing her home and business after becoming the victim of a stalker, launched the campaign to introduce stalking legislation into the Scottish criminal justice system; further notes that, as a result of that campaign, training modules are now being developed to be delivered throughout police forces, along with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service developing a stalking-awareness training DVD to be delivered to all Crown Office and Procurator staff, and considers that training and awareness in this area is important in ensuring that the crime of stalking is dealt with properly and effectively.

 

Raising Awareness in National Epilepsy Week 2010

That the Parliament recognises the collaborative awareness-raising work of Epilepsy Scotland and other Scottish members of the Joint Epilepsy Council of the UK and Ireland; applauds these organisations for highlighting issues for under-25s in National Epilepsy Week, from 13 to 19 June 2010; calls on the Scottish Government and NHS boards to ensure that the NHS Quality Improvement Scotland clinical standards for new patients to be referred to an epilepsy specialist nurse within 30 days are implemented; appreciates the importance of a smooth transition, particularly for young people with difficult-to-control epilepsy, from paediatric to adult health, education and social care services; agrees that investment in transition services and the replication of best practice as highlighted by NHS Highland will bring benefits to many under-25s; welcomes the Cross-Party Group on Epilepsy’s review of new guidelines for children led by Epilepsy Scotland; wishes this national charity’s new ambassador, Rosie Gilmour, every success at her inaugural National Epilepsy Week address, which is scheduled to take place on 16 June 2010 in the Parliament; congratulates the Scottish Government for assisting Epilepsy Scotland in developing new illustrated children’s books for 2 to 7-year-olds and for commissioning its research into Sudden and Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), which can affect the under-25s; acknowledges Epilepsy Scotland’s campaign to make anti-epileptic drugs exempt from proposed generic prescribing regulations; recognises that the Parliament’s best employment practices are informing the charity’s new occupational health guide for employers, and praises partnerships between epilepsy organisations and the Parliament that inform public attitudes, tackle social stigma and create a fair society for the 40,000 people in Scotland with epilepsy

 

Fair Trade in the Highlands and Islands

That the Parliament welcomes the visit of Mr Raymond Kimaro of the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union to Scotland to conduct a tour of the Highlands and Islands promoting fair trade; notes that Mr Kimaro is a world authority in the fair trade movement, having been Chairman of Café Direct and Africa Representative to the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation; welcomes his recent visit to address the Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Fair Trade; looks forward to his visits to Oban, Iona, Skye, Wick, Thurso and Orkney before attending the first Scottish local authority fair trade conference and Scottish Fair Trade Forum AGM in Inverness; believes that fair trade products are a vital tool in eradicating global poverty and promoting a fair and just global trading system by ensuring that producers earn a fair wage, that production methods protect the environment, that child labour is not used and that female producers are treated equally; notes that in the United Kingdom sales of fair trade-branded goods in 2009 grew by 14% to £800 million, demonstrating the public support for this worthwhile movement, and calls on all public bodies in the Highlands and Islands and throughout Scotland to play their part by switching to fair trade products as soon as is practical.

 

Additional Support for Breastfeeding

That the Parliament notes that National Breastfeeding Awareness Week takes place on a new date this year and is scheduled to run from 21 to 27 June 2010, with a number of events being held across Scotland and by NHS Lanarkshire; acknowledges the beneficial impact of breastfeeding on the health and wellbeing of mother and child; recognises that mothers who receive additional support are more likely to breastfeed for longer, bringing greater and more prolonged health benefits; believes that new mothers should be afforded the opportunity of a longer hospital stay to ensure that breastfeeding is established with nursing support; considers that the Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 is an excellent tool for protecting the child’s right to be breastfed in public places free from harassment and has led to an empowerment of mothers to be confident in public feeding; notes with concern, however, that the latest statistics from NHS Scotland show that younger mothers who live in the most deprived areas are the least likely to breastfeed their babies; acknowledges, therefore, that this is a clear area of social exclusion, and believes that the Scottish Government should promote materials aimed specifically at supporting young

Citizens Advice Scotland’s report , Fully Charged

That the Parliament notes Citizens Advice Scotland’s most recent report, Fully Charged, which raises concerns about the continuing effects of what is considered to be unfair and disproportionate overdraft charges on vulnerable and low-income people; notes evidence from Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland showing that charges impact disproportionately on those least able to cope with them; believes that many people in Scotland receive high bank charges arising from situations over which they have little control; further believes that banks are failing to help customers in financial difficulty despite receiving taxpayer support, and urges the Scottish and UK governments and the banks to work toward ending unfair charges that affect millions of customers.

 

Additional Support for Breastfeeding

That the Parliament notes that National Breastfeeding Awareness Week takes place on a new date this year and is scheduled to run from 21 to 27 June 2010, with a number of events being held across Scotland and by NHS Lanarkshire; acknowledges the beneficial impact of breastfeeding on the health and wellbeing of mother and child; recognises that mothers who receive additional support are more likely to breastfeed for longer, bringing greater and more prolonged health benefits; believes that new mothers should be afforded the opportunity of a longer hospital stay to ensure that breastfeeding is established with nursing support; considers that the Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 is an excellent tool for protecting the child’s right to be breastfed in public places free from harassment and has led to an empowerment of mothers to be confident in public feeding; notes with concern, however, that the latest statistics from NHS Scotland show that younger mothers who live in the most deprived areas are the least likely to breastfeed their babies; acknowledges, therefore, that this is a clear area of social exclusion, and believes that the Scottish Government should promote materials aimed specifically at supporting young mothers in areas of particular socio-economic disadvantage.

 

Bonus Payment to Outgoing Royal Mail Chief Adam Crozier

That the Parliament notes with concern the £2.5 million paid to the outgoing chief executive of Royal Mail in his final year; believes that such payments in the current financial climate are an insult to Royal Mail staff and customers; further believes that steps should be taken to avoid such excessive payments in future, and hopes that Adam Crozier will waive his right to a bonus payment.

 

Increased Awareness of Duchenne Stems from Sunflower Day

That the Parliament congratulates St Patrick’s Primary School in Coatbridge on its promotion of the awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy; notes that, on Friday 18 June 2010, pupils in the infant department will wear yellow and participate in a sunflower competition in order to raise money for the charity, Action Duchenne; recognises that Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a debilitating condition that causes muscle weakness, mainly in young boys, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that people with the condition are afforded the highest standard of care throughout Scotland, regardless of their postcode.

 

National Thrombosis Week

That the Parliament supports National Thrombosis Week 2010, taking place between 1 and 5 June; congratulates Lifeblood: The Thrombosis Charity for campaigning to increase awareness of thrombosis, especially in the week when the charity will be visiting five UK cities, including Glasgow, in five days, educating both students and the public; is aware of the risk to hospital inpatients of contracting deep vein thrombosis; recognises that, according to a recent Lifeblood report, more than 20% of NHS boards have no policy in place to prevent hospital-acquired thrombosis and more than 25% of NHS boards do not provide formal education to their staff about assessing a patient’s risk of developing the condition, and believes that the Scottish Government should follow the example set in England by mandating thrombosis prevention by putting in place outcome-focussed targets for the risk assessment of all hospital inpatients so as to effectively reduce the rates of death and suffering in hospital from this preventable condition.

 

Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy

That the Parliament notes the publication of Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy ahead of Dementia Awareness Week; welcomes the programme of work, including improving staff skills and knowledge in both health and social care settings, implementing dementia care pathway standards and reducing the inappropriate use of psychoactive medication; considers that this programme of action is essential following a series of reports, including Remember, I’m Still Me, published jointly by the Care Commission and Mental Welfare Commission, which highlighted the inefficiencies in the quality of care for people with dementia in the community, in care homes and in long-term hospital care; further notes the importance that the strategy places on developing and implementing standards of care, drawing on the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and Their Carers, which was produced by the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Alzheimer’s; thanks all those who contributed to the development of both the charter of rights and the strategy, including those who attended the National Dialogue on Dementia consultation events held across Scotland; believes that, to be successful, this strategy needs to be properly resourced and monitored in order to ensure that people with dementia receive the highest level of treatment and quality of care that can be given, and calls on the Scottish Government to bring forward a debate on the strategy before the summer recess.

 

RMT Industrial Dispute

That the Parliament notes the continuing dispute between First ScotRail and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) that has resulted in six days of industrial action being taken since February 2010; believes that the issue at the heart of the dispute is what it considers to be First ScotRail’s refusal to abide by the agreement that the company would not, during the current franchise, remove conductors from any of the services on which they are now present; is concerned at First ScotRail’s refusal to negotiate on this issue; is further concerned that published correspondence between the Scottish Government’s transport agency, Transport Scotland, and First ScotRail reveals that the company decided to proceed with plans to remove conductors only at the behest of Transport Scotland and following firm indications that Transport Scotland would exercise a provision in the franchise agreement to reimburse any losses incurred by First ScotRail that arise from industrial action; urges the Scottish Government to intervene to ensure that Transport Scotland and First ScotRail honour the existing agreement with the RMT, and calls on the Scottish Government to state that it will not reimburse First ScotRail for any losses or costs incurred arising from the current dispute with RMT.

 

Attack by Israeli Commandos on the Humanitarian Flotilla in International Waters Heading for Gaza

That the Parliament condemns the attack by Israeli commandos on the flotilla of six ships in international waters heading for Gaza and is shocked at the action that resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians and injury to others involved taking humanitarian aid to Gaza; notes with deepest concern the reaction around the world with an emergency meeting of the Arab League, protests from the Greek Government and condemnation from the Turkish Government and 27 European countries that have called on Israel to explain its actions; believes that this has critical repercussions for the peace process and world security; further believes that the blockade on Gaza has prevented most humanitarian aid reaching Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and that the ongoing siege is a key obstacle to peace in the region; believes that there must be an immediate and thorough investigation into this by the UN Security Council, and calls on the international community to wake up and take appropriate urgent action to hold Israel to account for its actions and save the peace process in the interest of world security and Palestinians and Israelis who want to live in lasting peace.

 

Carers Week 2010, A Life of Their Own

That the Parliament notes that the theme of the 10th annual Carers Week, from 14 to 20 June 2010, is A Life of Their Own, and that, during this week, carers’ centres across Scotland will hold events to celebrate the contribution that unpaid carers make; applauds the valuable work of the Carers Week partners in Scotland, including Carers Scotland, the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and MacMillan Cancer Care, and the work locally of centres such as Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Carers Centre, which offers a valuable resource to the 30,619 carers in its area; recognises the importance of supporting carers to allow them to have a life of their own and enjoy activities that most of us take for granted, such as family occasions, going on holiday, a meal out, or relaxing for an evening with no worries or responsibilities and the need to ensure that carers have access to relevant and practical information to help them with their caring role, the opportunity to take a break when they need it, support at times of crisis and an adequate level of financial support; acknowledges the contribution made by approximately 100,000 young carers in Scotland who might experience isolation, be bullied and constantly worry about the person for whom they care and experience poorer outcomes as a result of their caring role; notes new research carried out by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and the Children's Society, which shows that over two thirds of young carers are bullied at school, that more than half felt unsupported or misunderstood by their teachers and that 39% said that none of the teachers at their school was even aware of their caring role; and believes that the new Young Carers Strategy needs to bring together key policies and the work of a range of partners for young carers to be allowed to be children and young people first and have the same hopes, dreams and aspirations as their peers.

 

Eco-awards for Ss Peter and Paul RC Primary School in Dundee

That the Parliament congratulates Ss Peter and Paul RC Primary School in Dundee on achieving a bronze award in the Eco-Schools ratings; recognises the hard work carried out by the staff and pupils to make the school more environmentally friendly; notes that new initiatives such as the introduction of litter wardens and recycling and energy monitors contributed to winning the award; commends Ss Peter and Paul RC Primary School for achieving bronze status, and supports Eco-Schools awards as an important tool to raise the awareness of children about environmental and conservation issues.

 

Malawi Anti-Homosexual Sentencing

That the Parliament condemns the sentencing by Malawian authorities of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga to a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison with hard labour after being convicted of gross indecency and unnatural acts; believes thatthe conviction and sentencing violates the equality and non-discrimination clause 20 of the Malawian Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and international human rights documents, and calls on the Scottish and UK Governments to work with their partners in Malawi to end the criminalisation and discrimination of people on grounds of sexual orientation and to urge the Malawian Government to release Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga immediately.

 

May 2010

Why Women Can’t Wait

That the Parliament recognises what it considers to be the vital, yet unrecognised, role that women play in the fight against hunger; believes that poor women hold the key to tackling hunger and malnutrition because they are largely responsible for buying, selling, cooking and growing food in the developing world, yet they remain largely overlooked by current agricultural policies; recognises that there are over a billion people going to bed hungry each night, the majority of whom are women; commends Concern Worldwide for its Woman Can’t Wait campaign, which seeks to highlight this important issue with world leaders in advance of the UN Millennium Development Goals summit in September 2010, and encourages people to sign up to the Woman Can’t Wait campaign in order to send a strong message to decision makers that urgent action on hunger is needed, these remarkable women can’t wait.

Congratulations to the Nominees for the Herald’s Scottish Student Press Awards 2010

That the Parliament congratulates the range of talented students nominated for The Herald’s Scottish Student Press Awards 2010; commends the awards for showcasing the depth of talent in writing, publishing and photography among students in Scotland; notes that The Herald newspaper received a record number of entries for the award this year; sees the prize of experience with The Herald newspaper team as a positive contribution to nurturing future talent in journalism; recognises the quality of student journalism across Scotland and the positive contribution that it makes to life on university campuses and further afield, and wishes all nominees good luck for the award ceremony on 27 May.

 

Celebrating Foster Care Fortnight

That the Parliament welcomes the Fostering Network’s annual campaign, Foster Care Fortnight, taking place from 17 to 30 May 2010, which raises the profile of fostering in Scotland; is concerned that 1,700 more foster carers are needed in Scotland in order to give children a greater chance of being able to live with a foster family that is right for them, and calls on the Scottish Government to join with colleagues across the United Kingdom in supporting the Fostering Network’s Together for Change campaign, working towards ensuring that every foster carer in Scotland is paid and supported for the work that they do and recognised as part of the childcare workforce so that the pool of foster carers can be increased to make foster care work for every fostered child.

 

Honouring Gordon Brown

That the Parliament pays tribute to Gordon Brown, a proud and honoured son of Scotland; celebrates his powerful contribution as Prime Minister, as one of the great reforming chancellors and as a key architect of the Scottish Parliament; praises his record, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, in securing historic advances for working people, such as the minimum wage; celebrates his legacy as an international statesman in helping to reduce third-world debt and in making real the aims of the Make Poverty History campaign; recognises his central role as Prime Minister, acknowledged across the world, in tackling the global financial crisis, and believes that his leadership in tackling inequality and in protecting families and communities from the impact of recession confirms his commitment to social justice and emphasises the need for government to act on behalf of people in troubled times, not abandon them.

 

 

 

Changes to the Provision and Delivery of Care for Children with Cystic Fibrosis

That the Parliament notes with concern the closure of Ward 6B of Yorkhill Hospital, Glasgow, which accommodated young people with cystic fibrosis; acknowledges that the nursing staff of the ward have been dispersed across other wards in the hospital, which will result in patients with cystic fibrosis being admitted to alternative accommodation and possibly being nursed by staff with little or no knowledge of cystic fibrosis; understands that it is vital for those providing care for people with cystic fibrosis to have an in-depth understanding of the condition and to comprehend the importance of segregation of this group of patients and the necessary steps to take to avoid cross-infection; is further concerned at changes to the role of cystic fibrosis specialist nurses who are reportedly being directed to spend 20% of their time undertaking ward duties in Yorkhill Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh; considers that, as a result of this directive, the ability of specialist nurses to provide a comprehensive package of care will be compromised and that the current situation falls below the UK and European standards of care for those with cystic fibrosis.

 

 

Children and Young People with a Parent in Prison

That the Parliament welcomes the publication by Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People of the report, Perspectives of Children and Young People with a Parent in Prison; notes with concern the finding that each year in Scotland as many as 16,500 children will experience the imprisonment of a parent, more than will experience parental divorce; further notes the findings that children of imprisoned parents are at a higher risk of developing behavioural, mental health and general health problems and are more likely to engage in future criminal behaviour themselves than their counterparts; recognises that children are often the innocent and overlooked victims of these criminal events and considers that they do not currently receive the necessary support to deal with such trauma; urges the Scottish Government to put in place an effective framework of support and intervention for vulnerable children affected by parental imprisonment, and encourages the Scottish Government to invest in these children now instead of storing up social problems for the future.

 

Dementia Awareness Week 2010

That the Parliament acknowledges that Dementia Awareness Week 2010 takes place from 7 June to 13 June; notes that Alzheimer Scotland estimates that there are currently 71,000 people in Scotland with dementia; further notes the prediction that the number of people with dementia is set to double over the next 25 years; acknowledges that, since Dementia Awareness Week 2009, the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-party Group on Alzheimer’s produced a Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers to ensure that individuals and their families have a clear set of rights from diagnosis through to end of life; believes that a fundamental culture change in care services, community support and hospital care is required if Scotland is to be adequately prepared for this increase in the number of people with dementia, and therefore welcomes the publication of the Alzheimer Scotland manifesto, which calls for a £15 million change fund to assist local authorities and NHS boards to unlock and redirect resources into early intervention and personalised support for people with dementia and their carers.

Scottish Cup Winners, Dundee United

That the Parliament congratulates Dundee United Football Club on winning the 125th Scottish Cup Final by defeating Ross County 3-0; notes that this marks a successful end to the club’s 100th season, which has seen United finish third in the Premier League and win the Scottish Cup for the second time; commends Ross County on an impressive Scottish Cup run and their fans for their exemplary behaviour; pays tribute to former chairman Eddie Thompson, who passed away in 2008 and was instrumental in laying the foundations of the team that lifted the trophy; congratulates Dundee United’s chairman Stephen Thompson, manager Peter Houston and the players and fans who all played a part in the cup victory, and looks forward to Europa League Football at Tannadice next season.

 

Smoking in Films for Under 18s

That the Parliament notes the research published in Volume 65, Issue 4 of the British Medical Journal publication, Thorax, which states that children and young people watching films in the United Kingdom are still exposed to frequent and at times specifically branded tobacco imagery; expresses disappointment that 92% of films containing a depiction of tobacco use or smoking of at least five minutes, a tobacco interval, were rated as suitable for those under 18, with 61% classified as suitable for under-15s; notes that the researchers state that smoking in films is a potent driver of youth and adult smoking, and calls for the British Board of Film Classification to take smoking into account for films targeted at young people.

 

HMIE report

That the Parliament warmly congratulates the Royal Blind School, Edinburgh, on its most recent report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education; notes the school’s strengths in areas such as technology, athletics, bowls, judo, music, outdoor education, speech and drama and swimming, its successes achieved in a range of qualifications, the partnerships that it has in place to support young people and the progress that its children and young people make in personal and social development, and recognises the complex needs that are provided for in a caring and nurturing environment.

Save the Foundation, Charities Unite against Lloyds Banking Group

That the Parliament welcomes the renewed campaign to save Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland; considers the importance of this well-respected funder to communities and charities across Scotland and the vital contribution of £85 million made to those communities since 1985; notes the latest call from Scotland’s voluntary sector for Lloyds Banking Group to reverse its decision to terminate its historic covenant with the foundation; believes that the decision of the bank is a cynical one, putting the interests of this taxpayer-funded bank before the needs of disadvantaged communities across the country; welcomes the petition that can be found at www.savethefoundation.org, calling on Lloyds Banking Group to reinstate the covenant, and wishes the campaign well.

Congratulations to Turner Prize Nominee Susan Philipsz

That the Parliament congratulates artist Susan Philipsz on her nomination for this year’s Turner Prize; recognises that she is one of four artists in the running for the 2010 award; notes that her work, Lowlands, commissioned for the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, is a new site-specific outdoor sound work played on the banks of the River Clyde, and wishes the Glasgow-born artist every success for the competition.

 

Scottish Midland Co-Operative Society

That the Parliament notes the annual results of the Scottish Midland Co-operative Society Ltd (Scotmid), Scotland’s biggest independent co-operative, including an 18% increase in annual operating profits in challenging economic circumstances; believes that such a financial performance demonstrates that the co-operative model is as relevant and enduring today as when the business was founded over 150 years ago; commends Scotmid’s contribution to the Scottish economy as an employer of over 4,000 people; welcomes the firm’s strong commitment to fair trade and its support for the Think 25 policy, and wishes Scotmid every success in the future as a community business owned and democratically controlled by its members.

 

The Scottish Human Rights Commission Report on Historic Abuse in Scotland

That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Scottish Human Rights Commission report, A human rights framework for the design and implementation of the proposed "Acknowledgement and Accountability Forum" and other remedies for historic child abuse in Scotland; is encouraged by the announcement that a pilot forum will operate in Spring 2010 that will listen to and validate survivors’ experiences, create a historical record, signpost to services available and test out a confidential committee model, and notes that the commission believes that the pilot forum can play a valuable role in evaluating the steps required to secure effective access to justice, effective remedies and reparation for survivors of historic child abuse and that it has potential for identifying law, policy and practice changes at all relevant levels that would contribute to mitigating the risk of repetition of abuse.

 

April 2010

Congratulations to the "Herald "

That the Parliament congratulates The Herald on winning Newspaper of the Year at the 2010 Scottish Press Awards; also congratulates its Chief Reporter, Lucy Adams, on winning Journalist of the Year and Reporter of the Year; also commends the other journalists in the Herald and Times Group who were recognised with awards at the event; considers that local newspapers like the Evening Times have a vital campaigning role to play in highlighting issues at the heart of their communities, and also congratulates all those across Scotland who won awards and recognises their contribution to their local areas.

 

Journalist Team Award for Aberdeen "Evening Express"

That the Parliament congratulates all the winners at the Scottish Press Awards 2010, in particular the Aberdeen Evening Express on winning the Journalist Team award for its coverage of the North Sea helicopter tragedy on 1 April 2009; recognises the newspaper’s sensitive delivery of coverage of the event in which 16 people were tragically killed, and considers that regional and local newspapers play an important role in the north east and throughout Scotland.

 

 

Securing the Future of Glasgow’s Subway

That the Parliament welcomes Strathclyde Partnership for Transport’s decision to go ahead with its modernisation plan; recognises the important role that the subway plays in Glasgow’s transport infrastructure and its significance to Scotland, carrying an estimated 14 million passengers annually; notes that this will be the first major investment project for the service since the 1970s, and hopes that the proposals receive the support that they need to go ahead and that the modernisation keeps Glasgow moving into the future.

 

 

UNISON’s Green Workplace Project Wins Climate Challenge Funding

That the Parliament congratulates members of the South Lanarkshire branch of UNISON on being awarded £60,728 from the Climate Challenge Fund for their Green Workers project; notes that the project will work with UNISON members across a variety of South Lanarkshire-based organisations with the aim to raise awareness of the carbon footprints of members, give advice on how to reduce emissions and empower members to raise ideas on how to make a difference not only at home but in their workplace; further notes that the project will specifically encourage reduced emissions through energy efficiency and greener travel options and that members will have the opportunity to borrow energy monitors to check their energy use at home, and believes that the project demonstrates the contribution that trade unions can make to tackling climate change in the workplace and that similar projects will have an important role to play to help Scotland meet its climate change targets.

 

Lymphoedema Services in Scotland

That the Parliament welcomes the increased numbers of women surviving breast cancer in NHS Lothian but is concerned that many survivors are still at risk of developing lymphoedema; recognises the impact that lymphoedema has on quality of life in terms of movement, discomfort and appearance of the arm and other parts of the upper body; is further concerned that access to and provision of high-quality lymphoedema services varies across the country, and believes that a high quality and equitable service that meets the needs of people in Scotland with or at risk of lymphoedema is needed.

 

 

World Meningitis Day 24 April 2010

That the Parliament welcomes the second annual World Meningitis Day; applauds the work of the Meningitis Research Foundation in creating awareness about meningitis and septicaemia and funding research in order to prevent these diseases and improve survival rates and outcomes; notes that meningitis and septicaemia affected 139 people in Scotland in the last year, 64 of whom were under the age of five; further notes that these diseases cause up to seven deaths per week in the United Kingdom and Ireland; recognises that, although there are vaccines that provide excellent protection against certain strains of meningitis, there is no vaccine that can prevent all forms of the disease; notes that there are approximately 1.1 million cases of bacterial meningitis worldwide and 265,000 deaths due to the disease, and therefore welcomes the Meningitis Research Foundation’s work to ensure that the symptoms of meningitis are widely recognised in order to prevent further meningitis and septicaemia-related deaths.

 

MS Awareness Week 2010

That the Parliament notes that MS Awareness Week will take place from 26 April to 2 May 2010 with the theme of a right to a full life for those living with multiple sclerosis (MS); welcomes the launch earlier this year of neurological standards by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland that include MS-specific standards; notes that the MS Society Scotland, in conjunction with the Scottish Government, is to host a major international summit in Scotland on MS and vitamin D to be held during MS Awareness Week, and commends the society for the work that it does to raise awareness and provide support for people affected by the condition.

 

Polish President Lech Kaczynski

That the Parliament expresses deep sorrow following the death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, Maria Kaczynska, and 94 others, including representatives of the country’s highest authorities, high-level military and civilian leaders, the official delegation and all the crew who lost their lives in a plane crash on 10 April 2010 near Smolensk, Russia, as they travelled to ceremonies commemerating the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre; offers sincere condolences to the family of Polish President Lech Kaczynski, the families of all victims of the tragedy and the entire Polish people; recognises that Tomasz Trafas, the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Scotland, led tributes to President Lech Kaczynski at a meeting of the Cross-Party Group on Poland on 14 April 2010 before members of the group paid their respects to victims of the Smolensk tragedy by observing one minute’s silence; notes that members of the Cross-Party Group on Poland signed a book of condolence opened by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, and stands with all Polish nationals as they observe a period of national mourning from 10 to 17 April 2010.

 

Human Rights and the Sahrawi People

That the Parliament notes the award of the 2009 Per Anger Prize to Brahim Dahane for his commitment to the cause of human rights and his leadership of the Association Sahraouie Des Victimes des Violations Graves des Droits de l’Homme Commises par l’Etat du Maroc; notes and endorses the call by Amnesty International for an end to the harassment and intimidation of Sahrawi activists and agrees with Amnesty that Ahmed Alansari, Brahim Dahane, Yahdih Ettarouzi, Rachid Sghir, Ali Salem Tamek, and Saleh Labihi are prisoners of conscience; expresses its concern for the health of those prisoners currently on hunger strike in Salé Prison, near Rabat, and calls on the United Nations to renew its efforts to find a solution in the Western Sahara that supports the right of the Saharawi people to decide their future.

 

Sexual Trafficking of Men to Scotland

That the Parliament is deeply concerned at evidence from the NHS Open Road project that men are now being trafficked into Scotland for sexual purposes; notes that staff from the Open Road project report having been called on to assist in two separate cases in the past year where men had been trafficked from Africa to Scotland and forced into the sex trade; is concerned that this is evidence of sex traffickers expanding their activities in Scotland; calls on the Scottish and UK governments to take account of this development in the next update of their joint Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking, and pledges support for efforts to bring an end to the forced trafficking of human beings worldwide.

 

Exhibition on Israeli technology

That the Parliament notes the intended exhibition at Holyrood by the organisation, Scottish Friends of Israel, due to take place in the last week of April 2010, which will aim to promote Israel’s contribution to medicine, science and technology; recognises the deep feelings of anger that exist at the record of the Israeli Government’s treatment of Palestinians over decades and in particular the military action taken in recent years; is concerned that the planned exhibition could give the false impression that the Scottish Parliament as a body condones the record of the Israeli Government or wishes to promote the interests of that government; believes that the prolonged, brutal and unacceptable mistreatment of the Palestinians should be the central issue that the Parliament addresses in any events that relate to the Israel/Palestine situation, and invites those involved in organising the exhibition to reconsider their decision.

Remembering John Wheatley 80 years on

That the Parliament pays tribute to John Wheatley MP on the 80th anniversary of his death on 12 May 2010; notes that he emigrated with his family from County Waterford in Ireland to spend his formative years in Bargeddie, near Coatbridge; acknowledges the pioneering work that he undertook in attempting to alleviate poverty and social deprivation through his 1924 Housing Act, which contained a visionary 15-year plan based on rising central government subsidies to local government; recognises with concern, however, that, although Wheatley fully understood the link between housing and health, many of the inequalities that he endeavoured to abolish still exist today; believes that the fact that there are large discrepancies in life expectancy in modern day Scotland between the most affluent areas and those that suffer from inadequate housing and ill health is a national tragedy; would welcome an end to slum housing conditions, the introduction of rent controls and a massive building programme of new, modern, affordable council and social rented housing, and hopes that future housing legislation will be based on the premise that a house is a fundamental human right, not simply a commodity, and thus enshrine a right to rent.

Dundee College wins Five Business to College Awards

That the Parliament congratulates Dundee College on winning five awards at this year’s Business to College Awards; notes that Dundee College was named College of the Year, won the Impact Award - Private Sector for its work with Print Matters of Brechin and also came top in the Business Start-Up Award category with Discovery Packaging & Design; further notes that Dundee College won the Sustained Relationship Award in partnership with McGill Electrical and also won the Workforce Development Award after being nominated by Servite Housing Association; recognises the importance of the awards, which offer the opportunity for businesses to acknowledge colleges that have supported business sustainability, and further congratulates all the staff at Dundee College for the positive impact that they are having on the business community.

 

Bank on Owen

That the Parliament welcomes the launch of the Bank on Owen campaign, which aims to have Robert Owen of New Lanark commemorated on Scottish bank notes to mark the International Year of Cooperatives in 2012; recognises the contribution that Robert Owen made to Scottish society through his pioneering work at New Lanark where he championed co-operative principles and values; notes that the co-operative sector in Scotland is worth over £3 billion to the economy and that the co-operative business model has proven extremely resilient and reliable during the recent global economic upheaval, and would welcome widespread support for this proposal.

 

The Facts, Bad Housing and Homlessness for Children and Young People

That the Parliament expresses its concern regarding the findings of the report by Shelter, The facts: bad housing and homelessness for children and young people in Scotland 2010; notes that the report reveals that 22,000 children in Scotland are made homeless each year and also highlights the fact that one in 10 children live in fuel poverty; considers that this is a glaring indictment of the housing and fuel poverty programmes of the Scottish Government, and calls on the Scottish Government to take strenuous measures to reverse these trends.

 

Northern Ireland Committee Votes to Ban Snares

That the Parliament congratulates the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Environment Committee for taking decisive action to end the suffering to animals caused by snares; welcomes that the committee has voted to ban snares under the new Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill and considers that, in doing so, has taken a policy decision based on the clear evidence that snares cause suffering and the overwhelming public support for an end to the use of these cruel, indiscriminate traps, and therefore congratulates the League Against Cruel Sports for its efforts in raising awareness of the issue and presenting evidence of the cruelty of snaring to support this decision.

 

Committee Room Names

That the Parliament is seriously concerned about the inclusion of only one woman among the six Scots selected by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) for committee room names; believes that this reflects a one-sided and distorted view of Scotland; welcomes the fact that a hundred exceptional Scottish women are recorded on panels near the entrance hall of the Parliament; notes that other names of Scottish women were put forward for consideration for committee room names, and calls on the SPCB to reconsider the matter in recognition of the very many great Scottish women whose contribution, like that of Scottish women in general, is every bit as important and distinguished as that of men.

 

March 2010

Purple Day, Raising Awareness of Epilepsy

That the Parliament welcomes Purple Day on Friday 26 March 2010, which aims to raise awareness of epilepsy; notes that around 40,000 Scots are affected by epilepsy; hopes that MSPs and staff will show their support by wearing something purple on that day in order to support the national charity, Epilepsy Scotland, and wishes its chief executive the best of luck with her trek up the Great Glen to raise funds for the charity.

 

Celebrating the Scottish Football Museum

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Football Museum, Hampden Park, Glasgow, on achieving recognised status for its collection, awarded by Museum Galleries Scotland; further notes that Scotland was the first country in the world to establish a national football museum; considers that the Scottish Football Museum reflects many of the pioneering influences that Scotland has brought to the modern game of association football; wishes the Scottish museum a successful future, and would welcome admission to the Scottish Football Museum being free to maximise the number of visitors to the best football museum in the world.

 

Autism Ventures Scotland Launches First Social Firm

That the Parliament congratulates Autism Ventures Scotland on the opening of its first social firm, the gallery on the corner, which will offer six apprenticeships to young people with autism; notes that all the art and crafts on sale at the gallery will be created by artists who have experienced some form of disadvantage in their lives; recognises that the launch of the social firm is part of an overall strategy to support individuals with autism to lead the most productive and fulfilling lifestyles possible, and hopes that the gallery in the corner is the first of many social firms launched by Autism Ventures Scotland.

 

Travis Trek 6

That the Parliament congratulates Larkhall man Scott Cunningham and his guide dog, Travis, for their fundraising efforts on behalf of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, who have raised £85,000 since 2003; notes that on Sunday 28 March 2010 Scott and Travis will begin a seven-day trek along the West Highland Way, their sixth and final long-distance trek in aid of the charity, during which they hope to raise at least a further £15,000 thus breaking a total of £100,000; further notes that Travis is the holder of the title of Scottish Guide Dog of the Year 2009 in recognition of his outstanding efforts with Scott, and wishes both Scott and Travis every success in meeting their target and completing this trek.

 

Victory for Local Newspapers

That the Parliament considers the decision by the Scottish Government to drop its proposals for local authorities to publish public information notices online instead of in newspapers as part of a money-saving exercise a victory for local newspapers; believes that the proposals were deeply undemocratic due to the fact that many people still do not have access to the internet, including nine out of 10 single pensioners, 46% of single parents, 49% of single adults and 77% of couples of non-pensionable age; considers that the proposals could have resulted in changes being introduced in local areas without proper scrutiny and widespread public knowledge; is concerned that the proposals would have cost the newspaper industry up to £10 million in lost revenue; believes that local authorities have a duty to ensure that communities are properly informed about important decisions and to protect good local journalism, and congratulates all those involved in the campaign to support local newspapers, such as the Fife Free Press, that provide a good quality service.

 

A step forward in hospital

That the Parliament welcomes the introduction of the 4Cs system to the State Hospital, replacing the previous complaint system by introducing the possibility of compliments, comments, concerns and complaints, which has subsequently led to a decrease in the number of complex formal complaints and an increase in more productive and proactive comments emanating from useful community meetings and suggestion boxes; commends the positive effect that this had had on patients, who now feel able to get clarity on issues without launching formal complaints; considers that this is a positive step forward in increasing the opportunities for patients to provide feedback and to communicate with hospitals, and further commends this system for more general use in the NHS and other public services.

Scottish Newspaper Industry

That the Parliament notes the widespread opposition to the removal of public information notices (PINs) from local newspapers as proposed by the Scottish Government; notes that the consultation on PINs concluded on 12 February 2010; calls on the Scottish Government to listen to the views of all those who submitted to the consultation and to the outcome of the vote in the Scottish Parliament on 28 January 2010, with 74 to 48 in favour of the motion to withdraw the proposal; welcomes the Newspaper Summit on 13 February 2010, at which the industry’s opposition to the Scottish Government’s proposals was repeatedly raised, and further calls on the Scottish Government to withdraw the proposals as soon as possible

 

Celebrating Women’s International Day by Ending Abuse

That the Parliament joins with the European Network on Independent Living, Inclusion Scotland, Glasgow Disability Alliance and North Lanarkshire Disability Forum in celebrating International Women’s Day and in calling for an end to the continuing complacency that allows disabled women to be physically and sexually abused; understands that disabled women are twice as likely to experience abuse compared with other women and, in particular, that they are up to 10 times more likely to be abused if they are institutionalised, with the risk of abuse being highest for women with learning difficulties, intellectual impairments and those from the deaf community; recognises that all people have the right to live free from violence, abuse and dependency, and believes that disabled women do not want "care", dependency or institutionalising but instead wish to live independently with dignity, self-determination and control.

 

Minimum Unit Pricing , Is It Legal?

That the Parliament notes the ruling by the European Court of Justice that legislation in Austria, Ireland and France imposing a system of minimum retail selling prices for tobacco products may establish a competitive advantage for some manufacturers and importers and as such is not compatible with Article 9(1) of European Directive 95/59; considers that this is consistent with the comments in the Law Society of Scotland’s submission to the consultation on the Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Bill that there are issues of compatibility raised by the imposition of minimum pricing at EU level under various aspects of EU law including Directive 95/59; believes that, if the Scottish Government is confident that minimum unit pricing is fully consistent with EU law, it should share the substance of that legal advice with opposition parties; further believes that failure to do so will undermine the credibility of the Scottish Government’s position on minimum unit pricing, and calls on the Scottish Government to concentrate on measures that will fairly, effectively and legally tackle Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

 

Happy 10th. Birthday to Clowndoctors and Elderflowers

 

That the Parliament commends the work of the Hearts&Minds’ Clowndoctors and Elderflowers programmes; understands that these programmes aim to enhance the lives of people in hospital, hospice or residential care through interaction, communication and laughter; further understands that the Clowndoctors and Elderflowers are specially trained to work with children or elderly people in a healthcare setting, using artistic expression to help vulnerable people cope with feelings associated with their illness; recognises how beneficial their visits can be to patients and their families; congratulates Hearts&Minds for its success and expansion in the last 10 years, and encourages the continued support for this charity.

 

Quarriers Condemned Campaign

That the Parliament congratulates the young people associated with the Quarriers charity on the launch of the Condemned campaign on 10 June 2009; supports the campaign’s aim to raise awareness of the multiple challenges faced by young homeless people; congratulates Quarriers on its work to support and encourage young people to start their adult lives in as positive and constructive a manner as possible and in particular welcomes the work of Quarriers in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, and calls on the Scottish Executive to ensure that all of Scotland’s young people have access to adequate housing and the appropriate support.

International Women’s Day

That the Parliament notes International Women’s Day on 8 March 2010; welcomes that this day will be marked in the Scottish Parliament chamber on Saturday 6 March as well as with 216 other events across the United Kingdom; believes that this day provides an opportunity to celebrate the central role of women in society, among many other things supporting their families and holding communities together in tough economic times; regrets that too many women in Scotland and across the world remain the victims of abuse, discrimination, violence and exploitation; considers that, despite progress on equality, women are still likely to be paid less than men, are underrepresented in positions of power and face discrimination in all aspects of their social and working lives, and believes that International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to restate a commitment to securing equality for women and reaffirm the need to ensure that government at every level acts to improve the position of women and address all the barriers that prevent women from being safe and achieving their full potential.

 

The Future of Library Services

That the Parliament applauds the contribution made by libraries and library staff, which it considers to be essential to the social, cultural and economic wellbeing of Scotland’s communities for the past 150 years, including those in the Highlands and Islands; understands that more people in Scotland visit libraries than football matches or cinemas; considers that, despite investment in the library service, more work needs to be done to keep libraries central to their communities; welcomes Unison’s Love Your Libraries campaign, which will assess the major contribution made by those working in the library service and library users and make recommendations on safeguarding the future of the library service, and believes that all options should be considered to ensure the long-term viability of this essential service.

Industrial Communities Alliance, the Real Impact of the Recession

That the Parliament notes the report by the Industrial Communities Alliance (ICA), The Impact of Recession on Unemployment in Industrial Britain; considers that the current recession has greatly affected Scotland's former industrial communities, including in Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley and the South of Scotland; welcomes the continued efforts of the ICA to influence policies, and would welcome detailed examination of the report and engagement with the ICA on the reports’ recommendations.

Tackling Homophobic Bullying in Schools

That the Parliament welcomes Stonewall Scotland’s FIT DVD, to be launched on Tuesday 9 March 2010, a new film produced to tackle homophobic bullying and gender stereotyping in schools, which will be delivered to every school in Scotland during March; applauds the presentation of information in a style that young people can relate to and talk about; notes that the DVD provides teacher guidance on meeting a wide range of Curriculum for Excellence outcomes; further notes that, according to Stonewall’s 2009 research, The Teachers' Report, 90% of secondary school teachers believes that lesbian and gay issues should be addressed through the curriculum and nine out of 10 secondary school teachers have witnessed young people experiencing homophobic bullying, name-calling or harassment in their schools; acknowledges the steps taken by the Scottish Government and its predecessor to combat homophobic bullying, and considers that local authorities have an important role in building the skills and confidence of Scotland’s teachers in dealing with the issues in the DVD.

 

Kinship Care Allowance Cuts

As an amendment to motion S3M-5885 in the name of Christopher Harvie (Kinship Care Allowance Cuts), leave out from "notes" to end and insert "further considers, however, that the concordat commitment to ensure that all kinship carers of looked-after children in Scotland are paid the recommended allowance for foster carers within the lifetime of the Parliament has been dropped by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, despite the commitments given in the chamber by the First Minister on 27 September 2007 and the Minister for Children and Early Years on 11 December 2008; believes that, while broken promises have become the hallmark of the current SNP administration, this is particularly regrettable given that it concerns some of Scotland's most vulnerable children and their carers, many of whom are older people, and calls on government at every level to work together to secure the best outcome for children being looked after by kinship carers."

 

Some people are gay, get over it!

That the Parliament notes its concern at findings by Stonewall Scotland that indicate that two thirds of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community in Edinburgh have been victims of verbal assault while one third have been physically attacked; is further concerned at recent news reports of homophobic bullying; welcomes the Stonewall Scotland campaign, Some people are gay. Get over it!, which has been taken up by the Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership in collaboration with Stonewall Scotland to stress that homophobic and transphobic hate crime will not be tolerated; encourages people who are the victims of homophobic hate crimes to report them to the police; further welcomes the Lothian and Borders Police Safer Communities Department’s commitment not to tolerate any sort of discrimination in Edinburgh and its stated pride in the city’s multicultural communities, and supports the view that all forms of bullying are unacceptable and have no place in Scottish society.

 

Plugged in to Ultra-Low carbon vehicles

That the Parliament welcomes the UK Government’s action to boost the UK’s low-carbon supply chain by introducing its £230 million ultra-low-carbon vehicle incentive programme and in particular measures that offer UK consumers a discount of up to £5,000 off the cost of environmentally friendly vehicles, including electric and plug-in hybrid cars; further welcomes the UK Government’s announcement of a £30 million fund for a network of plugged-in places, a network of electric vehicle hubs, that will see battery charging infrastructure appearing in car parks, major supermarkets, leisure centres, retail centres and on streets; recognises the crucial role that more environmentally friendly vehicles could play in bringing down the UK’s carbon emissions and the importance of early market creation and adequate infrastructure provision for such vehicles, and applauds the hard work of organisations such as Europe’s largest independent lithium-ion battery systems supplier, Axeon, in pioneering research and development to significantly improve the commercial viability of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

BBC Asian Network and BBC6 Music

That the Parliament notes that the BBC’s first public purpose is to "represent the different nations, regions and communities to the rest of the UK"; believes that the BBC Asian Network plays an important role in fostering cross-community cohesion; further believes that BBC 6 Music plays an important role in the development of Scotland’s contemporary cultural output and provides a platform for new and innovative artists, and calls on the BBC Trust to review its proposals to close down the BBC Asian Network and BBC 6 Music.

 

Celebrating 10 years of renewable energy and efficiency

That the Parliament notes that the Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency will mark its 10th anniversary on 5 April 2010; considers that it has a unique role as a forum for the exchange of ideas and development of policy, bringing together parliamentarians and representatives from industry, academia, non-governmental organisations and civic society over the first 10 years of the Parliament; congratulates its 700-plus membership for their support for the efficient use of sustainable energy for the economic, environmental and social good of Scotland, and applauds Robin Harper’s role as the longest continuously serving convener of a cross-party group in the Scottish Parliament.

 

Motion proposed by Marlyn Glen

Specialist Police Units Tackling Complex Offences such as e-crime and Murder

That the Parliament applauds the call by Tayside Police Chief Constable Justine Curran to extend co-operative working between forces to deal with complex offences such as e-crime and murder and issues such as human trafficking for the sex trade; notes that Tayside Police and two other forces already work together on firearms, and believes that shared units to deal with these complex crimes would help deal with more cases and build specialist expertise in our police forces.

Motion proposed by Marlyn Glen

Fair Care for Parkinson’s

That the Parliament endorses the Parkinson’s Disease Society’s Fair Care for Parkinson’s campaign, which aims to ensure that everyone affected by Parkinson’s receives the information, care and support that they need; recognises that there are about 10,000 people with Parkinson’s in Scotland; welcomes the publication of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland’s (NHS QIS) Clinical Standards - Neurological Health Services, which outlines the support that all NHS boards should provide for people with Parkinson’s and their carers, including diagnosis and review from a doctor specialising in Parkinson’s, ongoing access to a multidisciplinary team, including a Parkinson’s specialist nurse, and measures to make sure that people get their Parkinson’s medication on time every time; further welcomes the publication of Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) Guideline no. 113, Diagnosis and pharmacological management of Parkinson’s disease, and, in particular, its recommendation that everyone with suspected Parkinson’s should be referred untreated to a doctor specialising in Parkinson’s to reduce high rates of misdiagnosis, and believes that full implementation of the NHS QIS clinical standards and SIGN guideline is essential to improve NHS care for people with Parkinson’s wherever they live in Scotland.

 

Motion proposed by Marlyn Glen

Diana and Actaeon come to the newly restored McManus, Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum

That the Parliament congratulates those involved in bringing the £50 million Titian masterpiece, Diana and Actaeon, to Dundee; recognises that Diana and Actaeon has been seen by thousands of people in London and Edinburgh in the past year and that there has been a vigorous campaign to ensure that it receives the widest possible audience; notes that this announcement comes on the first anniversary of its acquisition by the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery in London and celebrates the partnership between these British cultural institutions; further notes that this prestigious national acquisition will be hosted in the newly restored McManus, Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum, following its exhibition in Aberdeen and Glasgow, and believes that this positive message from the national galleries illustrates Dundee’s status as a growing centre of culture.

 

Motion proposed by Marlyn Glen

First Female Chief Constable in Tayside, Second in Scotland

That the Parliament congratulates Tayside Police on the appointment of the first female Chief Constable in Tayside and second in Scotland; further congratulates Chief Constable Justine Curran, and is confident that this will mark yet another step towards the fair and equal representation of women in the leading positions in public services in Scotland.

 

Amendment proposed by Marlyn Glen

Why must our Children Pay?

As an amendment to motion S3M-5489 in the name of Ken Macintosh (Why Must Our Children Pay?), insert at end "; further calls for support for the EIS march and rally, Against Budget Cuts in Education, on 6 March 2010 in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, and commends the EIS on its campaign activities on behalf of young people and schools".

 

Michael Foot

That the Parliament notes with great sadness the passing of Michael Foot (1913-2010) at the age of 96; recognises his dedication to the Labour Party, the Labour movement, the cause of socialism and to British parliamentary democracy; acknowledges his lifelong and inspirational commitment to peace and justice, giving voice to those who opposed apartheid in South Africa, to those who fought injustice at home and across the world, and in championing British unilateral nuclear disarmament; considers that he made a huge contribution as a minister and as the leader of the Labour Party in fighting tirelessly during times of a global energy crisis and domestic economic breakdown to protect the most vulnerable; recognises that Michael Foot was a man deeply passionate about politics, literature and learning, devoted to the Labour Party and his beloved Plymouth Argyle FC, and considers that he fought tirelessly for his values and beliefs, was one of the most eloquent speakers to ever grace the House of Commons, that his legacy, in word and action, speaks to a life well lived in the service of others and that this finest of examples of a politician of honesty, decency, integrity, humanity and compassion will be sadly missed.

 

Plugged-in to Ulra-low-carbon Vehicles

That the Parliament welcomes the UK Government’s action to boost the UK’s low-carbon supply chain by introducing its £230 million ultra-low-carbon vehicle incentive programme and in particular measures that offer UK consumers a discount of up to £5,000 off the cost of environmentally friendly vehicles, including electric and plug-in hybrid cars; further welcomes the UK Government’s announcement of a £30 million fund for a network of plugged-in places, a network of electric vehicle hubs, that will see battery charging infrastructure appearing in car parks, major supermarkets, leisure centres, retail centres and on streets; recognises the crucial role more environmentally friendly vehicles could play in bringing down the UK’s carbon emissions and the importance of early market creation and adequate infrastructure provision for such vehicles, and applauds the hard work of organisations such as Europe’s largest independent lithium-ion battery systems supplier, Axeon, in pioneering research and development to significantly improve the commercial viability of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

 

BBC Asian and BBC 6 Music

 

That the Parliament notes that the BBC’s first public purpose is to "represent the different nations, regions and communities to the rest of the UK"; believes that the BBC Asian Network plays an important role in fostering cross-community cohesion; further believes that BBC 6 Music plays an important role in the development of Scotland’s contemporary cultural output and provides a platform for new and innovative artists, and calls on the BBC Trust to review its proposals to close down the BBC Asian Network and BBC 6 Music.

 

Celebrating 10 Years of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

That the Parliament notes that the Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency will mark its 10th anniversary on 5 April 2010; considers that it has a unique role as a forum for the exchange of ideas and development of policy, bringing together parliamentarians and representatives from industry, academia, non-governmental organisations and civic society over the first 10 years of the Parliament; congratulates its 700-plus membership for their support for the efficient use of sustainable energy for the economic, environmental and social good of Scotland, and applauds Robin Harper’s role as the longest continuously-serving convener of a cross-party group in the Scottish Parliament.

 

Give Me a Chance, Be Fair to a Child in Care Campaign

That the Parliament supports the recent launch of the Give me a Chance, Be Fair to a Child in Care campaign, which is a call from the children themselves to members of the Scottish public asking them to improve their attitudes toward children in residential care; acknowledges the importance of such a campaign in helping to tackle the prejudices and reduce the stigma faced by Scotland’s most vulnerable young people; further acknowledges the efforts made by the charity behind this campaign in its efforts to raise awareness of this serious issue and to dispel many of the misconceptions that currently exist; believes that the success of this campaign is vital for the wellbeing and security of children currently dependent on residential care, and admires the children involved for actively working to make their lives and those of other children better.

 

25th. Anniversary of the Scottish Refugee Council

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Refugee Council on 25 years of providing practical help and moral support to people who have come to Scotland to escape persecution and human rights abuses in their own countries; notes that, since its inception in 1985, the Scottish Refugee Council has co-ordinated protection programmes for refugees from Vietnam, Chile, Bosnia and Kosovo and now assists independent asylum seekers from countries across the world; further notes that in 2008 almost 3,000 people were supported through the asylum process in Scotland; believes that in 2010 the work done by the Scottish Refugee Council to assist and support people seeking asylum, promote public understanding of refugee issues and promote dialogue and integration within and between Scotland’s diverse communities is more vital then ever, and fully supports the Scottish Refugee Council’s aim of securing for Scotland and the UK a humane asylum policy that respects and protects individual and collective social welfare and human rights.

 

No Smoking Day 2010

That the Parliament congratulates the No Smoking Day charity on its 27th annual public health campaign, which will take place on 10 March 2010; notes that one in 10 smokers in Scotland made a quit attempt on No Smoking Day last year; further notes that smoking remains the number one cause of premature avoidable death in Scotland with 13,500 deaths due to smoking every year, and considers that there is a need for continued support of No Smoking Day.

Save the Children’s Museum of Poverty

That the Parliament welcomes Save the Children’s Museum of Poverty coming to the Parliament to highlight the impact of child poverty in Scotland and the steps that need to be taken to eradicate it once and for all; congratulates the young people and parents from Glasgow and Glasgow Shettleston who created the Museum of Poverty and who have themselves experienced poverty; welcomes them to the Parliament for a reception on Thursday 4 March 2010; recognises, during the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, the importance of such awareness-raising work in consigning poverty to history; notes with concern that 240,000 children still live in poverty in Scotland, 95,000 of whom live in severe poverty; and this means that children and parents are missing out on everyday essentials such as food and clothing and cannot afford things that most families take for granted, such as celebrating a birthday or having a short family holiday; believes that every child deserves a fair chance in life, all are born equal and none should be left behind and that it is not fair that any child grows up in poverty; acknowledges that child poverty remains a significant concern and further action is needed to tackle it, and calls on the Scottish Government, alongside other key stakeholders, to make child poverty history once and for all.

 

Scottish Defence League Not Welcome in Lockerbie

That the Parliament deplores the announcement by the so-called Scottish Defence League that it intends to march in Lockerbie on 27 March 2010; believes that this is an extremist group trying to use the Lockerbie tragedy of 1988 to spread its racist and anti-Islamic views; further believes that this event would be an affront to the people of Lockerbie, to the 270 people who lost their lives in the tragedy and to their families, and calls on the Scottish and English Defence Leagues to call off this march forthwith.

 

February 2010

The Re-opening of Blackford Railway Station

That the Parliament supports calls for the re-opening of Blackford railway station which is strategically situated adjacent to the A9 between Stirling and Perth; considers that re-opening the station will provide widespread economic, environmental and social benefits, forming an integral part of the future regional transport strategy in the area; commends COBRA, the Campaign to Open Blackford Railway-station Again, for its sterling work on championing the views of local residents, businesses and visitors who see the value in re-opening the station; notes that the eyes of the world will be focused on the area when the Ryder Cup comes to Gleneagles in 2014, and recognises the importance of providing an integrated, safe and efficient transport network to the thousands of visitors who will attend the event.

 

International Rare Disease Day

That the Parliament welcomes the third International Rare Disease Day on 28 February 2010; notes that there are over 6,000 rare diseases affecting approximately 300,000 people in Scotland; supports the focus of this year’s Rare Disease Day on the importance of research for the majority of rare disease patients who are without adequate treatment or a cure, and joins Rare Disease UK in calling on the Scottish Government to build on the strong research and development base in Scotland to develop a framework to encourage further research and development for rare diseases and develop a strategy and implementation plan for their diagnosis and management.

 

Scrap and Build Better Buses Made in Scotland

That the Parliament notes that some transport authorities have secured better value for money when tendering for bus services by purchasing vehicles themselves rather than incurring costs that include a vehicle supplied by the bidders; further notes the flexibility and efficiency of the five Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) ALX 300 buses operating in the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport area, which are fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and which have variable numbers of seats in various configurations enabling one vehicle to be used for demand-responsive services, school services and local scheduled bus services in the course of a single day; considers that, to the proven efficiency and social benefits of such buses should be added the environmental and jobs benefits of increasing production of ADL’s new hybrid bus, which is compliant with both DDA requirements and with emissions targets; but notes with concern that over 900 workers at ADL, Scotland's sole bus manufacturer, are on a three-day week, and calls on the Scottish Government, as a matter of urgency, to fund grants for acquisition of ADL buses by transport authorities and by commercial bus operators to ensure a new generation of bus-build that secures Scottish jobs and skills, world-class bus manufacturing in Falkirk and the provision of world-class transport for the Scottish public.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2010

That the Parliament welcomes Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 22 February to 7 March 2010; applauds the efforts of church groups, charities, schools and individuals in promoting the benefits of fair trade in Scotland; considers that the fair trade movement has already made a positive difference to the lives of thousands of people and communities across the globe; recognises that the fair trade concept is based on traditional cooperative principles of community ownership, concern for communities and democratic membership control; notes that estimated sales of fair trade products across the United Kingdom total over £700 million; welcomes moves to establish a cross-party group on fair trade in the Scottish Parliament; notes the continuing success of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, established in January 2007, ahead of its third Fairtrade Fortnight tour of Scotland; notes that the tour will cover 15 local authority areas in order to raise awareness of the final push to make Scotland the world's second Fair Trade nation by the end of 2011, and would welcome as many schools, local authorities, further and higher education establishments and businesses as possible striving to achieve fair trade status.

World Plumbing Day

That the Parliament recognises the importance of World Plumbing Day 2010, taking place on 11 March, and its aim of highlighting the role of the plumbing industry in relation to health through the provision of safe water and sanitation; recognises the environmental role of the industry in water conservation and in energy efficiency and the increasing use of renewable sources of energy; notes that it is estimated that 3.1 million children die each year as a result of water-related diseases, and congratulates the World Plumbing Council on its role in promoting the importance of the plumbing industry both in developed countries and in developing countries where good plumbing has the potential to save lives.

Support Freedom Week

That the Parliament expresses its support for Freedom Week, the global campaign for schools and young people to raise awareness of human trafficking, which will take place from 8 to 14 March 2010; commends Freedom Week’s aims of raising awareness among young people of what human trafficking is, how it affects their lives and what they can do to help fight it, and encourages schools and young people across Scotland to sign up to the campaign at www.startfreedom.org and join the fight to stop human trafficking.

Dick Gaughan

That the Parliament congratulates Dick Gaughan on his Lifetime Achievement Award presented at this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; notes that this follows his recent induction into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame; believes that, as songwriter, performer and social commentator, Dick Gaughan exemplifies the best of Scottish culture, and hopes that these awards will lead to further success and recognition of his talents and also will help to promote and encourage support for the living tradition of Scotland’s folk music and arts.

 

Haggeye in the Parliament

That the Parliament was pleased to welcome the presence in the Parliament last week of Haggeye, the forum for blind and partially sighted young people in Scotland, as part of the Community Partnerships Project, which also involved Multi Ethnic Aberdeen Ltd and Action For Children; congratulates Haggeye on its enthusiastic engagement with the project through an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of important issues for blind and partially sighted young people in Scotland, most recently by promoting RNIB Scotland's What Would You Lose campaign in the Parliament, and calls on parliamentarians to continue to show support for initiatives such as Haggeye.

 

Fairtrade Fortnight 2010

That the Parliament welcomes the Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 campaign, the Big Swap, from 22 February to 7 March 2010, which encourages shoppers to use their consumer power to swap their usual purchases for the fair trade equivalent; acknowledges the growing range of fair trade goods now available online at http://www.fairtrade.org.uk, in local shops and in supermarkets, from bananas and body wash to wine and bed linen; considers that fair trade has a huge impact on making the world a fairer place by giving developing world producers a better deal for the work that they do; further considers that the Scottish Fair Trade Forum makes an important contribution in highlighting the positive impact that Scots buying fair trade can have on producer countries such as Malawi, and welcomes further efforts towards making Scotland a Fair Trade nation.

Robin Hood Tax

That the Parliament commends the campaigners behind the Robin Hood Tax, a proposal to levy an average 0.05% tax on speculative banking transactions and spend the many billions of pounds raised on protecting vital public services and on fighting poverty and climate change; notes that there is support for the Robin Hood Tax from organisations including Oxfam, the New Economics Foundation, People & Planet, Barnardo’s and a host of others; believes that, after the crisis in banking and the huge public bailout that followed, this proposal is not only necessary but also an entirely desirable way of moving toward a fairer and more sustainable economy, and urges the Scottish Government to lend its support to the campaign, which can be found at http://robinhoodtax.org.uk.

 

First Scotrail Industrial Relations

That the Parliament understands that a provision exists in the First ScotRail franchise agreement that provides the Scottish Government with discretionary powers to reimburse the company for revenues lost due to industrial action; supports the position of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) that it is wholly wrong for public funds to be used to support private companies such as First ScotRail in disputes with trade unions; also agrees with the STUC that the provision and use of such powers is not conducive to good industrial relations as it weakens the incentive for private companies to reach agreement; further supports the view of the STUC that such powers should not be used in the event of industrial action in the current dispute between First ScotRail and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT); welcomes the fact that the Scottish Government has been in dialogue with the RMT over the issues involved in the dispute, and believes that the interests of constituents in Coatbridge and Chryston, passengers, rail workers and Scotland would be best served by an early and agreed negotiated settlement to end this dispute.

 

Freeze out Fuel Poverty for Cancer Patients

That the Parliament notes that cancer patients can pay higher fuel bills because they spend long periods at home during recovery and the effects of the illness and treatment can mean that they face higher bills because they feel the cold more and need to use more heating; is concerned, however, that this comes at a time when, for many patients, their income has fallen dramatically; understands that the Scottish Government’s Energy Assistance Package does not include cancer patients as a vulnerable group that can benefit, and believes that a diagnosis of cancer should be a key point at which patients are referred to sources of help such as the Energy Assistance Package and that cancer patients should have the same rights and support as other vulnerable people.

 

Love Maggie’s Day

That the Parliament supports the first ever Love Maggie’s Day on 26 March 2010; welcomes the fact that past, present and future fundraisers are being encouraged to do an activity that they love or for someone they love in the lead up to the event; notes that the day will be celebrated in each region across Scotland and that supporters will meet at Maggie’s centres and form a chain to hug the building; considers Love Maggie’s Day to be an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the support that Maggie’s offers people living with, through and beyond cancer and how important fundraising is to these services; recognises that the Maggie’s Centre in Fife provides great comfort and hope to the people of Fife and their families who are affected by cancer, and congratulates the staff in the Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy for the quality of care and services provided.

 

WWF Earth Hour 2010

That the Parliament supports WWF’s Earth Hour 2010, in which, at 8.30pm on Saturday 27 March, thousands of people all over Scotland will join hundreds of millions across the globe in switching off their lights for 60 minutes in a demonstration of support for people and wildlife threatened by climate change; urges all local authorities and other public bodies to sign up to Earth Hour; considers that the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen failed to establish a sufficiently ambitious or binding framework capable of tackling the threat of climate change; considers that Scotland has shown leadership by setting the world’s strongest statutory greenhouse gas targets, and calls on all nations to agree a legally binding global deal this year that sets stringent carbon emissions reduction targets at global and national levels.

 

LGBT Centre Addressing Health Inequalities

That the Parliament congratulates the Edinburgh-based LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing for the valuable and essential services that it provides to promote the mental health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland; understands that, while there have been significant positive changes in legislation over the past decade, the everyday experience of LGBT people is that discrimination, prejudice and hate crime continue, which can have a devastating effect on self-esteem and lead to poor mental and physical health; supports the charity’s vital work to address social isolation, poor mental health and health inequalities among one of Scotland’s most invisible minorities, and wishes the charity every success in its vision of a Scotland where sexual orientation and gender identity do not act as barriers to accessing services or are indicators of poor health outcomes.

 

Civil Service Compensation

That the Parliament recognises the essential work done by civil servants across all Scottish and UK government departments; considers that, without the dedication and professionalism of civil servants, government would be unable to function effectively; therefore expresses deep concern at proposed changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, published by the Cabinet Office, that would leave many civil servants worse off in the event of voluntary or compulsory redundancy; is concerned that such a change could lead to civil servants losing over 50% of their redundancy entitlement; believes that the UK and Scottish governments should be looking, during these difficult times, to protect those who have given loyal service over a large number of years, and urges the UK Government to re-examine these proposals urgently before they are implemented.

Report on Female Offenders in the Criminal Justice System

That the Parliament notes the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Equal Opportunities Committee’s 3rd Report 2009 (Session 3): Female offenders in the criminal justice system (SP Paper 332).

Dementia 2010, Better Funding for Alzheimer’s Disease

That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the report, Dementia 2010, by the Alzheimer’s Research Trust; notes that the report estimates that dementia currently costs £23 billion in the United Kingdom, with £12 billion of this being met by unpaid carers supporting people with dementia at home; is concerned by the findings that, per person, dementia costs twice as much as cancer and three times as much as heart disease, yet, for every £1 that is spent on dementia research, £15 is spent on heart disease and £26 is spent on cancer research; agrees that, with an aging population, dementia represents one of the greatest medical challenges for the 21st century and research should therefore be appropriately funded; supports Alzheimer Scotland’s proposal for a change fund of £15 million per year over the next five years to assist local authorities and NHS boards to direct resources into early intervention and personalised support for people with dementia and their carers; believes that this change fund should form part of the forthcoming national dementia strategy; notes the recent appointment of Professor Alistair Burns as national dementia tsar responsible for leading the UK Government’s dementia strategy in England, and calls on the Scottish Government to appoint an equivalent tsar in Scotland not only to provide leadership and co-ordination for the dementia strategy in Scotland, but also to ensure that the rights of people with dementia and their carers are championed across the public and private sector.

 

Disasters Emergency Committee

That the Parliament commends the work of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in providing humanitarian aid to the victims of the Haitian earthquake; acknowledges that the DEC, an umbrella organisation for humanitarian aid agencies in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, consists of Action Aid, the British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision;considers that, at times of overseas emergency, the DEC brings together a unique alliance of aid, corporate, public and broadcasting sectors to rally the public’s compassion and ensure that funds raised go to the DEC agencies that are well placed to deliver effective and timely relief to people most in need; believes that the DEC in Scotland could not provide vital aid to those in need without the remarkable generosity shown by the Scottish people in their response to this and many other disasters, and hopes that the public and civic society will continue to give whatever they can afford to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal to fund the essential aid required to meet both immediate need and to help rebuild people’s lives and livelihoods in Haiti in the longer term.

 

The Future of Royal Mail

That the Parliament believes that the public service ethos of Royal Mail and its staff should be reflected in the new leadership of Royal Mail; further notes that the Hooper review on the future of Royal Mail agreed that the pension fund deficit had to be addressed if the company was to have a future; further understands that the deficit can be addressed under existing legislation; welcomes the recognition by Lord Mandelson that the UK Government has a moral obligation to fund the deficit, and believes that this should be resolved as a matter of urgency.

 

Scottish Government Blocking Public Right to Freedom of Information

That the Parliament is appalled at the Scottish Government’s refusal to provide information to applicants under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 when the request is in the form of a request for a copy of a document; considers that the attitude of the Scottish Government on this matter is a transparent breach of the obligations imposed on the Scottish Government under the Act; notes the terms of the Scottish Information Commissioner’s Guidance on validity of FOI requests following Court of Session Opinion on 30 September 2009, dated 27 January 2010, that a public authority that is asked for a copy of a document should respond to the request as one properly made under the Act if it is reasonably clear that the request is for the information contained in the document; urges the Scottish Government and its directorates and agencies to carry out their obligations under the Act fully and in a spirit of maximum transparency, and condemns the actions of any government that seeks to keep secret important information to which the public has a right of access.

 

Free prescriptions for cancer patients

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish National Party’s Angus MacNeil MP for originally supporting Early Day Motion (EDM) 641 on prescription charges; notes that the motion suggests that the Scottish Government should follow the lead of the UK Government in exempting cancer patients from prescription charges; further notes that cancer patients in England have enjoyed free prescriptions since April 2009, whereas in Scotland they will be required to pay £3 per prescription until 1 April 2010; shares the disappointment of those who supported EDM 641 that the Scottish Government has not acted on this quickly; regrets that the SNP has broken promises from its 2005 and 2007 election manifestos when it stated that it would end prescription charges for cancer patients immediately, and calls on SNP members to pay heed to the sensible view of their colleague at Westminster.

 

First Woman in Fife confirmed as a FIFA Assistant Referee

That the Parliament congratulates Lorraine Clark, the first woman in Fife to be confirmed as a FIFA assistant referee; notes that the 24-year-old has been involved in refereeing for eight years and has been overseeing local games at a semi-professional level; commends the fact that, now that her nomination has been confirmed by FIFA, Lorraine will officiate in international, European Championship and World Cup qualifying matches; recognises the support that Lorraine has had from her colleagues in the Fife Referee Association and Kirkcaldy Area Sports Council, and welcomes Lorraine’s achievements, which make her a role model for young women in Fife interested in sports.

 

NUS Scotland’s Parent Trap Campaign

That the Parliament supports efforts to encourage student parents to access college and university education in Scotland; congratulates the National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland Parent Trap campaign on its work in making the case for greater levels of support for childcare for student parents; believes there to have been significant problems with childcare funding over the last two years, including a number of institutions running out of funds entirely; welcomes the Scottish Government’s announcement of £2 million additional funding for childcare and a review of the current system and considers that pressure from opposition parties and the NUS played an important role in making the case for such a decision, and calls on the Scottish Government to look at ways to end the postcode lottery in the provision of help with childcare across further and higher education.

 

 

We want our missing millions

That the Parliament welcomes the We want our missing millions campaign by the organisation, for Scotland’s Disabled Children; notes that the campaign seeks to secure £11.3 million from the Scottish Government for Scotland’s disabled children, representing the final third of £34 million intended to support disabled children and young people, and believes that the Scottish Government should take steps to ensure that local authorities spend their share of the £11.3 million on support for disabled children and young people in their areas.

 

Save the Children Report Measuring Severe Poverty in the UK

That the Parliament welcomes the publication by Save the Children of its report, Measuring Severe Child Poverty in the UK; notes with concern that the report found that 95,000 children across Scotland continue to live in severe poverty, equating to 9% of all Scottish children; considers that progress in eradicating child poverty in Scotland has stalled as the number of children living in severe poverty remained constant at between 8% and 9% from 2004-05 to 2007-08; urges the Scottish Government and the UK Government to deliver more focused action to achieve the overdue eradication of child poverty in Scotland by 2020; agrees that concerted policy action must be undertaken to (a) remove barriers to parental employment, (b) ensure that the poorest do not pay the price for the economic crisis, (c) make the tax and benefit system work for the poorest families, (d) support families to reduce their expenditure and (e) break the link between poverty and educational achievement; recognises the importance of the proposals put forward by the Liberal Democrats to address poverty, notably measures to realign the tax system to ensure fairness to those at the lower end of the income spectrum by setting the annual tax threshold at £10,000, thereby cutting the average tax bill by £700 and taking four million people out of the income tax net altogether, and to introduce a mansion tax on homes valued at over £2 million, and believes that all children are born equal and none should be left behind.

 

 

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual ands Transgender History Month

That the Parliament notes that February is LGBT History Month and that a number of events will take place to celebrate the contribution of LGBT people to Scotland’s past and, just as importantly, its future; deeply regrets the persecution of the past and expresses gratitude to those who stood against it; affirms that LGBT history is an important part of Scottish history and, as such, the whole country should mark this event with pride; considers that, while huge strides have been taken towards acceptance of gay and transgender people, so long as intolerance and homophobia exists everybody must work hard to combat it wherever it presents itself; resolves to create a tolerant society where young people can grow up without fear of prejudice, and affirms the pride that Scotland can take in its LGBT community and its importance to the nation.

Lodged on Wednesday, January 27, 2010; Current

 

A Deafening Silence

That the Parliament notes the recent report, Diabetes UK survey of people with diabetes and access to healthcare services 2009, which reveals that children and young people with diabetes feel that they are being ignored and disenfranchised; further notes that 56% of children and young people want to see better communication between their diabetes care team and schools so that they can receive the necessary joined-up support to manage their diabetes better; believes that hundreds of children and teenagers with diabetes in Scotland are at risk of developing serious health complications because they feel that healthcare professionals and schools do not always listen to their needs and help them control their diabetes, and calls for improved provision of and access to educational and psychological support for children and young people with diabetes in Scotland.

 

Congratulations to Habib Malik, Winner of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2010

That the Parliament warmly congratulates Habib Malik, Scotland area manager of Islamic Relief and a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee, as the winner of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2010; recognises his personal commitment as an aid worker who has dedicated his life to assisting those in need in many places around the world, including the Swat region of Pakistan, Kashmir, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Niger, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Gaza, Pakistan and recently Haiti, and further recognises the good work of Islamic Relief across the world.

 

RSAMD’s New Dance School at Spiers Lock, Glasgow

That the Parliament welcomes the news that the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama will open a new dance school in the Spiers Lock area of Glasgow later this year; notes that the development of this new £6.3 million campus will be the first part of a three-stage process to expand the academy’s facilities taking it a step closer to its aim of becoming the United Kingdom’s finest conservatoire; further notes that the new dance school will sit in close proximity to the Scottish Opera facilities and National Theatre of Scotland offices at Spiers Lock, and welcomes this important addition to Spiers Lock as a cultural quarter in Glasgow.

 

Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering and Adoption Week

That the Parliament notes that the Fostering Network has calculated that Scotland needs an extra 1,700 carers; notes research from Barnardo’s indicating that people in Scotland are the least likely to consider fostering and that a perceived lack of training and support is the most common reason for this; recognises the dedication of Scotland’s foster carers; believes that fostering not only provides a loving home for some of the most vulnerable children in Scotland but can also be immensely rewarding to those who foster; welcomes the launch of Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering and Adoption Week on 18 January 2010 as one of a range of initiatives that will encourage more Scots to consider fostering, and congratulates Barnardo’s Scotland Fostering service in Glasgow for the work that it does in finding placements for children under the age of 13 with emotional and behavioural difficulties and for the training and support that it offers foster carers and potential foster carers.

 

January 2010

Cadbury, Kraft and Fairtrade

That the Parliament notes the proposed takeover of Cadbury by the American firm, Kraft Foods; notes Cadbury’s commitment to Fairtrade for its flagship Cadbury Dairy Milk brand and other products; notes the work of the ground-breaking Cadbury Cocoa Partnership that Cadbury established in 2008 with the United Nations Development Programme and the governments, farmers and communities of Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean, and calls on Kraft to continue and build on Cadbury’s commitment to Fairtrade and the cocoa partnership.

 

UK Government Consultation on Post Bank

That the Parliament welcomes the consultation on the proposal for a Post Bank; considers that the Post Office already provides a vital service in local communities across Scotland; further considers that the Post Office has established public confidence and trust; believes that the creation of a Post Bank would provide essential banking services in a way that some major high street banks do not; considers that a Post Bank service would bring banking services back to the heart of local communities and would improve the sustainability of the Post Office network; welcomes the continued support for a Post Bank from the Communication Workers Union (CWU), Unite the Union and other trade unions; believes that the scope of the consultation should be widened to look at all structural options, including the Post Bank having its own financial licence as well as a wider range of funding options, and believes that the creation of a Post Bank should have the full support of the Scottish Parliament.

 

Supporting Scotland’s Supported Workplaces

That the Parliament recognises the fundamental importance of supported employment of disabled people in Scotland; notes the challenges faced by supported businesses as they look to secure a long-term future; notes, in particular, efforts to establish a long-term, sustainable enterprise in Aberdeen to carry on the excellent reputation and achievements of the Glencraft factory, which sadly closed in November 2009 after over 150 years of operation, resulting in 52 workers losing their jobs before Christmas; pays tribute to the tenacity shown by the former workforce of Glencraft and Community Union, which have campaigned tirelessly, with the support of thousands of people locally, to see Glencraft re-open and restore sustainable employment for the workforce; congratulates local businesses for helping develop a sustainable enterprise in Aberdeen, while recognising the crucial role to be played by the Scottish Government, local authorities and appropriate agencies in ensuring that any supported business is sustainable, and would welcome greater awareness and use of Article 19 of the EU public procurement directive, which allows public sector contracts to be reserved for workplaces where more than 50% of the workforce are disabled, to ensure procurement through supported businesses wherever possible.

 

Breaking the Circle of violence : Scared to go home.

As an amendment to motion S3M-5536 in the name of John Wilson (Breaking the Circle of Violence: Scared to Go Home), leave out from "praises" to end and insert "understands, however, that this is overwhelmingly a crime of male violence against women and children with 88% of crimes and offences of domestic abuse and 95% of crimes of indecency, which are mostly crimes of sexual assault, being perpetrated by men against women, making it clearly a gender issue and an exploitation of power."

 

Active Literary Success at St. Brigid’s Primary, Newmains

That the Parliament congratulates St Brigid’s Primary in Newmains on its outstanding work in piloting North Lanarkshire’s Active Literacy Programme; notes that St Brigid’s has piloted the latest programme targeted at pupils with additional support needs; further notes that the school was recently praised by HM Inspectorate of Education for its literacy work; recognises that the Active Literacy pilot has resulted in significant improvements in St Brigid’s national test results, with reading levels improved from 89% in 2006 to 93.4% in 2008, writing from 66% in 2006 to 85.8% in 2008 and maths results improving from 72% in 2006 to 91.5% in 2008; commends the hard work and commitment of all staff at St Brigid’s involved in delivering the Active Literacy Programme, and believes that North Lanarkshire’s Active Literacy pilot is a shining example of how to achieve high literacy levels for all.

 

Climate Change, the Road From Copenhagen

That the Parliament recognises that, while the outcome of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) was disappointing to many, particularly those countries most vulnerable to sea level rises or desertification, the conference was never going to be more than a step on the road to building comprehensive and effective global action on climate change; considers that Scotland has a sound basis for future action in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and that this Act has been widely applauded internationally as a yardstick for progressive climate change legislation, and believes that the Scottish Government should proceed, with the least possible delay, to implement and build on the commitments and initiatives of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

 

 

 

 

Grand Theft Childhood

That the Parliament notes with concern recent research that indicates that video games featuring high levels of violence can be detrimental to those playing them; acknowledges that these games can have a particularly negative effect on children and young people; recognises that violent video games are successfully marketed to and easily obtained by children and young people; notes with concern evidence to suggest that parents are purchasing video games for children younger than the certified age range; believes that parents should be made aware of the possible risk to children’s emotional and psychological development as a result of prolonged use of violent video games; further believes that the Scottish Government should engage in a productive debate among parents, legislators and video games producers to highlight the potential dangers of high rates of exposure to virtual violence, and encourages the Scottish Government to define the public policy options that are likely to be most effective in addressing the negative effects of these games.

 

First Female Officer to Lead Policing in Edinburgh

That the Parliament congratulates Chief Superintendent Gill Imery on her appointment as the new territorial commander for A Division in Lothian and Borders Police; notes that Chief Superintendent Gill Imery is the first female officer to lead policing in Scotland’s capital city and will be in charge of 1,300 staff in Edinburgh; hopes that this appointment will further inspire women to reach high-level positions in Scotland, and wishes Ms Imery well in her post.

 

Victoria and Albert in Dundee

That the Parliament welcomes the next step in the development of the Victoria and Albert in Dundee, which will see architects from across the world compete in a competition to design the new museum to be sited on the water at the iconic Discovery Quay site; notes that the project, which is expected to begin construction in 2012 and be completed in 2014, will create 900 jobs and bring an estimated 130,000 visitors to Dundee every year;further notes that the museum will provide access to high quality exhibitions for residents in Dundee and across Scotland, and welcomes the support given to the project by the University of Dundee, the University of Abertay Dundee, Dundee City Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government.

 

The Death of Miep Gies

That the Parliament acknowledges the death of Miep Gies, aged 100, the last surviving member of the group that helped Anne Frank and her family hide from the Nazis for more than two years; admires her courage and compassion, which provided a shining example of humanitarianism in one of mankind’s bleakest times; further acknowledges that the incredible tale of Anne Frank could not have been told were it not for the brave defiance of Nazi occupation laws, and applauds her continued work in causes of tolerance long after Anne Frank’s death.

Gaza Now Exhibition Marks the Anniversary of the War on Gaza

That the Parliament marks the first anniversary of the bombing of Gaza during the 22-day war that took place between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 by exhibiting the Gaza Now exhibition, hosted by Edinburgh Direct Aid and the Cross-party Group on Palestine; notes with concern that the Gaza war resulted in 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis losing their lives, leaving in its wake a massive humanitarian disaster, with more than 400,000 Gazans left without running water while 4,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless; believes that all perpetrators of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead should be brought to justice; recognises the importance of the Goldstone report, which states that facts discovered during the mission led the team to conclude that Israel’s objective in the attack was to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population; supports the recommendation in the Goldstone report that, to uphold respect for human rights and show no tolerance of state impunity from international law, there must be an independent and credible investigation of war crimes; reaffirms its support for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, and supports the creation of a viable independent Palestinian state.

 

Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

That the Parliament notes with grave concern the proposals contained in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is currently being considered by the Parliament of Uganda; strongly condemns the oppressive legislation that could result in life imprisonment for homosexuality and also threatens imprisonment for anyone who does not inform the authorities of someone who is gay; recognises that the Bill is a gross violation of human rights, and calls for the international community to put continued pressure on the Ugandan Government to immediately withdraw the proposals.

 

The 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

That the Parliament notes that the European Union has declared that 2010 is the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion; recognises that almost 80 million European citizens live at risk of poverty; welcomes a commitment by the European Union to raise public awareness about these issues and to renew the political commitment of member states to combat poverty and social exclusion, and therefore encourages the Scottish Government to work alongside the UK Government to make 2010 a year when stereotypes and collective perceptions of poverty are challenged and ensure that everyone can play a full and active role in society.

 

Can Gerry Robinson Fix Dementia Care Homes?

That the Parliament commends the BBC-produced documentary series, Can Gerry Robinson Fix Dementia Care Homes?, for highlighting the poor living conditions that frail elderly people can face in the care home sector; recognises that, while the documentary is based in England, the problems experienced match up with those in Scotland as highlighted in the recent joint report by the Care Commission and Mental Welfare Commission, Remember, I’m Still Me; notes that the programme found examples of senior staff members with no training in dementia care and residents being kept inside during very good weather without access to the outside and garden and with no regular provision of mental or physical stimulation; further notes the concern expressed in the programme about residents’ bruising; believes that this programme demonstrates the need for a not-for-profit care home model to be piloted and that there is a need for improved staff training for all, with the possible introduction of a national qualification in dementia care, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that the forthcoming national dementia strategy recognises the fundamental problems facing frail elderly residents with dementia in care homes, brings forward policies to address these issues and enables significant culture change in the sector.

 

Save Our Steelworks

That the Parliament notes with concern the decision by Corus, a company owned by Tata Steel, to mothball the Teesside Cast Products factory; supports the efforts of Community, the union, to reverse this premature decision; believes that this decision could have an impact on steel production in Scotland; recognises that the Scottish and British steel industry still has the ability to deliver world-class products; values a future for a steel industry in the United Kingdom, and believes that if public works and the Forth crossing in Scotland are to create local jobs then there must be a future for both Scottish and British steel.

 

December 2009

Opening of Vattenfall’s Scottish Office, Boost to Renewable Sector

That the Parliament congratulates Vattenfall, one of Europe’s leading energy companies, on the opening of its new office in Edinburgh; welcomes the company’s commitment to Scotland and its development of a range of renewable technologies across the country; considers that a permanent base in Scotland will contribute to further development of renewable energy in Scotland, and further welcomes the company’s strong commitment to promoting low-carbon energy production and helping meet both climate change and renewable energy targets in the years ahead.

 

40th. anniversary of the SJIB

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry (SJIB) on celebrating its 40th anniversary; notes that the SJIB, founded in 1969, is a partnership between SELECT, formerly the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland, and Unite the Union; welcomes the SJIB’s work on governance and the maintenance of the National Working Rules, the registration and licensing of apprentices and adult trainees, the grading and registration of employees, the resolution of disputes and the provision of welfare benefits; further welcomes the aim of the SJIB to improve industrial relations in the electrical contracting industry, and looks forward to the continued success of the SJIB in the future.

 

Drinking is Not a Crime but Rape is.

That the Parliament welcomes the Rape Awareness Campaign launched by Lothian and Borders Police in conjunction with Rape Crisis Scotland and the Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre; notes that the campaign involves police officers, police staff and special constables handing out specially designed postcards depicting women enjoying themselves socially with the direct message that "drinking is not a crime.... but rape is"; supports the decision by Lothian and Borders Police to focus a public safety campaign on the clear message that women are not to blame for rape just because they have been drinking; recognises awareness-raising work being done by police and voluntary sector organisations across Scotland, including the washroom campaign launched on 10 December 2009 by Glasgow Community and Safety Services, which involves posters from Rape Crisis Scotland’s This is not an invitation to rape me campaign being placed in bars and clubs across the city for one month, and wishes these campaigns every success in their efforts to challenge unacceptable attitudes towards rape.

Domestic Abuse in SOAs

That the Parliament notes the Scottish Women’s Aid analysis of local authority Single Outcome Agreements 2009 and expresses its concern at the appallingly low level of engagement through single outcome agreements (SOA); notes in particular that fewer than one in three have specific reference in the area profile to children affected by domestic abuse, only 13 SOAs refer to specific domestic abuse or violence against women action plans, only five SOAs make any reference to violence against women in relation to gender equality despite half of the councils highlighting an increase in reported incidents of domestic abuse and only 11 state addressing this as a priority; considers that it is not clear how the implementation of national policy at a local level is monitored and evaluated or even how local authorities and their community planning partners can be held to account, and calls on the Scottish Government to address and report on this situation as a matter of urgency.

 

Stop Demand, End Prostitution Now

That the Parliament congratulates Glasgow City Council and the End Prostitution Now campaign in their aim to raise awareness of the harm caused by prostitution and to put the focus firmly on the buyers of sex who create the demand and have been invisible from the public debate until now; considers that only by targeting this demand and challenging attitudes toward buying sex will a stop be put to this harmful activity that blights Scotland's cities and towns; agrees that prostitution is an appalling form of human exploitation, and believes that an unequivocal message must be sent that buying sex will not be tolerated.

 

Cuban Culture Comes to Coatbridge

That the Parliament welcomes links between Coatbridge and Cuba in 2009, this historic 50th anniversary year of the Cuban revolution; congratulates the Mint in Coatbridge for securing Cuba-friendly status after hosting an evening of Cuban culture earlier this year; recognises that Coatbridge is becoming more Cuba-friendly as this is the second event of this kind in the area, with the first being held at Big Owen’s Bar in 2008; understands that being a Cuba-friendly bar means offering customers the opportunity to purchase Cuban Havana Club rum to help boost the Cuban economy rather than buying Bacardi, the headquarters of which are in Bermuda and which is made in Puerto Rico; considers that Cuba-friendly events provide an opportunity to raise awareness of Cuba’s remarkable achievements in terms of poverty reduction, healthcare and education in spite of particularly difficult circumstances, not least those imposed by the US blockade; considers that Bacardi lawyers were influential in the drafting of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which sought to extend the scope of the US embargo against Cuba; further notes that the UN General Assembly last month voted 187 to 3 in opposition to the US trade embargo on Cuba, up from 185 to 3 last year, with only Israel and the Pacific island nation of Palau supporting the United States; believes that the annual vote serves to highlight global opposition to the United State’s hard-line policy toward the socialist island; also believes that there has never been such a wide-ranging and brutal blockade against a people as the US blockade of Cuba, believed by some to be illegal; supports the 248 MPs at Westminster who have signed Early Day Motion 1171, which calls on the UK Government to support better UK-Cuba relations, and believes that Scotland-Cuba relations and Scottish interests in the region can be encouraged through cultural and economic links.

 

 

11 December 2009, Day of Action on Student Hardship

That the Parliament supports the National Union of Students in its efforts to highlight student hardship through a national day of action on the 11 December 2009; notes the events and action organised by student associations at universities and colleges across Scotland, including associations at Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Edinburgh, Inverness UHI College, James Watt College, Glasgow Metropolitan College, the Univeristy of Aberdeen and Aberdeen College, undertaking such activities as writing letters and petitions at the University of Stirling and a petition to Alex Salmond MSP from Banff and Buchan College; believes that this action signals that hardship remains a significant issue for students in Scotland; considers that the Scottish Government has broken its promise to dump the debt; believes that student hardship is a key factor in forcing students from lower-income backgrounds into commercial debt, to spend more than the guideline number of hours in part-time work recommended by the Cubie report or to drop out of their studies altogether; considers that opposition parties have been successful in directing the £30 million made available by the Scottish Government for student support toward putting more pounds in student pockets; remains concerned that, despite these efforts, poorer students still receive less financial support than those in the rest of the UK, and urges the Scottish Government to address this inequality.

 

The Need for Nuclear Power

That the Parliament welcomes the intervention in the Dundee-based The Courier by Bailie George Regan, Chair of Nuclear Free Local Authorities, to the debate on the future of Scotland’s energy needs; considers that his opinion reflects the will of the people and the Parliament that Scotland’s future energy needs lie in renewables rather than nuclear power, and believes that the massive government subsidies that are earmarked for new nuclear power stations in the UK would be of greater benefit to the research and development of renewable technologies.

 

Project Voscars 2009

That the Parliament congratulates all of the winners of the 2009 Voscars, ProjectScotland’s annual awards ceremony that showcases and celebrates young volunteers who have made a real contribution to their communities across Scotland; congratulates Ryan Glen on becoming ProjectScotland Volunteer of the Year, Kimby Tosh for her ProjectScotland Outstanding Achievement Award and Elizabeth Baillie, Jason Douglas, Zoe Jones, Jenna MacGregor, Laura Meikle, Euan Reid, Andy Sloss, James Wallace and Toni Walton on their respective awards and commendations, as well as Frank Miller on becoming ProjectScotland Mentor of the Year and Denise Millan for being a Commended Mentor; believes that it is important that our young people have the opportunity to volunteer and develop real skills through their experience as well as giving something back to the community; commends ProjectScotland on its work to connect young people with volunteer organisations, and praises the organisation for holding the Voscars awards to highlight the good work that young volunteers carry out in Scotland’s communities.

 

Carers Rights Day

That the Parliament notes and welcomes Carers Rights Day, which falls on Friday 4 December, and acknowledges and values the substantial contribution made by over 600,000 unpaid carers and young carers across Scotland; welcomes the practical and emotional support provided by the Falkirk Carers Centre and the network of Princess Royal Trust for Carers Centres across Scotland that have worked with over 50,000 carers in 2008-09; notes that the Carers Centres are critical to the implementation of the Scottish Government’s carers strategy, but are facing significant funding challenges; is concerned that there is no commitment to additional resources to support the implementation of the new carers strategy; believes that the work being done to develop the new strategy should take forward the action highlighted in the Care 21 report relating to respite and short breaks, training for carers, access to information for carers and the specific needs of young carers, and believes that the strategy should lead to real action that benefits Scotland’s unpaid carers, ensuring clear accountability for service delivery and improvements that enable carers to continue caring with confidence and to have a quality life outside of that caring role.

 

International for the Abolition of Slavery

That the Parliament recognises the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on 2 December 2009, which recalls the date of the adoption in 1949 by the United Nations General Assembly of the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others; notes with sadness that, on the 60th anniversary of the adoption, women and children are still being trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation across the world; welcomes the ratification by the United Kingdom of the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings but regrets that there is still only limited involvement of key voluntary sector agencies in identification and support of such women; further notes the potential conflict between the UK Border Agency asylum processes and the 45-day reflection period, and urges the Scottish Government to work with all relevant agencies to identify, support and safeguard those who are trafficked into Scotland for commercial sexual exploitation, particularly given the potential increase in demand for prostitution that could occur in the lead-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

 

National Eligibility Criteria for Adult Social Care

That the Parliament notes with concern the contents of the draft guidelines, National Eligibility for Adult Social Care and Waiting Times for Personal and Nursing Care, which it considers will have an adverse impact on preventative services for disabled adults; notes the problems that have been experienced by disabled adults in accessing support services in Edinburgh; is concerned that the guidelines are based on the current working practices of many local authorities across Scotland, which were themselves based on the UK Government’s Fair Access to Care Services; notes that Fair Access to Care Services was originally devised to decide the eligibility for support of older people with progressive age-related incapacity and loss of independence and not for disabled adults for whom it considers access to care is about the right to independence, and believes that the needs of adults requiring social care would be better served if there was guidance on free personal and nursing care and new guidance dealing with the community care services provided under different legislation.

 

 

Mohammad Othman and Israel’s use of Administrative Detention as a Substitute for Prosecution

That the Parliament, further to motion S3M-05062, notes reports that Israel not only continues to hold Mohammad Othman in administrative detention but has also threatened and pressured him into confessions and that no external evidence was brought to the military court that renewed his detention; understands that international human rights organisations and the United Nations have repeatedly condemned Israel’s recourse to military justice systems that do not meet international standards of due process, and condemns Israel for this and other breaches of human rights, believing that such actions do nothing to make the people of Israel safer in the long term but rather serve to perpetuate that country’s troubles.

 

 

 

40 Years of the Open University

That the Parliament congratulates the Open University on its 40th year; recognises the key role that Harold Wilson and Jennie Lee played in developing the Open University; supports the positive work that the university does in Scotland as an accessible and innovative way for people to fulfil their ambitions for lifelong learning and social mobility, providing learning opportunities to the widest possible range of people and contributing to Scotland's economic development; notes that it is now the United Kingdom's largest university, teaching almost 200,000 students a year and, since opening in 1969, it has helped over two million people realise their potential; notes the central role that part-time higher education, such as that delivered by the Open University, has to play in supporting upskilling and reskilling in Scotland’s workforce, and considers that appropriately resourced part-time flexible learning has the potential to make an even more significant contribution to supporting Scotland’s skills agenda and to promoting educational opportunity and social justice.

 

Usdaw Freedom from Fear campaign

 

That the Parliament is shocked and horrified that there has been a 78% increase in violence and abuse against Scottish shopworkers over the last three years, according to Retailers Against Crime; believes that further measures need to be taken to deter violence against shopworkers and other workers delivering a service to the public; welcomes the Freedom from Fear campaign organised by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw), which seeks to make shops and shopping areas safer for staff and customers; recognises that the sale of age-restricted products, especially alcohol, is a frequent flashpoint for verbal abuse, threats and violence against shopworkers; further recognises the difficulties that shopworkers, *including in Paisley South*, have policing age-restricted sales and how that can leave them vulnerable, isolated and under threat of prosecution when mistakes are made; *considers that there would be benefit in* high-profile campaigns that support the Think 25 policy and highlight to youngsters that it is an offence to attempt to buy alcohol under age, and *would welcome a partnership approach to the development of* strategies to prevent under-age sales *rather than* sting operations, which seek to prosecute shopworkers.

 

 

10th. Anniversary of the Scottish Youth Parliament

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Youth Parliament on its 10th anniversary, which will be marked at a reception in the Parliament to be hosted by the Presiding Officer on the evening of Wednesday 2 December 2009; recognises all the work that the Scottish Youth Parliament has undertaken over the past 10 years and continues to undertake in raising the voice of young people in Scotland on issues that are important to them and their communities; welcomes the Scottish Youth Parliament’s vision of a stronger, more inclusive Scotland that empowers young people by truly involving them in the decision-making process; commends the Scottish Parliament and successive Scottish administrations since 1999 for the continuing level of support given to the Scottish Youth Parliament and all of its elected members past and present; hopes that this support will be maintained in the future, and is confident that the Scottish Youth Parliament will continue to grow in strength and success as a powerful enabler of young people in the years to come.

 

 

STUC Women, Working to Improve Women’s Lives

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Trades Union Congress Women’s Committee on its recent conference, bringing together women trade unionists from across Scotland to debate the key economic and social issues facing women in the Pollok constituency, across Glasgow and throughout Scotland; acknowledges the important role played by Scottish women trade unionists in campaigning for greater representation of women at every level of government, in public bodies and in the private sector; recognises the importance of addressing the impact of economic recession on women’s lives, and believes that tackling disadvantage and inequality must be high in policy and budget priorities.

 

Congratulations to Maria Fyfe

That the Parliament congratulates Maria Fyfe on her recent special award from the Scottish Trades Union Congress Women's Conference; notes her critical role in the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and in her championing of 50:50 representation of women in the Scottish Parliament, and believes that the most fitting legacy for her long-term commitment to equal pay, the rights of women workers and equality for women would be to see a refreshed determination to secure increased representation for women at every level of government, in public bodies and in industry and to ensure greater priority for the rights of women at home, in the community and at work.

Improved Availability of Broadband

That the Parliament welcomes the UK Government’s commitment to improving availability of broadband as detailed in the Digital Britain report published in June 2009; welcomes the commitment to deliver a Universal Service Broadband Commitment of 2Mbps by 2012; welcomes the proposed public support for the network of tomorrow to allow for access to next generation broadband; considers the Western Isles of Scotland to be the worst area in Scotland in terms of broadband coverage and one of worst in the United Kingdom as a whole; is concerned at the disadvantages that rural areas of Scotland suffer in terms of economic, business and educational development when broadband services are inadequate, and would welcome a positive response to the report and the delivery of improved and reliable broadband services for every Scottish broadband customer.

 

Scottish Women’s Aid Census

That the Parliament welcomes the publication of Scottish Women’s Aid census day statistics, collected over a 24-hour period on 24 September 2009; notes that, on this day, Women’s Aid groups across Scotland supported 642 women and 307 children and young people, that 412 women and 391 children and young people needed the safety of women’s aid refuge, that 31 of the 47 women who requested refuge on this day could not be accommodated and that 12 had to be turned away due to a lack of space; notes that 101 women contacted Women’s Aid for the first time on this day; reaffirms the importance of Women’s Aid’s specialist support for women; expresses concern about the removal of ring-fenced funding and the increased funding pressures that local authorities face, and calls for a stronger commitment, matched by funding, to ensure that women, children and young people can live their lives safe in the knowledge that they will be supported by specialist domestic abuse services.

 

16 Days of Activism against Violence Against Women

That the Parliament recognises that Wednesday 25 November 2009 will mark the beginning of the 16 days of Activism Against Violence Against Women; notes that the event runs from Wednesday 25 November until 10 December, International Human Rights Day; notes that this event is held over these dates to symbolically link violence against women with human rights and to underline that such violence is a direct violation of human rights; acknowledges that, since 1991, over 2,000 organisations in approximately 156 countries have participated in the 16 Days campaign, and calls on representatives, the local community and organisations across the country to continue to work together to raise awareness of violence against women as well as to tackle the underlying social, economic and cultural causes of gender-based violence.

 

November 2009

Epilepsy, Scotland 55th. Anniversary

That the Parliament congratulates the leading charity, Epilepsy Scotland, on its 55th anniversary; notes that, since its inception in 1954, the organisation has been working with people living with epilepsy to ensure that their voices are heard, providing vital services, support and information through the decades for the nearly 40,000 Scots with this serious neurological condition, their families, carers and related professionals; acknowledges the contribution that Epilepsy Scotland has made to the development of managed clinical networks that aim to maximise scarce NHS resources and encourage best practice to address a 20% to 30% misdiagnosis rate; applauds the successful lobbying to make free travel cards more accessible to people with epilepsy and recent campaigns to increase the number of epilepsy specialist nurses in Scotland and ensure consistent prescribing of epilepsy medication rather than generic substitution by pharmacists in 2010; recognises the impact of awareness-raising activities to tackle social stigma and discrimination associated with epilepsy through the organisation’s provision of a teachers’ guide to epilepsy, new later-life and epilepsy guidelines for GPs and employer of the year and journalist of the year awards; further congratulates Epilepsy Scotland for attracting the largest MSP support for the Cross-Party Group on Epilepsy and on keeping epilepsy high on the political agenda, and wishes the charity well with plans to offer new services that will develop the full potential of children and young adults who have difficult-to-control epilepsy.

 

World March for Peace and Non-Violence

That the Parliament endorses the ideals of the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, which set off from New Zealand on UN International Day of Non-Violence on 2 October 2009 and ends in the Andes mountains on the 2 January 2010, that call for an end to war, the dismantling of nuclear weapons and an end to all forms of violence including physical, economic, racial, religious, cultural, sexual and psychological; notes that the Peace Torch, which has passed across continents and been greeted by thousands of supporters including Pope Benedict XVI, who offered his blessings to the delegation, will visit the Scottish Parliament on 17 November 2009, and would welcome support for this important endeavour from all those who share these ideals.

 

20th. Anniversary of North Lanarkshire Parkinson’s Self Help Group

That the Parliament congratulates North Lanarkshire Parkinson’s Self Help Group on its recent 20th anniversary; notes that the group provides a one-stop shop in North Lanarkshire for people with Parkinson’s disease and their carers in North Lanarkshire, offering drop-in facilities five days a week, respite for both sufferers and carers and access to therapies, support and an extensive programme of social activities; recognises that the group provides an invaluable opportunity for all people affected by Parkinson’s and similar neurological conditions to make contact and obtain support and advice from people who understand their situation, and wishes North Lanarkshire Parkinson’s Self Help Group continued success in the future.

Prevention of Child Abuse

That the Parliament recognises the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse on Thursday, 19 November 2009; notes Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that requires States Parties to take all appropriate legislative, administrative, educational and social measures to protect children from any form of abuse and neglect; supports CHILDREN 1st’s ongoing campaign for more abuse recovery services, and urges the Scottish Government to ensure that services are available in all areas for children who have been abused.

 

World Diabetes Day

That the Parliament acknowledges that 14 November 2009 is World Diabetes Day, an official United Nations Day, which marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea that led to the discovery of insulin in 1922; notes that the campaign for 2009 is Understand Diabetes and Take Control, which aims to raise awareness of the disease and the lifelong demands imposed on the 285 million people living with diabetes; further notes with concern that the International Diabetes Federation estimates that over 344 million people worldwide are at risk of type 2 diabetes and believes that this can be easily prevented in many cases by helping and encouraging those at risk to maintain a healthy body weight and take moderate physical activity; further notes that the most recent Scottish Diabetes Survey shows that there were 219,963 people with a diagnosis in Scotland at the end of 2008 and believes that many cases of diabetes remain undiagnosed; urges the Scottish Executive to raise awareness of the symptoms of diabetes to ensure early diagnosis and treatment, and looks forward to the publication of the updated Diabetes Action Plan, which will provide strategic priorities for diabetic services in 2010 and beyond.

 

Concern over the Future of Glencraft

That the Parliament notes with concern the fears expressed by the management of Glencraft that Aberdeen City Council may not support its modified business plan, which could result in the Glencraft factory that provides employment for blind and other disabled employees closing; recognises that the organisation has transformed the lives of its employees and has received funding from successive councils for decades; notes with concern that this is the second time in two years that the current administration has threatened to close the factory; notes with regret the current uncertainty faced by employees of Glencraft who are yet again left facing the prospect of closure; notes the efforts of the trade union, Community, which resulted in the factory being saved from closure, and welcomes its determination to do so again; notes that the issue was raised by Anne Begg MP at Prime Minister’s Questions on 4 November 2009 during which the Prime Minister affirmed his support for Glencraft and highlighted the importance of helping those most in need of support; notes that an emergency meeting of Glencraft’s board of governors has been arranged for 6 November 2009, and urges Aberdeen City Council to work cooperatively with the board or management of Glencraft and Community to secure a sustainable future for Glencraft.

 

Hate and Discrimination Have No Place in Scottish Society

That the Parliament expresses its disgust at the intolerant and discriminatory remarks expressed by BNP leader Nick Griffin on BBC’s Question Time on 22 October 2009; reasserts its commitment to the key principle in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and, in the run up to International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2009, reaffirms its commitment to tackling all forms of racism and discrimination in Scottish society, including that still perpetrated against women, ethnic minorities, Gypsy/Travellers and LGBT communities, among others.

Sir John Crofton

That the Parliament is united in sadness at the death of Sir John Crofton and considers that Scotland has lost one of its most inspirational health pioneers; further notes his many achievements, such as the development of a new and effective way of treating tuberculosis (TB) in the 1950s that reduced TB in Edinburgh to almost zero in six years; commends his contribution to raising awareness about the harm caused to public health by tobacco, arguing for policies to control smoking and tobacco and calling for smoke-free legislation long before it became law in Scotland, knowing the important contribution that it would make to future public health; recognises the pivotal role that Sir John and his wife, Dr Eileen Crofton, also played in founding ASH Scotland in 1973 and believes that the ban on smoking in public places implemented by the previous Scottish Executive is a fitting tribute to his lifetime work, and welcomes the launch, earlier this year, of the Crofton Award by the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland in partnership with ASH Scotland to recognise the achievements of young people in reducing tobacco and smoking-related harm in Scotland and in honour of Sir John and Lady Eileen Crofton’s tireless work over the decades on tobacco control.

 

It’s Fun To Save

That the Parliament welcomes the work of members of the Association of Mutual Insurers in developing a UK-wide initiative entitled Fun to Save that encourages four to seven-year-old children to become more financially capable; celebrates the recent launch of the Fun to Save website: www.funtosave.org, which is the first UK-wide free resource designed to help children learn about the importance of savings and develop healthy attitudes towards money in everyday life; recognises that this is the only website that takes a holistic approach to savings by utilising learning games, by supporting activities for parents and by supporting lesson plans for teachers; notes the involvement of HM Treasury, the UK Government’s Department for Children, Families and Schools, the Financial Services Authority and the Personal Financial Education Group in the development of this initiative, and encourages parents and teachers to engage with the Fun to Save website, where learning about the core principles of money and the benefits of saving is both accessible and fun.

Think Positive, Tackling Mental Ill Health among Students in Scotland

That the Parliament notes that 4 November 2009 is National Stress Awareness Day; considers stress to be a contributing factor to mental ill health among students in Scotland; considers that around 160,000 students in Scotland currently at college or university will experience mental ill health; believes that great effort should be taken to improve mental health among students in Scotland, and congratulates NUS Scotland’s Think Positive project for its work in raising awareness of student mental ill health among students, university and college staff and the general public.

Living Wage

That the Parliament congratulates Glasgow City Council on the success of the Glasgow Living Wage campaign; notes that already more than 100 companies have followed the lead of Scotland's largest local authority and signed up to a policy guaranteeing all employees a wage of at least £7 per hour, and urges all local authorities to consider launching living wage campaigns.

 

International Brain Tumour Week

That the Parliament notes that 1 to 7 November 2009 is International Brain Tumour Awareness Week; recognises the work in Scotland in developing the managed care network; congratulates the record number of 176 brain tumour and cancer-related organisations that have supported the International Brain Tumour Alliance’s week and walk this year, and also notes that, with dozens of events planned and a combined total of 150,598 walking kilometres achieved to date, they are in sight of the World Walk target of 200,000 kilometres, equivalent to going round the world at the equator five times.

 

Citizens Advice Scotland Debt Findings

That the Parliament welcomes the new research findings by Citizens Advice Scotland that set out the barriers and problems faced by vulnerable groups such as lone parents, older people, young people and sick and disabled people in Scotland in relation to debt as well as creditor behaviour; notes that the findings show that four in 10 clients have gone without essentials in order to try to cope with their debt, while one in four clients has borrowed further credit to pay existing debt; notes that two fifths of debt clients reported being pressurised or harassed by their creditors; further notes that two thirds of debt clients said that they would consider going bankrupt in order to manage their debt; believes that schemes such as the Low Income Low Asset (LILA) scheme and the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) should be made fully accessible to debtors who are stuck in a cycle of debt and that the £100 fee for accessing the LILA route into bankruptcy should be abolished as only one in five clients said they could unconditionally afford it; further believes that more affordable mainstream credit should be made available to low-income groups; commends the work of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Dumbarton and bureaux across Scotland in providing free, impartial and confidential frontline advice to all who need it, and would welcome the provision of sustained funding for agencies such as Citizens Advice in order to address the growing demand for such advice.

 

The Scottish Parliament welcomes Fire Fighters from Nablus

That the Parliament warmly welcomes the firefighters from Nablus who are in Scotland for three weeks to receive fire service training at the Scottish Fire Services College in Gullane, East Lothian; congratulates the Fire Brigades Union, the Scottish Government and the college for organising and supporting the project that exemplifies the fire service as a fraternity that exists across international boundaries, and believes that this type of collaboration with Palestinian public service workers is important in keeping skills up to date and will benefit ordinary citizens living in the occupied Palestinian territories.

 

 

Let’s show Racists the Red Card

That the Parliament notes that 16 to 31 October 2009 marks Show Racism the Red Card’s annual Fortnight of Action; welcomes the fact that all 42 clubs playing at the professional level in Scotland were involved in a weekend of action on 24 and 25 October through on-pitch activities and that £10,000 in grants has been distributed to help 22 community-based initiatives organise a variety of events to promote tolerance; believes that Scottish football, both at club and international level, has benefited hugely from the participation of players born outside of Scotland; abhors the treatment of players who have been racially abused at grounds across Scotland, and unequivocally affirms that racism has no place in Scottish society.

 

October 2009

Mail Delivery Service

That the Parliament regrets the decision by Procurement Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government, to remove business from Royal Mail; believes that this decision will cause further difficulties for Royal Mail in trying to sustain a public delivery service in every part of Scotland, and calls on the Scottish Government to review this decision to ensure that all such decisions taken are compatible with support for public delivery services in every community in Scotland.

 

Bookstart

That the Parliament recognises the importance of the national Bookstart programme; understands that the programme encourages all parents and carers to enjoy books with their children from as early an age as possible; notes that Bookstart aims to give free books to all Scottish children at around eight weeks, 18 months and three years old; further notes that the programme aims to promote reading as a fun activity as well as being educational; congratulates West Dunbartonshire Council on its activities to promote reading from an early age, and welcomes the recent National Bookstart Day on 9 October 2009 as a vital component in combating illiteracy in Scotland.

 

CWU Action

That the Parliament notes the outcome of the ballot on industrial action announced by the Communication Workers Union (CWU); recognises the service that Royal Mail staff provide in communities throughout Scotland; welcomes the willingness of the CWU to go to arbitration; believes that the potential disruption to the public and businesses warrants the intervention of ACAS; calls on the major stakeholder in Royal Mail to use its influence to bring both sides together at ACAS, and further calls on Royal Mail to agree to such intervention to allow urgent and meaningful negotiations to help prevent damaging and disruptive action.

 

Don’t Derail GARL

That the Parliament regrets the proposal in the SNP government’s draft budget, published on 17 September 2009, to drop the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) project; considers that the proposed cut is short-sighted, given that a new airport rail link would provide Glasgow with a direct connection to three international airports and would contribute in a positive fashion to the economic development of Glasgow and west central Scotland, especially at this difficult time; believes that the rail link is an indispensable component of a modern 21st century transport infrastructure for the whole of Scotland; considers that GARL will boost public transport and reduce the number of car journeys to the airport; further considers that the promise to have GARL in place was a vital consideration in the awarding of the 2014 Commonwealth Games to Glasgow, and hopes that, in the course of the budget process, wiser counsel prevails.

 

Pilot of a National Emergency SMS Text Service

That the Parliament welcomes the launch of a pilot of a UK-wide emergency SMS text service; further welcomes the work of the UK Government, telecommunications companies and RNID in developing this system, which will allow the 758,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing in Scotland to send an SMS text message to the emergency services from a mobile phone; considers that this development represents a milestone in the safety, care and protection of people who are deaf or hard of hearing and who find it difficult or are unable to use the 999 telephone service to call for help; believes that this new development will help save more lives, and, following the pilot, looks forward to a full service being rolled out in 2010.

September 2009

The Scotland-Malawi College Partnership

That the Parliament supports the Scotland-Malawi Partnership project; commends Adam Smith College for taking the lead in the Scotland’s Colleges International consortium in hosting the recent study tour of 12 Malawian college principals to Scotland as part of the partnership between the vocational colleges in the two countries; recognises that the aim of the study tour was to provide the Malawian principals with a greater insight into the Scottish approach to vocational educational training development and delivery; acknowledges that experienced practitioners from Scotland’s Colleges have actively engaged in sharing their experience and expertise with Malawian staff while undertaking essential learning for their own professional development; congratulates Adam Smith College for hosting events throughout the study tour to raise funds to assist young people in Malawi to attend their local vocational college, to gain skills that will equip them for employment and to help support themselves, their families and their local communities, and looks forward to further supportive links with Malawi such as through the Kofi Annan Adam Smith Scholarship Fund.

 

Ya Beauty

That the Parliament congratulates Coatbridge on being named the nation’s Best Small City at the Beautiful Scotland Awards 2009; notes the judges’ positive view of the town following a wide-ranging tour taking in Drumpellier Country Park, Dunbeth park and Sikeside; further notes the judges’ praise of tourist attractions Sumerlee and the Time Capsule; believes that the people of Coatbridge have much to be proud of, not only in their industrial heritage but also in the ongoing commitment of local residents to improve the town’s natural and urban heritage; believes that the whole community played a part in winning the award, and commends North Lanarkshire Council for the continuing investment to enhance the town and its facilities.

 

Bill Spiers

That the Parliament notes with regret the sad death of Bill Speirs, former General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress and one of the architects of devolution; celebrates his distinguished career throughout which Mr Speirs always put the interests of Scotland before narrow party or sectoral interests; acknowledges that his role in the campaign for a Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Constitutional Convention was invaluable; believes that he was a committed internationalist and a successful campaigner through connecting culture and politics; salutes his leadership and vision as an inspiration to a generation of Scots while he made a significant personal contribution to Scotland's national life, including representing trade union members in difficult years, and sends condolences to his family at this sad time.

Rok Apprenticeship Awards

That the Parliament notes the annual apprentice awards ceremony being held by Rok Group in Dunkeld on 21 September 2009; congratulates the 160 apprentices attending the ceremony who have completed their apprenticeships with the company; welcomes the commitment that has been shown to supporting and developing the apprentices to achieve their full potential and learn a diverse range of trades that are vital to the future of the building and maintenance sector in Scotland; is pleased that high profile companies such as Rok are recognising the importance of continuing to train apprentices and take on redundant apprentices to develop the skilled workforce of the future, and wishes all the successful apprentices well for their future careers.

 

 

Macmillan Cancer Support, World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

That the Parliament welcomes Macmillan Cancer Support’s annual World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event, which will be held at venues across the United Kingdom on and around 25 September 2009; notes that Macmillan is expecting over 4,000 coffee mornings to be held across Scotland, raising around £880,000, with every penny going towards helping people affected by cancer; further notes that every day 822 people in the United Kingdom are told that they have cancer and that charities such as Macmillan provide practical, medical, emotional and financial support while pushing for better cancer care, and urges people to visit www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee to find the nearest coffee morning that they can attend.

 

Seal the Deal During Global Climate Week

That the Parliament welcomes the UN Global Campaign on Climate Change’s Seal the Deal campaign and Global Climate Week from 19 to 25 September 2009; notes that synchronised activities will take place in more than 100 cities across the world, including tree planting, a Green Day promoting action on climate change and a Go Carbon Neutral Day, and recognises the significance of concerted global action to promote the need for an effective global climate deal at Copenhagen in December.

 

UN Condemns War Crimes in Gaza

That the Parliament notes the findings of an official UN report that accuses Israel of deliberately using disproportionate force in the three-week operation in December 2008 and January 2009; further notes that the report, led by South African judge Richard Goldstone, found evidence "indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict"; notes the report’s finding that that there is evidence that both Israeli and Palestinian forces committed war crimes in the conflict and that it accuses Israel of imposing "a blockade which amounted to collective punishment" in the lead-up to the conflict; also notes Mr Goldstone’s recommendation that the UN Security Council seek reports within six months about its own investigations into the alleged crimes, including the potential involvement of the International Criminal Court if these reports are deemed unsatisfactory, and calls on the international community to respond to the call by President Obama earlier this year to urgently lift the siege in Gaza in tandem with a Middle East peace process.

 

Imprisonment of Peaceful Prisoner Min Ko Naing

That the Parliament notes that Burmese democracy campaigner Min Ko Naing faces up to 20 years in prison for leading a peaceful protest against the policies of that country’s government and has been adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International; understands that the rights to freedom of expression and assembly and to take part in the government of one’s country are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); believes that the opportunity for citizens to engage with and influence their government provides an important feedback mechanism as well as a necessary check and balance on government action, and expresses its hope that the people of Burma/Myanmar will one day be able to fully enjoy all of their human rights as set out in the UDHR.

 

Diageo’s Social Responsibility

That the Parliament notes with concern the announcement by Diageo that it is intent on closing its plants at Port Dundas and Kilmarnock; regrets that this decision was made in spite of widespread support for the campaign to save jobs at both sites and the loyalty and commitment of its workforce; believes that Diageo must recognise its continuing responsibility to the workers at both plants, and asks the Scottish Government to indicate what it will do to ensure that Diageo recognises and honours that commitment.

 

Urgent Investment Required for the A83 and A82

That the Parliament notes the current landslip at the Rest and Be Thankful that has resulted in the closure of the A83; acknowledges that this is the second occasion in recent times that a similar problem has caused this road to be closed; further notes that a diversion of some 60 miles is in place for motorists; believes that the road closure will have a detrimental impact on those residents and businesses that rely on this route; recognises the vulnerability of trunk road links to the West Highlands, including the A82, and believes that the case for investment has been well made, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that the A83 is reopened quickly and that investment is provided without further delay to ensure that, where possible, there is no repetition of the problems on the A83 and that the A82 is upgraded.

 

Meningitis in Babies Awareness Week , 21 to 27 September 2009

That the Parliament welcomes Meningitis Research Foundation’s Meningitis in Babies Awareness Campaign; notes that meningitis and septicaemia are diseases that affect over 97 babies a year in Scotland under the age of 12 months, of whom around one in ten will die and about a quarter are left with life-altering effects that can be as severe as brain damage, deafness, cerebral palsy and multiple amputations; further notes that babies in Scotland under 12 months are 40 times more likely to develop meningitis than children over one and adults and that more young lives can be saved through raising awareness among clinical practitioners and the public of the early warning signs and symptoms, and welcomes a new research project funded by Meningitis Research Foundation to investigate healthcare delivery and look for ways to improve management of meningitis in newborn babies.

 

The Thistle Travel Card

That the Parliament notes with concern the decision of the Scottish Government to discontinue funding for the Thistle Travel Card that was previously available to people who require help with public transport due to age, a learning or physical disability or other condition affecting their confidence or competence in knowing what bus or train to get on and where to get off, being able to count out the correct fare or understand timetables and travel announcements, all of which create barriers to such people being able to use public transport; notes that the scheme was supported by the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS), which advises ministers on the transport needs of disabled people, and by the Confederation of Passenger Transport; regrets that the demise of the Thistle Travel Card will seriously impact on the mobility and quality of life of an estimated 120,000 people with learning disabilities and other communication difficulties, and notes that this is the same group of people who get only the lower rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance, which means that they do not qualify as eligible under the Scotland Wide Free Bus Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled Persons because of the decision made by the Scottish Government not to extend eligibility after its recent review of the scheme.

Shine On Bighearted Scotland

That the Parliament congratulates Ryan McLaughlin on winning the Bighearted Scotland 2009 Child of the Year award; acknowledges the importance of the Shine on Scotland campaign that Ryan has led, which seeks to raise awareness of the benefits of vitamin D in combating multiple sclerosis, with particular regard to young children and pregnant women; applauds all the Bighearted Scotland award winners and nominees for their outstanding contribution to society, and commends Ryan and his family for their tireless commitment to fighting MS.

 

Waste Aware Scotland-wide

That the Parliament expresses concern at the reported £1 billion worth of food thrown away in Scotland each year, equating to an average of £550 per year thrown out by each household; notes that over two thirds of what is binned could have been used if it had been stored properly and if meals had been better planned; highlights the work of Golspie Recycling and Environmental Action Network, a community-based social enterprise recycling firm in Sutherland, and other good examples around Scotland that set a benchmark to promote positive community awareness on waste minimisation, and encourages Scottish families and households to be wiser with their waste, one of the many simple ways to reduce their carbon footprints and save money.

 

A Charter for Change

That the Parliament expresses concern that the current economic crisis in Britain is resulting in mass unemployment, repossession of homes, public service cuts, a threat to equality and increasing national debt; considers that The People’s Charter for Change sets out what must be done to get out of this crisis and put people first, before the interests of bankers and speculators; notes that the aim is to get one million signatures for the charter; urges attendance at the public meetings being held on 10 October 2009 in Edinburgh and 11 October 2009 in Glasgow to raise awareness of the charter, and supports the six principles outlined in the charter to deliver change, hope and a fairer Britain.

 

Dundee United FC Centenary

That the Parliament congratulates Dundee United Football Club on its 100th anniversary; notes that United played its first game on 18 August 1909 as Dundee Hibernian in a game that resulted in a 1-1 draw with Hibernian; notes that in 1910 Dundee United joined the Scottish football league and went on to win all of Scotland’s major football honours, winning the league cup in 1979-80 and 1980-81, the league in 1982-83 and the Scottish Cup in 1993-94; further notes that united was the first Scottish side to reach the final of the UEFA Cup in 1987 where, although they were narrowly beaten by IFK Gothenburg, FIFA awarded its first-ever Fair Play Award to the club for the sporting behaviour of the fans at Tannadice Park; acknowledges the contribution that Dundee United has made to International football, hosting International players from three continents and producing some of Scotland’s greats, including Dave Narey who famously put Scotland ahead against Brazil in the 1982 World Cup with a "toe poke", and wishes all the players, staff and fans good luck for their centenary year.

 

Launch of Preventing Violence Against Women

That the Parliament welcomes the launch of a new tool for campaigners working to prevent violence against women and children in Scotland, a new website found at www.vawpreventionscotland.org.uk; notes that this was developed by the pioneering Edinburgh charity, Zero Tolerance; commends the new website and network for providing a place for individuals and organisations to share expertise, information and good practice on preventing violence, abuse and exploitation of women and children and thus avoid unnecessary duplication and missed opportunities for collaboration; welcomes the funding from the Scottish Government, and acknowledges the need for continued resourcing and support for preventative initiatives such as this, as recognised in the Scottish Government’s shared approach document, Safer Lives: Changed Lives, which notes that "developing an effective approach to prevention and reducing violence against women" is a key issue of concern that needs to be addressed.

 

Auchengeich Colliery Disaster

That the Parliament notes the 50th anniversary of the Auchengeich Colliery disaster, which claimed the lives of 47 miners on 18 September 1959; recognises that the tragedy not only directly affected the 41 widows and 76 children left fatherless but also impacted on all of the people of the Chryston area and surrounding communities; appreciates that this devastating event continues to be significant to the people of the area; welcomes local projects set up in memory of the tragedy including the opening of a memorial garden in St Michael’s Primary School, Moodiesburn and a fund-raising amateur boxing tournament in Auchengeich Miners Welfare, both of which ensure continued awareness of the disaster among future generations; commends the local community for the dignity and respect that it has shown to the memory of the victims and their families during commemorative events held annually at the disaster memorial; considers that such events play an important role in ensuring that those who die as a result of work are not forgotten, and welcomes all support for the 50th anniversary commemoration event organised by the Auchengeich Colliery Memorial Committee, which takes place on 20 September 2009.

 

The Life of Ernest Levy

That the Parliament pays tribute to the life of Ernest Levy, holocaust survivor and inspiration to successive generations; admires the warmth and humanity that characterised Ernest’s teachings despite the brutalising experience and inhumanity that he suffered at the hands of the Nazis; feels privileged that, after leaving his native Hungary, Ernest chose to make Scotland his home; believes that his more than 40 years here has made our country a richer place; is grateful for the countless times that Ernest selflessly made himself available to talk to young and old about the horrors of the holocaust despite the toll recounting his years in Auschwitz-Birkenau and the other death camps took on him; recognises the contribution that Ernest made as cantor of the Giffnock and Newlands congregation, the love that he gave and received from his own family, the respect in which he was held in the wider community and the impact that he had on all who met him, and thanks Ernest for a life that could so easily have been cut short but instead has shone like the single light that gave him hope and inspiration at a time of hate and prejudice.

 

Insulin Pump Therapy

That the Parliament acknowledges the benefits that insulin pumps have for people with type 1 diabetes in assisting with the condition; notes that between 4% and 14% of people with type 1 diabetes meet the criteria for eligibility for insulin pump therapy under current clinical guidance; notes the variation in financial provision across NHS boards for insulin pump therapy, whereby in Fife funding has been allocated for 10 pumps per year, whereas in Highland there is no separate budget despite all NHS boards having received funding for access to insulin pumps; further notes the differences in waiting times for eligible patients whereby in Lothian the average waiting time including waiting for training and education is estimated to be around 12 months and in Grampian and Orkney the current waiting time is six months; notes with concern the low level of insulin pump usage in Highland, which, at 0.9%, is the second lowest in Scotland, after Ayrshire and Arran; believes that further steps are required to monitor NHS boards to avoid a postcode lottery for patients with insulin-dependent diabetes, and looks forward to renewed commitment to action on diabetes in Scotland in 2010 and beyond.

 

Congratulations to Annie Lennox

That the Parliament congratulates Annie Lennox on the success of her SING campaign and her commitment to campaigning to raise awareness of, and provide practical support to HIV/Aids in Sub-Saharan Africa; welcomes and thanks her for her offer to support the Scottish Parliament in its international development work as an ambassador; hopes that the Parliament, the cross-party groups on Malawi and International Development, and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association branch will respond positively to this offer, and further hopes that all Scots, including those in Motherwell and Wishaw, will hear the message conveyed by Annie Lennox that urgent world-wide action is required to stop the HIV/Aids pandemic.

 

Concerns over Children’s Beauty Salons

That the Parliament notes with concern the opening in Glasgow of Scotland’s first beauty salon targeted at children, Tantrims and Tiaras, which caters for tots to 16-year-olds, offering pamper parties accompanied with glasses of alcohol-free bubbly served up in champagne glasses; believes that the further erosion of childhood innocence and the continuing sexualisation of children pressurises children into acting and behaving in ways that are detrimental to their natural healthy development, leading to possible problems in the future such as emotional distress, anxiety, low self-esteem, eating disorders and depression; notes the findings of The Good Childhood Inquiry, which was commissioned by The Children's Society with the aim of renewing society’s understanding of modern childhood and which, alongside its other recommendations, believes that the premature sexualisation of children should be discouraged, and hopes that this inquiry and other work done in this field will help inform and shape policy toward providing children with the best possible childhood.

 

Burma Court finds Aung San Suu Kyi Guilty

That the Parliament expresses its deep concern at the news that Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to 18 months of house arrest; notes that Ms Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, has spent nearly 14 of the last 20 years in detention following her National League for Democracy (NLD) party's victory in the 1990 elections and that the NLD was never allowed to take power; further notes the international condemnation of the sentence and the belief that the verdict is designed to prevent Ms Suu Kyi from taking part in next year’s planned multi-party elections, and calls on the international community to continue to apply pressure on Burma’s military junta in order that human rights and democracy can properly flourish in the country.

 

Panorama : Britain’s Homecare Scandal , An example of Investigative Journalism at its best

That the Parliament expresses grave concern regarding the arrest of Arifa Farooq, the journalist who, with her colleagues in the Panorama programme, Britain’s Homecare Scandal, exposed scandalously poor quality of care experienced by elderly people in their own homes; notes that the programme has prompted action by the Scottish Government and an inquiry by the Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee into home care; applauds all those involved in producing a powerful programme, which is already ensuring more protection for older people who rely on home care; believes that this Panorama programme is in the finest tradition of investigative journalism, and is concerned that while undercover journalism and any methods involving deception must be closely monitored and operate within clear conditions, the action by the police in this instance could deter journalists from one of their core purposes of exposing wrongdoing, cruelty and neglect.

 

Tombstoning, Jumping into the Unknown

That the Parliament notes with concern the dangerous practice of tombstoning, a potentially lethal practice that involves jumping into the sea, rivers and lochs from a cliff or other high point; further notes with concern the incidence of tombstoning in areas of north east Scotland, including Arbroath and the ongoing occurrence of tombstoning at both coastal and inland locations across Scotland; also notes with concern that in the United Kingdom tombstoning has killed 10 and seriously injured 26 people since 2005; again notes with concern that tombstoning not only puts the lives of all those directly involved at risk but also takes up a significant amount of time of the emergency services; notes also with concern the emergence of websites and videos promoting this dangerous activity that often give a false impression that tombstoning is risk-free, which can lead to copycat behaviour; welcomes the joint efforts to address this issue between police forces and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and in particular congratulates the local collaborative approach taken between Tayside Police and the MCA, which has resulted in a local education campaign in schools, warning of the dangers of tombstoning, a campaign leaflet focussed on holiday-makers and an appropriate enforcement strategy; notes the need for a dual approach of education and enforcement, and finally welcomes the ongoing Don’t Jump into the Unknown campaign, run by the MCA, that aims to raise awareness among young people about the risks involved in tombstoning.

August 2009

Votes for Women

That the Parliament welcomes the new exhibition, Votes for Women: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Edinburgh, at the Museum of Edinburgh from 31 July 2009 to 9 January 2010; notes that the exhibition uses photos and artefacts to chart the long struggle to win the vote, which was eventually granted to all women in 1928; further notes that at the height of the campaign in October 1909 a grand pageant was held in Edinburgh and to honour its 100 year anniversary and history of women’s activism a re-enactment march will take place on 10 October 2009; encourages all women to join in the parade in honour of all suffragettes who fought hard for all sisters to have a free vote; congratulates the Gude Cause, based at the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, for organising the march and complementary events, and further notes that more information can be found at http://www.gudecause.org.uk

Student Hardship Crisis in Scotland

That the Parliament expresses deep concern at new statistics on the levels of student hardship at colleges and universities in Scotland; notes that the report, Higher and Further Education Students’ Income, Expenditure and Debt in Scotland 2007-08, finds a 60% increase in students’ reliance on credit card and bank loan borrowing among higher education students and a huge increase of 334% among college students over the last three years; further notes findings that 38% of higher education and 40% of college students have considered dropping out, with financial considerations cited as the largest reason, and that many students have gone without food, heating, books for study and prescriptions or medicines because of a shortage of money; expresses concern that this research took place before the economic downturn hit students in Scotland; believes it is further proof that increasing money in students' pockets must at this stage take precedent over reducing graduate debt; highlights the calls from student leaders across Scotland for increased availability of student loans from the Scottish Government, and calls on the Scottish Government to use existing resources to implement the main opposition parties’ action plan to tackle student hardship by providing a £500 increase in grants and a £7,000 minimum income for the poorest students, a £200 increase in support for all students and nearly £2 million additional investment in childcare and hardship funds.

 

Barred Campaign goes nationwide

That the Parliament congratulates the Barred campaign, led by Mark Cooper, which seeks to improve the accessibility for disabled people of licensed premises across Edinburgh and now Scotland; recognises that the campaign has been adopted by Capability Scotland; looks forward to the campaign’s development and future successes, and believes that no one should be barred from accessing a pub or club or receive a poorer standard of service because of a perceived disability.

 

Widening access to the Arts

That the Parliament congratulates the Royal Ballet for putting on five days of shows in Havana during its historic first visit to Cuba; commends the company’s Cuban star, Carlos Acosta, for being instrumental in promoting this tour; appreciates that the shows have included a tribute to Cuban ballet legend Alicia Alonso who, at 88, remains the head of the Cuban national ballet; notes that, while the shows were sold out within hours of ticket release, arrangements were made to show the performances on giant screens outside the theatre; further notes that this is the first major ballet company to perform in Havana since the Bolshoi almost 30 years ago; observes that in 1959 Fidel Castro made a commitment to make the arts available to everyone with the result that, under the system of state funding, the ballet became a key part of everyday Cuban culture, and hopes that this successful visit signals a deepening political and cultural rapprochement between the United Kingdom and Cuba.

 

July 2009

Diageo - No to Job Losses

That the Parliament notes with great concern the announcement by Diageo that it intends to cut up to 900 jobs across Scotland, with 140 of those at Port Dundas in Glasgow; also notes that staff have cooperated fully with the company by allowing agreements on pay and conditions to be suspended; believes that the profitability of the company is due in no small part to the skill, commitment and hard work of their employees; hopesthat the proposals may be reconsidered during the consultation period and that all avenues are explored, and believes that the workforce deserve a positive outcome and an end to the uncertainty surrounding their future.

 

Save Johnnie Walker’s Link to Kilmarnock and 700 jobs

That the Parliament deplores the decision to close the Johnnie Walker facilities in Kilmarnock and Hurlford; reminds Diageo that the people of Kilmarnock have nurtured Johnnie Walker since 1820, producing the world’s number-one selling whisky; in light of Kilmarnock’s past and continuing contribution to Diageo, considers that the company owes this community its support; urges the board of Diageo to honour the historic link between Kilmarnock and the Johnnie Walker brand by reversing this decision, and calls on all parties to consider every option that will ensure a future for these plants.

 

Reported Kidnapping of International Humanitarian Activists

That the Parliament condemns the reported kidnapping of 21 international humanitarian activists, including Theresa McDermott from Scotland, and hijacking by the Israeli Defence Force of the peace ship the Spirit of Humanity and its aid cargo in international waters as it travelled to bring some relief to the besieged people of Gaza; believes that this unprovoked attack is in direct contravention of international maritime law and is contrary to all international moral standards of behaviour for a civilised state, and, *notwithstanding the negative activities of Hamas,* believes that the international community, European Union and President Obama should condemn the actions of Israel and bring to bear such pressure on the state of Israel as is necessary to relieve the three-year long suffering of the innocent civilian population of Gaza.

 

International Committee of the Red Cross Report on Gaza

That the Parliament notes with extreme concern the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) report, which states that, six months after Israel launched its three-week military operation in Gaza on 27 December 2008, Gazans still cannot rebuild their lives, seriously ill patients face difficulty obtaining the treatment that they need, many children suffer from deep psychological problems and civilians whose homes and belongings were destroyed during the conflict are unable to recover, and supports the recommendations of the ICRC, which call for import restrictions to be eased to allow vital infrastructure to be rebuilt, access to essential medical supplies and for action to be taken to rebuild the shattered economy that has led to the alarming level of poverty within Gaza.

 

June 2009

Dementia in Care Homes

That the Parliament notes Remember, I’m still me, a joint report by the Care Commission and the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland on the provision of care in residential homes for people with dementia; notes that the report found that 70% of people living in the care homes visited had dementia; is concerned that the report found that some care homes fell seriously short of best practice and that people with dementia were not always getting the best possible care to meet their needs; is appalled that the report found that there was often no regular review of medication, even though 75% of people in homes were taking one or more psychoactive medicines, that the majority of care staff were generally unaware of best-practice guidance and that some felt that they did not have enough time to give the care that they wanted and that there was sometimes little activity, with activity coordinators not always trained or supervised, and calls on the Scottish Government to develop a National Dementia Strategy and work with NHS boards, local authorities and others to address urgently the shortcomings detailed in the report.

 

 

Congratulations to Cornerstone Forensic Service, Winners of Best Social Service Team in Scotland

That the Parliament congratulates the Cornerstone Forensic Service in Aberdeen on winning the Best Social Service Team in Scotland award at the Scottish Social Services Council Care Accolades award ceremony in Dundee on 7 June 2009; welcomes the team’s structured approach and emphasis on inclusion; notes that the forensic service provides support to adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues who have a history of offending or are at risk of offending without appropriate levels of support; notes that the project aims to protect the community and prevent individuals from reoffending by introducing structured support, employment opportunities and activities that bring stability to their lives, and considers that, since the service started in August 2004, it has been a huge success with none of the individuals supported by the service going on to reoffend but instead going on to integrate successfully back into the local community and with several of the residents now in part-time employment and attending college.

 

 

 

Congratulations to the STUC Youth Conference

That the Parliament notes the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Youth Conference, which will be held in Dundee on 27 and 28 June 2009, and its theme, Unions Work for Young People’s Wellbeing; recognises that young people are at greater risk of being injured and made ill by their work and are far more likely to suffer mental health illness when either or both parents have a history of long-term unemployment, and believes that the STUC Youth Committee should be congratulated for highlighting the role that improved health and wellbeing in young workers can have in pulling the economy out of recession and for its efforts in engaging with organisations such as the Samaritans, Scottish Development Centre for Mental Health, see me, respectme and Working Health Service Lothian to promote the need for improved health and wellbeing in Scottish workplaces.

 

 

Learning Disability Week , Changing Places

That the Parliament welcomes Learning Disability Week, from 22 to 29 June 2009; notes that the theme of the week will be to highlight the need for accessible toilets in every local authority area of Scotland; recognises that around 3,500 people in Scotland with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as many thousands of other disabled people, cannot use standard accessible toilets and require public toilets with enough space for disabled people and their carers along with the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist; supports the Changing Places campaign, which is calling for more of these toilets to be installed in public places to enable disabled people and their carers to be active citizens; further notes that British Standard 8300 recommends that a Changing Places toilet should be provided in larger buildings and complexes, and calls on the Scottish Government to reinforce this by calling on all local authorities and other public bodies to provide a fully accessible toilet in their area.

 

Standing Up for Social Work

That the Parliament expresses its support for the Stand Up Now for Social Work campaign, which recognises the vital contribution of social workers to a fair and caring society, calls on government, employers and the media to promote respect for the profession and asks for balanced coverage of social work issues, including the reporting of positive images of the care provided to some of Scotland’s most vulnerable individuals, and agrees that the vast majority of social workers are to be applauded for their efforts in difficult and challenging circumstances.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

That the Parliament notes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) publication of the Copenhagen Protocol ahead of the forthcoming climate change talks in Copenhagen; further notes its recognition that reducing emissions will require a transition towards an economy based on more sustainable production, consumption and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles; welcomes the recognition that this should be underpinned by a just transition of the workforce, which is central to achieving an agreement on climate change and includes the active participation of all stakeholders; believes that the mistakes of previous economic restructuring when entire industries and communities were neglected cannot be repeated, and calls on the UK negotiators at the forthcoming climate talks to reflect widespread support among trade unions and other civil society organisations in the United Kingdom for this just transition clause to be included in the final UNFCCC agreement.

 

President Obama calls on Israel to lift the siege on Gaza

That the Parliament expresses its concern at the recent UN agency assessment that health conditions are worsening in Gaza; notes that the continuing siege of Gaza means that only 40 medical items are currently allowed to be imported daily when, before the 22-day conflict in December 2008/January 2009, some 4,000 medical items per day on average could cross into Gaza and that no reparation work has taken place in Gaza since the conflict; further notes the recent remarks by President Obama at a White House meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel "that if the people of Gaza have no hope, if they can’t even get clean water at this point, if the border closures are so tight that it is impossible for reconstruction and humanitarian efforts to take place, then that is not going to be a recipe for Israel’s long-term security or a constructive peace track to move forward", and calls on the international community to bring an end to the siege in Gaza in tandem with a Middle East peace process.

 

Depression Alliance Scotland’s Getting On, Not Getting Down Campaign and National Depression Week

That the Parliament welcomes the launch of Depression Alliance Scotland’s Getting on, not getting down campaign as part of National Depression Week, 17 to 23 June 2009; further welcomes the campaign’s aim of improving support and treatment for older people with depression in Scotland; recognises that depression is the most common mental health problem in later life, affecting one in seven older people in Scotland; recognises that older people face many challenges to their mental health, including the effects of poverty, social exclusion, retirement, bereavement and physical health problems; is concerned that eight out of 10 older people with clinical depression in Scotland do not receive any treatment whatsoever; notes that 96% of people surveyed in a recent poll believe that older people in Scotland should have equal access to care and treatment for depression, and calls for a review of relevant service provision for older people experiencing depression to improve access, promote recovery to good mental wellbeing and provide support to prevent people from becoming mentally unwell as they enter their later years.

 

2009 National Samaritan Walk

That the Parliament congratulates the 116 walkers from across the United Kingdom and Ireland who took part in the 2009 National Samaritan Walk in Strathpeffer, Ross-shire, on Saturday 13 June 2009, walking between 16 and 29 miles to raise funds for their local Samaritans branches; notes that approximately £5,000 was raised for the Inverness branch, which also organised the event; further notes the donations from local businesses, including those from the North British Trust Hotels, Highland Hotel and Inchbae Lodge, which provided free accommodation for the walkers, and commends the work of the Samaritans who provide confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day, for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those experiencing suicidal feelings.

 

MOBO’s Boost for Glasgow

That the Parliament welcomes the projection that the prestigious Music of Black Origin (MOBO) urban music awards ceremony will deliver a boost of around £3.6 million to the Glasgow economy; notes that this figure takes into account the success of the MTV Europe Music Awards in Edinburgh in 2003; further notes that this is the first time that this major awards ceremony, which will be held at the SECC on 30 September 2009, has been staged outside London in its 13-year history, and recognises Glasgow’s renowned status as a UNESCO City of Music.

 

Cuts at Telford College

That the Parliament is deeply concerned by the plans of the management of Telford College to axe 64 posts at a time when there are increased applications for places; is astonished that the majority of the teaching posts targeted are in business, IT and tourism, which are so central to the Edinburgh economy and provide local training for local jobs; supports a thorough review of the management arrangements at the college, including the massive pay increase recently awarded to senior managers, and calls upon the management and board of Telford College to look urgently at other options for savings that rule out any threat of compulsory redundancies.

 

No Platform for the BNP, working together to combat racism

That the Parliament notes with extreme concern the election of two members of the British National Party (BNP) to the European Parliament; welcomes the Not in my Name petition at: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/notinmyname, which will be presented to the two BNP MEPs when they take their seats, and believes that all of the forces of anti-racism in Scotland, including political parties, trades unions and civil society, should combine their efforts to expose the policies of the BNP and to ensure that it makes no further progress in the United Kingdom or in Scotland and that in the long run it is not afforded any platforms nor means to promote racist polices or to incite racism.

 

Refugee Week

That the Parliament notes that 15 to 21 June is Refugee Week 2009; congratulates the Scottish Refugee Council, which has organised this important week of events, and the many communities and organisations that have worked tirelessly to deliver over 100 events across Scotland to mark the valuable contribution that asylum seekers and refugees make; deplores the human rights abuses around the world that compel people to seek sanctuary; recognises that it is our humanitarian duty to grant asylum to those fleeing persecution and that Scotland should continue to be a haven for people seeking protection; condemns those who would poison our democracy by spreading hatred, and affirms the role of the Parliament in making Scotland a place of safety where people can rebuild their lives.

 

Shark Tagging in the Solway

That the Parliament is concerned about the depletion of shark, ray and skate species in Scottish waters; welcomes the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme, organised by the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network; notes that tagging, which is a non-destructive method of gathering data, will assist understanding of species migration, growth rates and populations, and welcomes the shark tagging event in the Solway between 12 and 14 June 2009, which is expected to involve the participation of 400 rods and to generate around £60,000 to the local economy.

 

World Oceans Day

That the Parliament notes that 8 June 2009 has been designated by the United Nations as World Oceans Day to encourage international appreciation and celebration of the world’s oceans and seas; further notes that this year’s theme is one ocean, one climate, one future; expresses grave concern about the effect of human behaviour on the health and biodiversity of the oceans, and encourages members to "wear blue and talk to two" to raise public awareness of the need to restore the health of the marine environment.

 

64 for Aung San Suu Kyi

That the Parliament recognises Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s role as an important symbol of hope for democracy in Burma; takes the opportunity of her 64th birthday on 19 June 2009 to commend her for her longstanding bravery and inspirational defence of human rights and democratic freedoms against the country’s repressive military regime, and supports the initiative, involving human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, calling on people to write 64-word messages of support for Aung San Suu Kyi to mark her 64th birthday.

 

Job Losses, Profits, and Subsidies at Hewlett-Packard

That the Parliament deplores and deeply regrets the short-sighted decision of the management of Hewlett-Packard to dismiss 843 employees at their Erskine site in order to outsource their jobs to plants in the Czech Republic; is well aware of the company’s profits of £5.2 billion in 2008 and of the substantial public funds given to the company based on assurances offered by company representatives in the past; views with scepticism the claim made by management that the remaining jobs at the Renfrewshire plant are comparatively safe; believes that the interests of shareholders will always swamp the needs and expectations of loyal and hard-working employees, and hopes that the dreadful consequences of this decision can be avoided.

 

Wildlife Week, 6 to 14 June 2009

That the Parliament commends the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) for organising Wildlife Week, 6 to 14 June 2009; notes that there are over 230 events and activities taking place throughout Scotland, including the celebration of peatlands, woodlands and marine environments in Dumfries and Galloway, and appreciates the efforts by SWT, its sister charities and non-governmental organisations in Scotland in raising public awareness of the richness of Scotland’s natural environment and the need to preserve and enhance habitats to conserve Scotland’s wildlife and ensure that future generations can also enjoy its diversity.

 

Credit Unions versus Loan Sharks

That the Parliament is aware of the infamous activity of loan sharks in today’s difficult economic circumstances; deplores their squalid and parasitical focusing on those without work and other citizens on low incomes; believes that measures must be taken to defeat these parasites; is convinced that an expanding credit-union movement, with the appropriate local and national support, is the most effective antidote to this obnoxious practice, especially in communities characterised by deprivation and disadvantage; praises the fine work performed in such areas by Port Glasgow Credit Union and Renfrewshire Credit Union, and believes that all of those organisations and agencies that have the wherewithal could constructively support our credit unions.

 

4,000 mile cycle journey from Glasgow to Gaza

That the Parliament commends the four Glasgow-based students who set off on their incredible 4,000 mile journey from Glasgow’s George Square to Gaza on 27 May 2009 in order to raise funds for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP); notes that the journey will take 40 days, passing through at least 14 countries; further notes that the cyclists’ Pathways to Palestine (P2P) idea stemmed from the continuing blockade of Gaza; congratulates the P2P team members on their innovative use of phlogging, which will allow their sponsors and supporters to follow their progress via their website and by email, and commends MAP’s continued work, which, following the recent conflict, is concentrated on providing support to young mothers and victims with burn injuries.

 

A People’s Bank

That the Parliament acknowledges and welcomes the campaign for a post bank led by the Communication Workers Union and Unite the Union; notes the confidence and trust that the public has in the Post Office compared with the banks, and believes that a post bank, a people’s bank, built on the post office network could make a significant contribution to social inclusion and financial stability as well as consolidate the future of publicly funded post offices in our communities.

 

World MS Day

That the Parliament notes that the first World MS Day, established by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation and its member MS societies, will be held on Wednesday 27 May 2009; welcomes the contribution that the day can make to raising awareness of MS, national MS societies and the global MS movement; commends the MS Society Scotland for the work that it does to raise awareness and provide support for people affected by the condition, and looks forward to welcoming Ryan McLaughlin, a 14-year-old young man from Glasgow, on 16 June 2009 when he will present a petition calling for increased public awareness of the benefits of vitamin D in relation to MS, with particular regard to young children and pregnant women, as part of his Shine on Scotland campaign.

 

Congratulations to His Excellency President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika and Joyce Banda

That the Parliament congratulates His Excellency President Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and Hon Joyce Banda on their inauguration as President and Vice President of the Republic of Malawi following the general election held on 19 May 2009; notes that the interim report by the Commonwealth Observer group that the elections, only the fourth multi-party elections in Malawi’s history, were peaceful and well-managed; wishes all new and returning members of parliament every success for the next parliamentary term, and looks forward to Scotland and Malawi continuing to work together to support Malawi’s development.

 

Language teaching at Edinburgh University

That the Parliament is concerned that the University of Edinburgh has announced its intention to cut its budget for the teaching of languages and that one in five secondary schools is not presenting candidates for examination in modern languages and so calls on the Scottish Government, as a matter of urgency, to explore with the university ways of maintaining and developing modern language teaching to ensure the future supply of teachers of language as Scotland fights to maintain a presence in foreign business markets.

 

Midwives win Gold Standard

That the Parliament congratulates the midwifery team at the Vale of Leven Hospital on the recent recognition of its gold standard service for all its mums and babies; notes that the specialised team at the Community Maternity Unit scored almost 100% in every category of the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative; further notes that this award, which will be delivered later this year, recognises top level care provided to pregnant women and new mums, and applauds all the continued hard work and high standards of everyone involved with the midwifery team at the hospital.

 

 

ProjectScotland - Yes We Can

That the Parliament commends the significant achievement of ProjectScotland volunteers, mentors and staff in facilitating over 2.2 million hours of volunteering in communities since May 2005 through a programme of structured placements with over 300 non-profit organisations across the country; notes the positive role that ProjectScotland has played in changing young people’s perceptions of volunteering and, indeed, themselves; acknowledges that, during 2008-09, 40% of ProjectScotland volunteers came from the 20% most deprived areas of Scotland; regrets that the Scottish Government decided to withdraw its financial support to the charity as of 1 April 2009; recognises the serious implications that this decision has for the charity, its partner organisations and the hundreds of young people who have been in touch in recent months about placements; contrasts the decision with the bold and ambitious Serve America Act in the United States of America, recently signed into law by President Obama, which will quadruple the number of AmeriCorps volunteers to 250,000, and encourages the Scottish Government to revisit its decision and do all in its power to ensure that ProjectScotland can continue to change lives and communities across our country.

 

Social Accounting Pilot

That the Parliament congratulates Co-operative Development Scotland on raising awareness of the practice of social accounting following a flagship pilot project with the Social Audit Network to introduce social accounting to six co-operative and social enterprises in Scotland; commends the contribution to the project played by Highland Home Carers, Highland Wholefoods, Loch Fyne Oysters, Scotwest Credit Union, West Whitlawburn Housing Co-operative and the Wise Group, and believes that organisations that can demonstrate their wider social impact beyond financial performance will gain a competitive edge and ensure that co-operatives, social enterprises and voluntary organisations thriving in Scotland contribute to economic growth.

 

Scotland’s Pictures

That the Parliament notes that, as at 7 April 2009, there were some 2,227 paintings in the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection not on public display; further notes that, of those paintings on display, there were only some nine paintings out on loan in the west of Scotland, and calls for a permanent display of paintings in Glasgow, as Scotland’s largest city, to benefit the west of Scotland with a fairer share and to benefit the whole of Scotland and visitors to Scotland by allowing a fuller public display of Scotland’s collection of paintings.

 

May 2009

European Resolution on Depleted Uranium

That the Parliament acknowledges the European Parliament’s resolution on "Depleted uranium weapons and their effect on human health and the environment - towards a global ban on the use of such weapons"; recognises the serious health concerns about the use of depleted uranium weapons on both military personnel and civilians, concerns that are widely acknowledged by many including the UN General Assembly; further recognises the serious environmental hazards posed by depleted uranium such as the contamination of soil and groundwater, and strongly urges the Scottish Government to offer its moral and, where appropriate, practical support for a global ban on the use of depleted uranium weapons.

 

Industrial Dispute at Ayr College

That the Parliament is concerned at the failure to achieve a negotiated settlement of the industrial action at Ayr College; notes that the college board has imposed a pay settlement without the agreement of the EIS; is further concerned about the impact of ongoing industrial action at Ayr College on students whose exams are imminent, and calls on the Scottish Government to take action to bring all parties to the table to ensure that the situation is resolved as quickly as possible.

 

Declining Bee Numbers

That the Parliament notes with concern reports of the continuing decline in bee numbers and in the number of other key pollinators; notes the importance of bees for the production of honey and, along with other species, their vital importance in food production and in support of biodiversity; supports measures to research and understand better what may be causing the reported declines as a basis for appropriate further actions; further notes that in some areas, such as Colonsay, the varroa mite, which is known to be responsible for some of the decline in bee numbers, is not present, and considers that every effort should be made to maintain that position and sustain bee and other key pollinator numbers.

 

Restoration of Falls of Clyde Mural

That the Parliament congratulates artist and writer Alasdair Gray on completing the restoration of his Falls of Clyde mural in the Riverside Bar near New Lanark; notes that the mural, over 25ft in length, was originally painted over 40 years ago when the bar was known as the Kirkfieldbank Tavern; further congratulates bar owner Andy Boyle on his decision to commission Alasdair Gray to undertake the restoration, and hopes that the mural will encourage many more people from across Scotland to visit rural South Lanarkshire, including the Falls of Clyde, the New Lanark World Heritage Site and local establishments such as the Riverside Bar.

 

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum shortlisted for the UK’s Largest Art Prize

That the Parliament congratulates the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which last week welcomed its six millionth visitor since it reopened less than three years ago, for being shortlisted for the £100,000 Art Fund Prize, the United Kingdom’s largest art prize; notes that it is the second time in three years that the museum has been in the running for the prize, this time for its educational work through its Centre of New Enlightenment, which uses new technology to help young people navigate the museum; further notes that the judges stated that the programme of educational tasks and challenges was original and infectious and commended the way that it gave young people the independence to explore the building in an active way, and offers the Kelvingrove, as Scotland’s sole representative on the shortlist, its best wishes ahead of the winner being announced on 18 June 2009 at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.

 

Supporting the Living Wage

That the Parliament welcomes the launch of the Scottish Living Wage Employer Awards being held in Dalmarnock; regrets the fact that there are around 700,000 workers in Scotland, the majority of them women, earning less than the Scottish living wage of £7.00 per hour; is aware that low pay can lock people into poverty and can be damaging for individuals, families, businesses, communities and the wider economy, and recognises the importance of encouraging employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors to ensure that all low-paid workers are paid no less than the Scottish living wage of £7.00 per hour.

 

First Woman Poet Laureate in 341 years

That the Parliament warmly welcomes Glasgow-born Carol Ann Duffy as the first woman to hold the post of poet laureate in 341 years; recognises her contribution to poetry, and commends her decision to donate her salary as laureate to the Poetry Society.

 

National Epilepsy Week 2009

That the Parliament recognises the contribution made by Epilepsy Scotland and fellow Scottish members of the Joint Epilepsy Council of the UK and Ireland to raise awareness and combat the social stigma associated with epilepsy; supports these organisations in marking National Epilepsy Week, 17 to 23 May 2009, and in challenging discrimination and informing public attitudes; acknowledges that epilepsy should be higher on the Scottish Government’s and NHS boards’ agendas so that more epilepsy specialist nurses and doctors can be trained and patient care can be improved; acknowledges Epilepsy Scotland’s campaign for more nurses and a corresponding increase in specialist posts; calls on the Scottish Government and the NHS to ensure that sufficient epilepsy nurses work in each NHS board and to help them provide local transition arrangements for young people with epilepsy moving to adult epilepsy services; welcomes the Cross Party Group on Epilepsy’s current review of social work section 23 assessments of need for families with epilepsy; congratulates the Scottish Parliament for winning Epilepsy Scotland’s Employer of the Year Award, which recognises epilepsy best practice, and praises the ongoing awareness training provided for the Scottish Parliament’s own staff so that epilepsy is no longer hidden and misunderstood.

 

Breastfeeding : Every Day Makes a Difference to Your Baby

That the Parliament notes that National Breastfeeding Awareness Week takes place from 10 to 16 May 2009, with this year’s theme being "Breastfeeding: every day makes a difference to your baby"; recognises the positive impact of breastfeeding on the health of both mother and child; understands that mums who receive help and support, whether it be from a friend or family member, a healthcare professional or volunteer breastfeeding supporter, are likely to breastfeed for longer, giving them and their child important health benefits; believes that the Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 is an excellent method of protecting the child’s right to be breastfed in public places, free from harassment, and thus acts as a positive incentive for choosing breastfeeding; is concerned, however, that anecdotal evidence suggests that attempts are still being made to stop mothers and babies from breastfeeding in public places despite this being a criminal offence; regrets the apparent lack of knowledge of the law on breastfeeding in society as a whole but specifically within the police forces of Scotland; considers that knowledge within the Scottish Police Service could be improved if the Act were to feature as part of the syllabus taught to probationer constables; expects that, where evidence exists to show that the law has been broken, such cases will be referred to the procurator fiscal, and believes that the Scottish Government should take urgent action to ensure that this law is understood by employers, law enforcers and the general public as part of an awareness raising campaign to assist in meeting its target of 37.5% of babies being exclusively breastfed by 2010-11.

 

Epilepsy Scotland’s Employer of the Year

That the Parliament congratulates the winners of Epilepsy Scotland’s employer of the year awards, Russell Hamilton Business Systems Limited and the Scottish Parliament itself; notes the excellent example that these and the other short-listed employers have shown in catering for staff with epilepsy, and encourages more businesses and organisations across Scotland to support both current and potential employees and work towards achieving a Best Practice Certificate from Epilepsy Scotland.

 

Adult Learners’ Week 2009

That the Parliament welcomes Adult Learners’ Week 2009, running from 9 to 15 May, and notes that National Learning at Work Day, the biggest annual celebration of workplace learning, will take place on Thursday 14 May; believes that lifelong learning should be available and accessible to all; endorses the work of trade unions in making lifelong learning a reality for workers; notes the importance of partnership in delivering successful workplace learning projects and, in particular, the excellent work of the Lowlands and Uplands Scotland trade union education projects in providing flexible shift-friendly courses to union members in a familiar and relaxed environment; commends all those involved in delivering the projects for their hard work and commitment in making adult learning accessible in companies across Scotland; notes that from April 2008 to March 2009 there were Lowlands and Uplands Scotland courses involving 566 students in a diverse range of workplaces across Scotland, including Rolls Royce plants at Inchinnan, Dalgety Bay and East Kilbride, Remploy plants at Clydebank, Stirling and Cowdenbeath, NHS Tayside, Dounreay Power Station and Yoker and Ayr railway stations; further notes that, in the last quarter alone, the projects have provided personal advice and guidance on learning to 926 individuals; celebrates the learning achievements of all those involved, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that workplace learning receives the sustainable funding it needs to ensure that lifelong learning is accessible to every Scottish worker.

 

Wake Up Call for the Scottish Government

That the Parliament notes the open letter on student hardship sent to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning and signed by Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MSPs, further and higher education spokespeople, Gurjit Singh, NUS president, and 25 other student leaders at colleges and universities across Scotland; highlights that the letter criticises the Scottish Government for its focus on reducing graduate debt to date and ignoring the growing student hardship crisis in Scottish colleges and universities; further highlights that the letter calls for the Scottish Government to take a new direction by focussing the existing resources for student support on reducing student hardship; considers that student support levels in Scotland have fallen far behind the rest of the United Kingdom, with a maximum of £4,510 for most Scottish students compared with a maximum of £6,200 for students from England; believes that the Scottish Government should use the open letter as a wake-up call to come forward with new priorities for the £30 million allocated to the student support budget next year to tackle student hardship, based on the principles of reaching a minimum income of £7,000 for the poorest students, increasing student loans and bursaries to address students’ continuing reliance on commercial credit and providing additional funds for hardship and childcare funds, and calls on the SNP to rethink its priorities, to begin finally to listen to students and to work with opposition parties and NUS and student leaders to bring forward new policies, using existing resources, to begin to tackle student hardship in Scotland.

 

Family Fund

That the Parliament commends the work of the Family Fund, the United Kingdom’s largest provider of charitable grants to disabled children; notes that last year the Family Fund gave over £29 million in grants to 48,000 families across the United Kingdom for goods and services to improve the quality of their lives; further notes the recent launch of Family Fund extra, the Family Fund’s new online shopping service, which allows any family with a disabled child a discount of up to 25% from several major retailers; also notes that anyone shopping online can help disabled children, at no extra cost to themselves, by buying through Family Fund extra from nearly 100 different retailers, and encourages people to use this excellent new service to support the Family Fund’s valuable contribution in helping disabled children and their families.

 

Local Newspaper Week 2009

That the Parliament notes that 11 to 17 May 2009 is Local Newspaper Week, which has the theme of building stronger communities, highlighting the important roles played by the 120-plus weekly, bi-weekly, paid-for and free newspapers that serve local people and businesses throughout Scotland's cities, towns and villages; acknowledges the local press as Scotland's most socially inclusive local mass communication medium; applauds the significant investment made by publishers to deliver to an increasingly digital agenda and increase their digital audience; notes that members of the Scottish Newspaper Publishers Association are facing the most severe crisis in revenue generation and profitability in living memory, attributable to the long-term decline in paid-for newspaper circulations, the emergence of advertising-dependent internet services and the loss of recruitment advertising and licensing revenue to initiatives such as myjobscotland, developed under the auspices of the Scottish Government's Local Government National Shared Services Board and led by COSLA, and is extremely concerned about the collateral damage to the democratic process and to the local newspaper industry that would result from the proposed introduction of a publicly funded web portal for the publication of public information notices.

 

Dementia Awareness Week

That the Parliament acknowledges that Dementia Awareness Week 2009 takes place from 31 May to 7 June; is aware that Alzheimer Scotland estimates that in 2009 there are 67,000 people with dementia in Scotland, including 1,640 people under the age of 65; notes that this number is expected to rise to 114,000 by 2031; acknowledges that it is disappointing to note that Dementia Awareness Week follows a year in which a number of highly critical reports have highlighted the inefficiencies and failures in the quality of care of people with dementia in the community, in care homes and in long-term hospital care; notes the recent Care Commission report, Better care, every step of the way, which reflects the findings of 1,036 inspections and three investigations that found that 43% of homes did not realise that they were to deliver palliative and end-of-life care for people with life-limiting illnesses such as dementia; further notes the recent Care Commission report, Gradings So Far, which has shown significant variations in the quality of care received by elderly people in care homes when compared to other groups; considers that the poor quality of care at home services revealed in a recent Panorama investigation is simply unacceptable and particularly harmful to those people with dementia who may not be able to speak out for themselves; therefore supports the work of the Cross Party Group on Alzheimer’s, which calls for a Charter of Rights for people with dementia; further welcomes the decision by Alzheimer Scotland, in supporting this initiative, to host a series of roadshows across Scotland in June 2009, starting in Irvine on Friday 5 June, to consult people with dementia, their carers and other stakeholders on the content of a Charter of Rights; notes that the Charter of Rights seeks to ensure that individuals and their families have a clear set of rights from diagnosis through to end of life, and therefore considers that a fundamental culture change in care services would help ensure the highest quality of service provision to people with dementia.

 

April 2009

Welcome to Age Concern and Help The Aged in Scotland

That the Parliament welcomes the merger of Age Concern Scotland and Help the Aged in Scotland; congratulates both organisations on joining forces to support older people by providing services and campaigning on the issues that impact on the lives of older people, and recognises the contribution that the merged organisation will make in supporting older people to meet the challenges of combating fuel poverty and securing high quality services, including appropriate personal care, transport and housing.

 

Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living

That the Parliament supports International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April 2009, which has the theme, good occupational health for all workers; notes that International Workers’ Memorial Day commemorates the two million workers who die from accidents and diseases at work, the 1.2 million who are injured and the 160 million who fall ill each year due to unsafe, unhealthy or unsustainable work and workplaces; notes that such deaths greatly exceed the number of deaths caused by war and that many such deaths are preventable by improved health and safety; calls for this day to be widely observed in Scotland through action to improve safety and provide a healthier working environment, and believes that the Scottish Government and others should formally recognise International Workers’ Memorial Day as an annual event when they take stock and advance plans for health and safety improvements and seek to provide a healthier working environment in the year to come.

 

Careers Across Scotland

That the Parliament congratulates all who took part in the carers’ rally at the Parliament on Wednesday 22 April 2009, particularly those from Carers of West Lothian who have done so much to support carers and their needs, and offers all carers support for their campaign to have fair and equitable respite services provided for them and their families right across Scotland.

 

University of Edinburgh Teaching Awards

That the Parliament notes the success of Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s Teaching Awards, which recognise the outstanding contribution of staff at the university; highlights that over 2,700 students nominated staff for being exceptional teachers and that over 620 staff were nominated; believes that the scheme is a positive way for students to push for high standards of teaching, especially in research-intensive institutions; congratulates other schemes being run at universities across Scotland, and further highlights the teaching awards as best practice in recognising the hard work of staff at the University of Edinburgh and encouraging excellence in teaching, as well as in research.

 

Jack Jones - Socialist and Trade Unionist

That the Parliament mourns the passing of Jack Jones, former general secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, International Brigader, Liverpool city councillor and president of the National Pensioners’ Convention; applauds his lifetime commitment to improving the lives of working people; recognises that he fought fascism, poverty and inequality with his heart and soul, and extends its deepest sympathies to his family, friends and many comrades around the world.

 

Congratulations to James Lillis, Weinner of the 4th. STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning

That the Parliament congratulates James Lillis of Unite the Union on winning the prestigious Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning in recognition of his tireless work in supporting and encouraging others to participate in learning; notes in particular his immense contribution to supporting a learning culture in his own workplace at First Glasgow; celebrates his commitment to integration in the workplace and his key role in helping migrant workers integrate into the broader community; appreciates his efforts in partnership with Unite the Union, First Glasgow, Renfrewshire Buddies, Adam Smith College and the learners themselves in making his workplace learning centre a success; salutes James Lillis as an inspiration in making possible for his fellow workers the reality of learning and community involvement, and congratulates the STUC and trade unionists across Scotland on the priority that they give to learning in the workplace.

 

National Osteoporosis Society Manifesto for Scotland

That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the National Osteoporosis Society’s manifesto for Scotland; is concerned that osteoporosis is a long-term condition that is currently putting around 250,000 people in Scotland at risk of painful fractures, which are costly for the NHS to treat; notes that much can be done to prevent these fractures through the proper identification, treatment and care of people who have osteoporosis; considers that a fracture liaison service linked to every hospital that receives fragility fractures would ensure that every fragility fracture patient gets the treatment and care that they need; calls for coherent clinical guidance on the prevention, diagnosis and care of falls, fragility fractures and osteoporosis; also calls for the quality and systems of care for people at risk of falls, fragility fractures and osteoporosis to be measured on a regular basis to stimulate best practice; further calls for healthcare professionals working in primary care to be offered meaningful financial incentives to identify and treat people at a high risk of fragility fractures, and finally calls for measures to improve understanding of bone health among individuals of all ages and especially among children in primary and secondary school settings.

 

Mental Health Action Week 2009

That the Parliament supports Mental Health Action Week 2009, run by the Mental Health Foundation from 12 to 18 April; notes that this year’s campaign is raising awareness about the impact that fear and anxiety can have on our lives; expresses concern that up to one in 10 people in Scotland experience a problem with anxiety and that one in four will experience a serious problem with mental wellbeing at some point in life; welcomes the availability of the free campaign action pack from the Mental Health Foundation, and calls on the Scottish Government to support community mental health facilities to ensure that throughout Scotland everyone has access to adequate support facilities and resources at times when fear and anxiety is having a debilitating impact on lives.

 

RNID Hearing Matters campaign

That the Parliament welcomes RNID Scotland’s campaign, Hearing Matters; notes that there are 758,000 deaf and hard of hearing people in Scotland, the majority of whom are aged over 55; further notes that it takes people on average 10 to 15 years to address hearing loss and that there are around 350,000 people in Scotland who could benefit from a hearing aid but are not currently using one; considers that some GPs in the NHS Ayrshire and Arran area are screening adults for their hearing in the community rather than making a straight referral to audiology or ENT, and believes that hearing loss should be identified and treated at the earliest opportunity and the introduction of hearing screening on the NHS for those aged 55 and over considered.

 

Resource needed for the Cairo Programme

That the Parliament notes the assessment made by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that a total investment of $64.7 billion is needed for the delivery of the global programme of sexual and reproductive health and family planning, as adopted by the 179 countries represented at the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development; agrees with the UNFPA that the implementation of this programme is crucial for the eradication of extreme poverty; recognises that this is the first time in 15 years that the Cairo Programme of Action’s cost estimates have been reviewed; further notes that only one third of the $64.7 billion has been pledged from the aid budgets of donor countries; considers that there is a dire need to increase the financial resources for the implementation of the Cairo Programme and that, if the governments of the rich world are serious about the Millennium Development Goals, they should not leave the poorest countries on Earth to find the bulk of the investment themselves; recognises the commitment that both the Scottish and UK governments have shown in the field of international development, and urges them to consider what further action can be taken in light of this reassessment of the resources needed.

 

MS Awareness Week

That the Parliament notes that MS Awareness Week will take place from 27 April to 3 May 2009 with the theme of misconceptions about multiple sclerosis (MS) and the impact that these can have on the lives of people living with the condition; believes that, as around one in 500 Scots have MS, it is crucial that service providers and the general public have a greater understanding and awareness of MS and how it affects individuals and families, and commends the MS Society Scotland for the work that it does to raise awareness and provide support for people affected by the condition.

 

UN fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip

That the Parliament welcomes the appointment by the United Nations of the South African judge and former war crimes prosecutor, Richard Goldstone, to lead a fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip; notes that Mr Goldstone will investigate all alleged violations of international humanitarian law, including the use of white phosphorus, before, during and after the recent Israeli military campaign in Gaza; further notes that Martin Uhomoibhi, president of the UN Human Rights Council, has stated that the mission will be independent and impartial, and calls on the international community actively to encourage full Israeli cooperation with the mission.

 

Grampian Police Knife Amnesty

That the Parliament notes the success of the recent knife amnesty held by Grampian Police over the last nine months, during which more than 1,000 knives and other weapons were anonymously handed in to police; congratulates Grampian Police for its proactive approach and success in taking knives off the streets of Aberdeen; believes that the number of knives handed in during a knife amnesty is likely to represent only a fraction of those that are being carried; agrees that these figures are a stark reminder that knife carrying is not just a west coast or a central belt problem but a problem that affects every part of Scotland; believes that one knife on the streets of Scotland is one knife too many; notes that the last Scotland-wide knife amnesty was held under the previous administration, between May and June 2006, during which a total of 12,642 knives were taken off the streets, and calls on the Scottish Government to hold a properly resourced high-profile Scotland-wide knife amnesty to help rid the streets of knives.

 

UK nuclear submarines involved in 14 collisions and over 200 fires

That the Parliament expresses serious concern over the admission that UK nuclear submarines have been involved in 14 collisions since 1979 and that over 200 fires have occurred on board nuclear submarines since 1987; considers that a number of these fires occurred when the nuclear submarines were at base resulting in the need for external help to contain the situations, and believes that the real possibility of a nuclear disaster, which could potentially cause untold suffering to the people of Scotland, demonstrates why it is time to remove these weapons of mass destruction from Scottish waters and for the UK Government to abandon its plans to renew Trident.

 

The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama

That the Parliament welcomes the announcement from the Scottish Funding Council that drama courses at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama will be funded at conservatoire level; believes that pitching the funding at an appropriate level ensures that the academy’s funding is in line with institutions such as the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; considers that this announcement confirms that the academy is at the forefront of drama education internationally, demonstrated by its recent Research Assessment Exercise result; notes that this decision follows a concerted campaign by members of opposition parties calling on the Scottish Government to ensure that drama courses are funded at the appropriate level, and congratulates the academy on its continued status as Scotland’s internationally renowned conservatoire of music and drama.

 

Worrying Rise in Racist Incidents in Glasgow

As an amendment to motion S3M-3861 in the name of Anne McLaughlin (Worrying Rise in Racist Incidents in Glasgow), leave out from "is also concerned" to end and insert "believes that there should be no complacency at any level of government about this rise and that continued support should be given to the work of community integration; is concerned that Audit Scotland has concluded that "while councils have developed policies on race equality...the [race equality] duty has not yet had a significant impact on the delivery of services or on people from minority ethnic communities"; is also concerned that the Scottish Government has not issued guidance on equality impact assessments for single outcome agreements, and calls on the Scottish Government to produce an action plan on race equality and to take responsibility for achieving the targets set out in that plan."

 

Developing Telehealth in Scotland

That the Parliament welcomes the developing role of the Aberdeen-based Scottish Centre for Telehealth and the contribution that it can make to developing telehealth across Scotland; in particular considers that there has been significant investment in angiography facilities for coronary heart disease across Scotland, and considers that a national system of decision support for healthcare professionals would optimise coronary reperfusion for patients suffering an acute heart attack.

 

The Legacy of the International Brigades

That the Parliament notes that 1 April 2009 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Spanish Civil War; salutes the heroic contribution of the hundreds of Scots who joined the international brigades to defend the democratically elected Government of the Spanish Republic against fascism; acknowledges that the remains of several Scots who died during the war are still unaccounted for; encourages people to take part in the series of events being held across Scotland to honour the memory of those who gave their lives in the defence of democracy, and vows to uphold the brigaders’ legacy by continuing to oppose fascism in all its forms.

 

Extension of Concessionary Accompanied Travel

That the Parliament commends the Scottish Blind Persons’ Travel Card scheme, which gives free travel on all bus, coach, rail and ferry services throughout Scotland, and the fact that the card can cover a companion for those people who can use public transport only with assistance; notes that there are others who similarly can travel only if accompanied but that their provision for a companion is limited to bus travel, and considers that all those who need to be accompanied should be covered by the travel scheme, on all bus, coach, rail and ferry services throughout Scotland.

 

Sweet 16? One year On - Is life Any Sweeter ?

That the Parliament welcomes the publication by the Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland (SCCYP) of Sweet 16? One Year On - Is life any sweeter?, a follow-up report to the SCCYP's 2008 report, Sweet 16? The Age of Leaving Care in Scotland; recognises the Scottish Government’s interest and willingness to consider the issues raised in the Sweet 16 report but expresses concern that significant further action is still required by central and local government to implement fully the original report’s 23 recommendations; fully supports the establishment of a system of care that ensures that young people can successfully make the difficult transition from care to independent living; supports the report’s recommendations that the Scottish Government should set a timetable for prohibiting the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for care leavers, consider adding registered social landlords to the list of those required to cooperate with local authorities in discharging their responsibilities towards children and young people, introduce a system of classification for hostels for the homeless that indicates their suitability for care leavers, consider seeking a power to order local authorities to fulfil their statutory duties and continue to monitor implementation and provide appropriate challenge to local authorities; shares the SCCYP’s belief that, in times of financial distress, we need to make sure that children and young people are the first to receive support and that this issue must remain high on the political agenda, and therefore urges the Scottish Government and local authorities to continue to ensure that the original Sweet 16 recommendations are fully implemented as quickly as possible to ensure that all young people in care in Scotland receive the best possible information, guidance, advice and support.

 

Protecting Tenant Deposits in Scotland

That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the research, Review of the Private Rented Sector; notes that the size of the private rented sector includes approximately 233,000 households with 74% of these households paying a tenancy deposit of, on average, £433; further notes that tenancy deposits therefore amount to over £70 million and that the research found that 13% of these deposits are withheld; highlights that the research estimates that up to 19,000 tenants in Scotland believe that they have had a deposit withheld unfairly, with these withheld deposits totalling up to £6 million; believes that tenancy deposits in Scotland are currently inadequately regulated; considers that there is a successful tenancy deposit protection scheme operating in England and Wales; recognises that there are powers provided by statute as part of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 to introduce a tenancy deposit protection scheme; considers that there is support among the National Union of Students, Shelter and many other organisations for such a tenancy deposit protection scheme, and calls on the Scottish Government to introduce at the earliest opportunity a tenancy deposit protection scheme to protect tenants and good landlords alike from rogue private landlords.

 

The Glasgow School of Art Launches International Competition

That the Parliament welcomes the Glasgow School of Art launching an international competition to design a new campus building opposite its iconic Mackintosh building in the heart of Garnethill; notes that the successful architect-led team will design and deliver the first phase of a two-phase project to create an urban campus, and believes that the project will result in a building that is as inspirational to current and future generations of staff and students as the renowned Mackintosh building, demonstrated by the many thousands of tourists who visit the Mackintosh building every year, will ensure world-class facilities for teaching and research and will enhance the school’s international reputation.

 

Post Bank

That the Parliament welcomes the proposal for a new post bank to be run as part of the post office network that was launched on Tuesday 17 March 2009 by a coalition of trade unions, businesses, pensioner and pressure groups and charities; notes that the proposed model would strengthen the role of the post office network, making it more viable, creating new job opportunities and securing its role for the future; further notes that it would mark a return to the form of relationship banking abandoned by our biggest banks and ensure a stable source of finance in the heart of communities that could provide financial services to three million people still not using banks, including the most disadvantaged people, pensioners, people who live in very remote rural areas and the many small businesses that are looking for alternative sources of finance, of which two out of five would consider banking with a post bank; recognises that the post office network is a unique national resource on which communities, businesses and individuals depend, and believes that setting up a post bank provides a unique opportunity to answer both concerns around secure and equitable finance and the future of the post office network.

 

Cuban Women on Tour

That the Parliament welcomes Carolina Amador Perez, international relations officer of the federation of Cuban women, the FMC, and Gilda Chacón Bravo, of the international department of Cuba’s trade union congress, the CTC, who are visiting Scotland from 12 March to 4 April 2009 as part of a tour of the United Kingdom; is pleased that, as Cuba celebrates 50 years of its revolution, this tour offers the opportunity to discuss what this has meant for women in that country; notes that the FMC is one of the largest women's organisations in the world, with more than three million members aged 14 and above; congratulates the FMC on its work, which has contributed to the fact that women now make up 42% of elected parliamentary positions in Cuba, the third largest representation of women in any parliament in the world, and congratulates women of the CTC who have leading roles in Cuba's trade union

 

March 2009

Glasgow City Council announces £7 Minimum Wage

That the Parliament welcomes the decision by Glasgow City Council, Scotland’s largest local authority, to pay its staff a new minimum wage of £7 per hour; notes that this move will boost the wages of the lowest paid staff by more than £1,100 a year; further notes that up to 80,000 workers in Glasgow earn less than £7 per hour and that this move has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of families across the city; acknowledges that the decision follows a similar successful scheme in London, and recognises that the national minimum wage was introduced by the UK Labour government without the support of other parties.

 

Red Cross Holyrood Update

That the Parliament welcomes the British Red Cross’s most recent edition of Holyrood Update; notes that the Red Cross has responded to recent international emergencies in Zimbabwe and Gaza with an appeal to help thousands of people affected by cholera and food shortages in Zimbabwe, raising £280,300 so far, and an appeal in response to the humanitarian situation in Gaza that had raised £77,800 by 22 January 2009 when the organisation joined an appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, and congratulates the Global Glasgow Youth Project for its work with vulnerable young people in South Africa and for its overall group award at the British Red Cross Humanitarian Citizen Awards.

 

BSL Recognition Day 18th. March 2009

That the Parliament recognises 18 March 2009 as British Sign Language (BSL) Recognition Day; commends Donaldson’s school in Linlithgow for its role as Scotland’s national school for children who are deaf or have severe speech and language difficulties; recognises the dedication of the staff in teaching BSL, which helps pupils transition into the community; encourages all local authorities to consider the range and quality of resources that Donaldson’s offers and how they could be used to benefit children and young people from their areas, and calls on the Scottish Government to continue to support the school in its vital role in Scotland.

 

Credit Unions, Pioneering Roles in the Community

That the Parliament notes the important role of credit unions within the Glasgow Pollok constituency, across Glasgow and throughout Scotland; in particular, congratulates Pollok Credit Union on its unique and pioneering decision to set up an enterprise trust to take over the running of Pollok Post Office, manage a daycare nursery and offer a budgeting service to those with multiple debt problems, thereby securing jobs and services in the local community and beyond; recognises the real opportunity that these partnerships can provide in offering financial services and money advice to communities feeling the impact of economic recession, and considers that all possible ways by which further such enterprises can be encouraged should be explored.

 

25th. Anniversary of the Miners’ Strike

That the Parliament notes that 8 March 2009 is the 25th anniversary of the National Union of Mineworkers National Executive Committee granting special permission to members to take strike action in defence of jobs; recalls that Polmaise in Stirlingshire was one of the first proposed pit closures that prompted the national industrial action; remembers those who died while on picket lines; further remembers the pivotal role of women’s groups in supporting families and mining communities during the strike; recognises the devastating impact that the pit closures and dispute had on communities across Scotland; understands the importance that the miners’ strike plays in the history of trade union relations in the United Kingdom, and welcomes the positive and constructive role that trade unions continue to play in the modern workplace and their vital involvement in areas such as health and safety, equalities and trade union learning.

 

Campaign for the release of Binavak Sen

That the Parliament welcomes the visit to Scotland of Indian human rights campaigner Illina Sen on Monday 9 March 2009; notes that her husband, Binayak Sen, has been jailed in India since May 2007; recognises that Amnesty International considers his jail sentence to be unacceptable and politically motivated; notes that Binayak Sen is a medical doctor who has devoted decades of his life to working with poor people in central India, and welcomes the work done by the Free Binayak Sen Campaign to condemn attempts to silence peaceful campaigns for justice and equality.

 

Snaring in Scotland

That the Parliament notes with concern that it is now a full year since the previous Minister for Environment announced his intention not to ban snares but to create further regulations to govern their use; recognises that the proposed regulations have not yet appeared; considers that, even with regulation, the continued use of snaring will subject thousands of Scotland’s animals every year to distress and suffering, including disembowelment, mutilation and death by slow strangulation, which is unacceptable and could not legally be inflicted on domestic animals; also considers that indiscriminate trapping methods such as snares exact a heavy toll on non-target animals, including wildlife, pets and farmed animals; is concerned that snares are still used to catch protected mountain hares; recognises that the Scottish Executive consultation on the future of snaring in 2006 elicited a more than two-to-one majority in favour of an outright ban on snares and that a poll commissioned in October 2008 showed that 79% of the Scottish public thought that snares should be banned, and therefore fully supports the campaign by Advocates for Animals, the League Against Cruel Sports and other wildlife organisations in calling for urgent action including a complete ban on snares in Scotland.

 

Women’s Environmental Network

That the Parliament notes that the Women’s Environmental Network aims to empower women to make positive environmental change, increase awareness of women’s perspectives on environmental issues and influence decision-making to achieve environmental justice for women; further notes the publication of Gender and Environmental Chemicals, a scoping study to identify key gender-related issues for international policy-making on chemicals management and safety, commissioned by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which recommends how best to have a gender perspective and input to environmental policy and processes; recognises that the biological, physiological and sociological differences between men and women need to be taken into account when considering how exposure to chemicals in the environment may affect them; considers that a gender equality approach needs to be taken to protect women’s health and help women participate more in environmental decisions about policies, processes and forums; believes that it is essential that women are brought into the mainstream of environmental decision-making processes, whether community-based or those initiated by governments; is concerned that new research shows that environmental and occupational exposures to toxins are contributing, or suspected of contributing, to a range of serious health problems in humans, as well as in many other species, and in particular notes the evidence of problems arising from early exposures, pre-natally and in infancy; notes that, in view of the strength of evidence for the hormone-disrupting actions of BisphenolA (BPA), several US States, Canada and several commercial firms have voluntarily withdrawn products containing BPA; believes that, as a precautionary measure, polycarbonate plastic baby-feeding bottles and other drinks bottles should be removed from sale, and further believes that a toxic use reduction programme should be considered.

 

Cruelty of snaring exposed

That the Parliament considers that authenticated footage, filmed on Tuesday 24 February 2009 and published by Advocates for Animals, showing a young badger caught in a legal snare has demonstrated that these traps are cruel, distressing and indiscriminate; notes that disturbance of the surrounding area and the fact that the badger had almost chewed through the steel cable of the snare, injuring its mouth in the process, indicated that it had been struggling desperately for many hours before its discovery; believes that had this badger, a protected species, not been found, it might have died a lingering and agonising death; believes that this incident is not isolated but is proof that regulating snares will not work, and therefore urges the Scottish Government to legislate to ban snares without delay.

 

Fairtrade Universities

That the Parliament congratulates the University of Edinburgh on its fifth year as a leading Fairtrade University; notes that Dundee, Aberdeen, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh Napier and St Andrews universities are all running events promoting Fairtrade Fortnight on their campuses; recognises the very positive impact that fair trade has on producers in developing countries, and urges all higher education institutions in Scotland to take steps to back the Fair Trade Nation campaign.

 

The Post Office, A People’s Bank

That the Parliament notes the confidence that the public has in the Post Office, particularly in this period of financial uncertainty; further notes the value of post offices in communities across Scotland; believes that, in providing a further range of financial services, the Post Office could assist many of those whom the banks do not serve, and further believes that, by becoming a people’s bank, the Post Office could make a significant contribution to social inclusion and financial stability in Scotland.

 

One World Action’s More Women More Power campaign

That the Parliament notes that 8 March 2009 is International Women’s Day; is proud, but not complacent, that women represent a third of all members of the Scottish Parliament; is determined that recent progress in Scotland will not mean that the issue of women’s political representation falls off the agenda; considers that this issue is a matter of justice and democracy and is essential to tackling poverty and inequality; encourages MSPs to support One World Action’s More Women More Power campaign for greater political representation globally and in the United Kingdom, and calls for urgent action to implement Article 7 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on ending discrimination in political and public life.

 

Cultural and Social Enterprise

That the Parliament considers that social enterprises have an important role in the promotion of social cohesion and sustainable development within our communities, generating substantial social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits; notes the emergence of cultural social enterprises throughout Scotland, building on the long history of cultural organisations using entrepreneurial talent to deliver social benefits and creating a bridge between the artistic and business communities; considers that the social enterprise model delivers high quality businesses that use their more-than-profit ethos to meet social needs and are capable of delivering sustainable growth despite economic recession, in circumstances where traditional commercial organisations would struggle to survive; notes, however, that support for social enterprise is currently provided through many diverse routes and believes that it would greatly benefit the sector if there were greater clarity and a more coordinated approach between funding bodies; congratulates the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition for its membership-led championing of the cause of the diverse range of cultural and other social enterprises, and wishes the coalition and the sector every success for the future.

 

February 2009

Keep the Post Public

This Parliament notes that the Royal Mail Group third-quarter results show revenue of £2.6 billion, up from £2.5 billion last year, with all four businesses in profit, year-to-date profit of £255 million compared to £162 million for the whole of 2007-08 and full-year profits expected nearly to double; considers that profits would be higher were it not for the uncompetitive conditions under which the Royal Mail delivers mail for rival companies; notes opposition from businesses and the public towards privatisation, with opinion polls showing public support for privatisation as low as 3%; notes the importance of the universal service obligation to the social and economic wellbeing of Scotland; endorses the call for a new relationship between management and postal unions and welcomes the commitment of the Communication Workers Union to negotiate an agreement that would support the modernisation of the industry; observes that in 2007 the UK Government agreed to a £1.2 billion loan facility on commercial terms to modernise Royal Mail operations but that two years later only half of this money has been spent; welcomes the recommendations in the Hooper Report that the UK Government should take responsibility for the pensions deficit that followed an extended contributions holiday; recognises that the global financial situation has exacerbated the pension fund problems, but believes that, if these can be addressed to facilitate partial privatisation, then they can be addressed to facilitate keeping the otherwise profitable Royal Mail publicly owned, and further believes that the best way to protect the universal service obligation, including six days a week delivery, is to keep the post public.

 

Scottish Government should set Fairtrade Example

That the Parliament welcomes Fairtrade Fortnight; notes that the Scottish Government spends almost £100 million on food for schools, hospitals and workplaces every year and calls on it to set a positive example by ensuring that at least 10% of this expenditure is spent on fairtrade products, thereby making Edinburgh the fairtrade capital of Europe, and recognises that this target would set a great example to supermarkets, businesses and consumers and that the fairtrade movement has made a real difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest people by ensuring that farmers and workers get a fair price from the trade of their products and making a vital contribution to combating poverty.

 

Firefighter Deaths in the Line of Duty

The tragic loss of three firefighters while carrying out their duties in Scotland in 2007-08, the highest death toll in over 30 years; calls on the Scottish Government to take note of the concerns highlighted in the Fire Brigades Union report, In the Line of Duty; notes the concern expressed in the report that records are not kept systematically and may not accurately reflect the actual number of deaths and at the absence of a common definition of reportable deaths; calls on the Scottish Government to consider the need for a properly resourced central body with responsibility for recording and investigating firefighter deaths and other serious incidents and for the development of safety-critical operational guidance arising from those investigations, and calls on the Scottish Government to work constructively with other devolved administrations and UK Government departments on these issues.

 

ParentLine Scotland

That the Parliament congratulates ParentLine Scotland, the national free and confidential helpline for parents and carers, on celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2009 and on receiving more than 85,000 calls since its inception; commends the helpline’s support for parents and carers through highly trained volunteers listening and offering information, support and advice so that parents are better able to cope with issues such as family relationships, child ill-health, bullying and behaviour issues; notes that a significant proportion of calls to ParentLine Scotland are from parents of teenagers, and recognises the particular importance of ParentLine Scotland as a source of easily accessible support for these parents.

 

Fairtrade Fortnight

That the Parliament notes that Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 23 February until 8 March 2009; applauds the efforts over the last decade of charities, church groups and individuals in promoting the benefits of fair trade in Scotland; considers that the fairtrade movement has already made a significant difference to the lives of many thousands of workers, their families and communities across the globe; recognises that the fairtrade concept is based on traditional cooperative principles of community ownership, democratic membership control and concern for communities; notes that sales of fairtrade products currently total an estimated £700 million across the United Kingdom, and encourages the Scottish Government to work with schools, local authorities, further and higher education establishments and businesses to ensure that as many of them as possible achieve fairtrade status.

 

Apprenticeships Week for Scotland

That the Parliament notes that the second annual Apprenticeships Week in England takes place from 23 to 27 February 2009; recognises the opportunities that this week will provide to highlight the vital role that apprenticeships play in developing a skilled workforce; further recognises that many successful individuals and business leaders began their careers as apprentices; believes that many businesses understand the importance of training workers in order to remain competitive in the current economic climate and beyond; further notes the recent agreement by the Scottish Government, following the Scottish Budget, to hold an apprenticeship summit, create 7,800 new apprenticeship starts in the next year and provide support for apprentices facing redundancy, and calls on the Scottish Government to consider establishing an apprenticeships week for Scotland.

 

Student Movement Supports Gaza

That the Parliament welcomes the day of fundraising at the University of Glasgow for all those affected by the recent conflict in Gaza; notes that the day of fundraising, which will be held on Friday 20 February 2009 and is being organised by the Students’ Representative Council, will offer staff and students the opportunity to contribute to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Gaza Crisis appeal as well as to funds being collected for Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli-based charity that supports children from developing nations who suffer from heart disease, with half of the beneficiaries of that charity being Palestinian children; further notes that the day of fundraising follows on from students at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde and St Andrews universities taking a stance on the situation in the occupied territories and the Gaza Strip, and congratulates the student community for engaging with this issue and pressing the international community to work together to bring about justice for Palestinians and a peaceful two-state solution.

 

International Women’s Day

That the Parliament welcomes the many events being organised throughout the world to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March 2009; notes the role that this day plays in recognising, promoting and celebrating women’s issues worldwide; considers that there are still many aspects of women’s rights, representation and welfare that need to be addressed through a gendered policy approach, including the gender pay gap, the under-representation of women in senior positions within the public and private sectors and as elected representatives, and with regard to the provision of violence-against-women support services; recognises the requirement under the Gender Equality Duty for the Scottish Government, local authorities and other public bodies to undertake needs analyses and equality impact assessments, and believes that these are central to single outcome and other agreements.

 

No Place for Chauvinism in 21st. Century Scotland

That the Parliament calls for Dr Louise Richardson, the new principal of St Andrews University, to be offered honorary membership of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews as were her male predecessors; believes that discrimination on the basis of gender has no place in 21st century Scotland; considers that the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is the home of golf and sets an example for the game to millions of players across the world and millions of visitors to Scotland; believes that the Year of Homecoming 2009 provides an opportunity for the club to drop such an outdated and discriminatory policy, and calls on politicians from across the political spectrum, starting with the First Minister, to support calls for the principal to be offered membership regardless of gender and for the club to drop its policy against allowing women members.

 

Professor Sir Philip Cohen

That the Parliament congratulates Professor Sir Philip Cohen of the University of Dundee for his recent recognition in the award of Leading Individual Contribution to Life Sciences in the Scottish Enterprise Life Sciences Awards 2009; recognises his vast contribution to the field as the most cited bioscientist in Europe; welcomes the Scottish Government’s investment of £10 million in the new Scottish Institute for Cell Signalling under his direction, and acknowledges the importance of the life sciences sector to the economy of both Dundee and Scotland as a whole.

 

 

Aviation and Scotland’s Climate Change Bill

That the Parliament acknowledges the recent report from the World Development Movement, which found that airport expansion in Scotland could create 20,000 climate refugees worldwide by 2050 due to the damage caused by increased climate change emissions; welcomes the plea from some 21,000 people that Scotland’s share of international aviation emissions should be counted in a Climate Change (Scotland) Bill from the start; notes that campaigners will bring this message to the Parliament on Thursday 5 February 2009 in order to highlight the case for the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill to explicitly commit to action on international aviation emissions from the outset; further notes the views of those campaigners that MSPs must not allow the second National Planning Framework for Scotland to support aviation expansion without full and proper public and environmental scrutiny, and believes that aviation expansion remains economically unjustified, especially given that the majority of businesses in the United Kingdom plan to reduce their flying in the next 10 years.

 

10th. anniversary of Chavez Presidency

That the Parliament offers its congratulations to Hugo Chávez, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on a decade of his presidency and notes the wide-ranging and sweeping social reforms that have been implemented in Venezuela in this period and which have widened access to health and education, reduced the proportion of those living in poverty, and markedly so in relation to extreme poverty, which is reported to have been reduced from 42% to 9.5%, and propelled Venezuela up the United Nation’s Human Development Index.

 

Bicentenary of Louis Braille

That the Parliament celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, inventor of the unique communication system for blind people that has been instrumental in unlocking knowledge and potential, creating opportunities and supporting independent action from the time of its invention to the present day; notes the importance of providing braille and other forms of accessible information to people with visual impairments across all sectors and in all areas of activity to create a fair and inclusive society; also notes the potential of modern technology to give full effect to Louise Braille’s vision of effective communication for blind and visually impaired people, and considers that the Scottish Government has an important role as an exemplar of best practice in relation to the accessibility to visually impaired people of public services and information provision across Scotland.

 

World Cancer Day 2009

That the Parliament notes that Wednesday 4 February is World Cancer Day 2009; acknowledges that the World Health Organisation predicts that 84 million people will die from cancer worldwide between 2005 and 2015; is aware that one of the deadliest cancers is lung cancer; recognises that the overwhelming majority of lung cancer deaths are smoking related; believes that the best way to reduce lung cancer mortality over the long term is to reduce the number of young people who become addicted to tobacco, and congratulates the work of ASH Scotland, a leading Scottish charity campaigning for effective tobacco control, and the work of many other charities and organisations working to prevent, treat and research cancer and those that provide palliative care and support both for sufferers and their families.

 

Support for Unpaid Carers

That the Parliament recognises the vital role played by unpaid carers across Scotland in providing essential care and support to people whose lives are seriously affected by illness or disability and the work done to support carers by the Voice of Carers Across Lothian (VOCAL) in Edinburgh and the Coalition of Carers in Scotland; notes that the estimated replacement cost for unpaid carers in Edinburgh has increased by £98.3 million to £554.5 million; is concerned that one in five carers has given up work to provide care, the same proportion suffer poor health, only 40% have had a break from their responsibilities of more than two days and 73% live in fuel poverty, and therefore considers that the contribution made by unpaid carers to the Scottish economy should be recognised by improving the sharing of best practice in the provision of support with other European countries and local authorities across the United Kingdom and by improving the quality of support available for respite care, training, support services and young carers in Scotland.

 

Motion proposed by Marlyn

Celebration of Dundee Astronomer - That the Parliament celebrates, in this, the International Year of Astronomy, the outstanding contribution made to the study of astronomy by Williamina Fleming, born in Dundee in 1857; notes her remarkable work in cataloguing over 10,000 stars and discovering 59 gaseous nebulae, over 310 variable stars and 10 novae, and further notes with great pleasure that the Fleming crater on the Moon was named jointly after her and Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, in recognition of their respective achievements.

 

Motion proposed by Marlyn

Welcome to the Conference on Trident and International Law - That the Parliament welcomes Christopher Weeramantry, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to Scotland for his address on the legality of nuclear weapons at the conference, Trident and International Law: Scotland’s Obligations, which expands on the United Kingdom's and Scotland’s responsibilities arising from the 8 July 1996 ICJ advisory opinion that "the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law", and welcomes the conference’s review of the application of international law with regard to the renewal of Trident by the UK Government.

 

 

January 2008

Map of Gaps— That the Parliament welcomes the Map of Gaps 2 report and website www.mapofgaps.org from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the End Violence Against Women coalition; notes with alarm that three million women across the United Kingdom experience violence each year; further notes that over a quarter of local authority areas across Britain have no specialised violence against women support services, such as rape crisis centres, refuges, domestic violence outreach projects and services for black and minority ethnic women; recognises the need for local authorities and other public bodies to undertake needs assessments under their gender equality schemes and to ensure both sufficiency and diversity of provision; welcomes that, as with the previous report from December 2007, Scotland leads the way in provision and that this, in part, is due to Scotland being the only part of the UK to take an explicitly gendered policy approach to violence against women; is concerned however that the removal of ring-fenced funding for local services may be leading to a dilution of focus and support, and calls on the Scottish Government and local authorities to ensure that rigorous needs analysis and equality impact assessment, as required by the Gender Equality Duty (GED), are central to future single outcome agreements.

Protecting the Independence of the Mental Welfare Commission—That the Parliament notes with particular concern the proposal by the Scottish Government to merge the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland with NHS Quality Improvement Scotland and some of the functions of the Care Commission; recognises that the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland is an organisation that is focused on the rights of individuals within the context of mental health legislation while NHS Quality Improvement Scotland is a broader body seeking to raise standards within the NHS in Scotland; agrees that the strength of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland is in its ability to monitor, visit and assist people with mental health problems independently of government and the NHS and that, as such, the findings contained within its reports are highly valued by experts in the field; acknowledges that the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland is not solely concerned with matters pertaining to health and can become involved in issues relating to care in prison, welfare benefits and how the criminal justice system deals with victims with mental disorders, and therefore believes that it is crucial for the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland to be wholly independent and continue to operate with a full remit.

 

Hospital Car Parking Charges—That the Parliament is concerned that proposals by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to limit free car parking to four hours could result in financial penalties being imposed on staff and the public; notes that alternative facilities are often not available; believes that staff having to leave work to move cars after four hours will be disruptive to both staff and patients; also notes that members of the public can require to attend hospital for more that four hours; further believes that these proposals are not consistent with the pledge made by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, and calls for clarification of policy by the cabinet secretary and a commitment by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to revise its policy to avoid financial penalties being imposed on staff or those requiring to attend hospital for longer than four hours.

 

Monthly Bin Collections in Fife—That the Parliament notes plans by Fife Council to pilot monthly bin collections; is concerned that these proposals are the latest in a series of cuts by the local authority, such as the increase in care charges, that are impacting on Fife residents; understands that efforts to reduce waste are important for a sustainable future but is concerned that four-weekly collections of residual waste will lead to an increase in overflowing bins and on-street litter; believes that efforts to increase recycling and the green disposal of food waste should be encouraged but not at the expense of local communities’ quality of life, and calls on Fife Council to reconsider its proposals.

Beating Bowel Cancer’s 2009 Be Loud! Be Clear! Campaign—That the Parliament supports Beating Bowel Cancer’s Be Loud! Be Clear! campaign, formerly the Loud Tie campaign, on the charity’s 10th anniversary; notes that the campaign aims to raise awareness of bowel cancer and its symptoms, dispelling the embarrassment so often associated with the disease; also notes that bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Scotland, with around 1,600 people dying from the illness and over 3,500 new cases being diagnosed each year; further notes with concern that 75% of those under the age of 35 recently polled by YouGov were not aware that bowel cancer was the United Kingdom’s second biggest killer cancer; recognises that early clinical detection and intervention could save the lives of 90% of those diagnosed if detected early enough; welcomes the continuing roll-out of the national screening programme in Scotland to people aged 50 to 74; urges people to take part in the national screening programme by returning their self-test kits; notes that while the risk of bowel cancer increases with age it also affects a significant number of younger people; supports further improvements in bowel cancer services in Scotland that build on increased patient involvement and public awareness delivered through managed clinical networks, and encourages MSPs to support the Be Loud! Be Clear! campaign between 26 January and 1 February 2009 on behalf of Beating Bowel Cancer.

BBC Refusal to Broadcast the Emergency Appeal for Gaza—That the Parliament condemns the decision by the BBC not to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza and the fact that this decision may have influenced the decision of other broadcasters; notes the statement by Douglas Alexander MP, the Secretary of State for International Development, in which he expresses his disappointment that the appeal will not be broadcast; believes that this decision will severely affect the ability of the aid agencies to respond to the extreme needs of the people in Gaza and will add to their immense suffering, and further believes that the BBC should reverse this decision immediately.

Combating Human Trafficking—That the Parliament recognises the need to develop appropriate strategies to combat the evil practice of trafficking people into Scotland; commends the important and continuing work of the International Justice Mission (IJM) to combat sex trafficking; notes that, in the 12 years since the organisation’s founding, the IJM’s investigations have resulted in freedom for hundreds of girls and women held by force in the commercial sex trade; also recognises that the IJM’s founding principle is the defence and protection of individual human rights for all people by bringing the law to bear on their behalf and by prosecuting perpetrators who violate local and international laws; also notes the important contribution of local groups such as Cupar Justice and Peace Group on this issue, and further recognises the international and interdependent characteristics of human trafficking and the need for an internationally coordinated approach to bring about the end of such crimes here in Scotland and across the world.

 

Loss of Jobs at Vion, Cambuslang

That the Parliament notes with concern the announcement by the Vion Food Group that 150 people are to be made redundant at the Grampian Country Foods factory in Cambuslang; recognises that this announcement has resulted from a reduction in orders from Marks and Spencer, and calls on the Scottish Executive and all other public agencies to work together to ensure that every assistance is being offered to the company, trade unions and the workforce at this difficult time.

 

Generals Say Trident Completely Useless

That the Parliament expresses concern at the UK Government’s continued commitment to renewing the aging Trident system at a cost of £20 billion and notes that the former head of the armed forces, Field Marshal Lord Bramall, argued in a letter to The Times on 16 January 2009, also signed by General Lord Ramsbotham and General Sir Hugh Beach, that nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently face, or are likely to face, particularly international terrorism.

 

Appointment of Chair of the Board of the Scottish Qualifications Authority

That the Parliament notes the announcement by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning on Monday 12 January 2009 of the appointment of Councillor Graham Houston as chair of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA); also notes that Councillor Houston also holds a high profile political position in a local authority and that in this role he will be called on to participate in national and local meetings where matters relating to national qualifications will be discussed; further notes that as chair of the SQA he will be called on to make decisions relating to individual schools and local authorities, including on charging policies and performance-related issues; expresses concern about the direct conflict of interest that occurs should one individual hold these two positions, this conflict arising regardless of the abilities, experience and party affiliation of the individual and which would be particularly inappropriate in the context of the management and delivery of examinations and qualifications, which should be independent of party politics, and calls on the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning to recognise this direct conflict of interest and to review the appointment as a matter of urgency.

 

First Minister Must Set The Record Straight

That the Parliament notes the answers given by the First Minister to Tavish Scott MSP on Thursday 8 January 2009 in the Chamber (Official Report, c. 13822) regarding funding for the Scottish Inter Faith Council (SIFC); notes that the First Minister stated that funding was "resolved"; notes that the convenor of the SIFC has indicated that the matter was not resolved at the time of the First Minister’s statements; believes that the First Minister therefore misled the Parliament and that he should make a statement clarifying and apologising for this position; believes that the precedent has been set in previous sessions of the Parliament that the correct action for a minister who has, even inadvertently, misled the Parliament is to return to the Parliament as soon as possible to correct the inaccuracy and apologise, and that the Presiding Officer should play a constructive and appropriate role in ensuring that this happens.

 

A Scottish Tenancy Deposit Scheme

That the Parliament notes that the next meeting of the Working Group on Safeguarding Tenancy Deposits is at the start of February 2009; further notes the completion of research looking at the issue of unfair deductions and withholding of tenancy deposits in Scotland; looks forward to the findings of the research being the basis for development of a tenancy deposit scheme in Scotland; acknowledges the successful working of schemes in the rest of the United Kingdom, and calls on the Scottish Government to use powers in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 to create a Scottish tenancy deposit scheme that offers the same protection to tenants and responsible landlords in Scotland as is afforded to the rest of the United Kingdom.

 

Diabetes UK 75th. Anniversary

That the Parliament congratulates Diabetes UK on its 75th anniversary, which it celebrates in 2009; notes, in this year of Homecoming, the particular contribution of Scotland and Scots to the work of Diabetes UK and to diabetes research, including RD Lawrence who founded the organisation with HG Wells in 1934, JR McLeod who shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of insulin and John Ireland who co-designed and developed the insulin pen; recognises that diabetes continues to be a major public health issue in Scotland, with 209,706 people registered with diabetes and a projected increase to 350,000 by 2025; commends the improvements in diabetes services over the past seven years arising from the Scottish Diabetes Framework and Action Plan; notes that the action plan concludes this year, and looks forward to renewed commitment to action on diabetes in Scotland to take us in to 2010 and onwards.

 

 

Congratulations to Scottish Universities on their Performance in the UK Research Assessment Exercise

That the Parliament commends the performance of Scottish universities in the 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE); notes Research Fortnight’s analysis of the results; congratulates the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow for appearing in the top 20 of UK institutions, at number five and number 14 respectively; further congratulates the University of Aberdeen, the University of Strathclyde, the University of St Andrews, the University of Dundee and Heriot-Watt University on securing places in the top 50 of UK institutions; believes that this success is down to the hard work of university staff, combined with the significant investment provided by government since the last RAE, in 2001; notes that the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning previously pledged to provide "something for something" regarding funding for universities; believes that Scottish universities have clearly kept their end of the bargain, and strongly urges the Scottish Government to provide the significant resources that universities in Scotland need to maintain their research performance and to remain generally competitive within the United Kingdom and across the world.

 

 

Situation in Gaza—That the Parliament is gravely concerned at the tragic events that began in the Gaza Strip on 27 December 2008 and the subsequent ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli troops; believes that this response is disproportionate and is extremely concerned at the huge loss of life and the many thousands injured in the air attacks; condemns all acts of violence and aggression against civilians; believes that there should be an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli troops as a first step in a process towards peace to bring about a lasting settlement for Palestinians and a secure Israel, and further believes that in the event of a ceasefire all crossings should be open to ensure the availability of humanitarian aid.

 

The Future of the Arts in Scotland—That the Parliament notes the letter circulated on 5 January 2008, with 440 signatories, expressing apprehension about the formation of Creative Scotland and the effects on artists’ welfare and practice, including the view that the situation regarding Creative Scotland has now reached crisis point; notes that the letter highlights a perceived lack of concern for artists’ needs and UNESCO declarations on culture and freedom, a lack of meaningful consultation with the arts communities during the transition process, an inadequacy of funding and an impact on artistic independence of proposals that include an exploitation of intellectual property rights and an introduction of loans coupled with a cut in grant aid; recognises that this is the latest in a series of criticisms of the Creative Scotland proposals and believes that this lack of confidence in the formation of Creative Scotland is shared by many others; considers that the proposals for Creative Scotland have failed to convince many people that they offer any significant improvement on the current provision of support for artists and the development of, and entitlement to, culture in Scotland and moreover that many consider that they will have a negative impact on our arts and culture, and believes that the Scottish Government should take on board these criticisms and not proceed further without reviewing its plans, consulting widely and seeking consensus on a positive and constructive way forward for the funding and development of arts and culture in Scotland.

Helen Suzman—That the Parliament pays tribute to the life of Helen Suzman and her long fight against apartheid and for liberal values in South Africa during her parliamentary career from 1953 to 1989 and beyond, particularly as the only parliamentarian in the South African Parliament publicly and actively opposed to apartheid from 1961 to 1971 as representative of the Progressive Party and later as a leading member of the Progressive Reform Party and the Progressive Federal Party; remembers Helen Suzman’s work for the South African Institute of Race Relations, her opposition to the 90-day detention law in 1963 and to the arbitrary powers of the South African justice minister and her long support for Nelson Mandela despite threats against her from the National government; remembers also her work as a member of the Independent Electoral Commission that oversaw the first democratic election in 1994 and as a member of the South African Human Rights Commission; recalls that she was declared an enemy of the state by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in 2001; notes that she was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and won the United Nations Human Rights award in 1978; mourns the death of this undaunted champion of freedom, but believes that her work will live on in the new South Africa and in the Helen Suzman

 

Woodland Trust Scotland’s Christmas Card Recycling Scheme—That the Parliament supports the Woodland Trust Scotland’s Christmas card recycling scheme being operated in conjunction with Waste Aware Scotland from 2 to 31 January 2009; encourages people to recycle their Christmas cards by taking them to special recycling bins placed in participating WH Smith, Tesco and TK Maxx stores; encourages people who do not traditionally recycle their cards to participate in the scheme and help to make recycling part of their daily lives, and notes that funds raised from the scheme will help to plant new trees in Scotland.

 

December 2008

Minimise Medical Mistakes

That the Parliament welcomes the introduction of a degree course in patient safety at the University of Aberdeen; notes that there is currently no formal training for clinicians in the human and system causes of error and adverse events; recognises research by academics at the University of Aberdeen that suggests that errors by medical professionals affect up to 50,000 patients in Scotland each year, contributing to about 5,000 deaths; congratulates the University of Aberdeen for identifying the obvious need for such a course, and supports efforts to minimise risk to patients by providing sufficient training for health professionals to diminish the risk of medical errors and to improve the quality of Scotland’s health care as a whole.

 

November 2008

Scottish Water Dispute

That the Parliament expresses its concern that Scottish Water has breached six years of constructive partnership with staff by imposing a 15-month pay rise of 3%, which equates to an annual offer of 2.4%, far short of the current rate of inflation, and as a result of this imposition staff have voted in favour of industrial action; notes that, by stark contrast, the remuneration of Scottish Water’s executive directors has risen from an average of £108,000 in 2002-03 to £172,000 in 2007-08; commends the hard work and commitment of Scottish Water staff and the world-class public service that they provide and fully understands that their decision to strike has not been taken lightly; recognises that Scottish Water is publicly owned and accountable to Scottish ministers who are also responsible for setting the pay remit and approving any pay deal, and believes that the Scottish Government should engage directly and as quickly as possible with both trade unions and Scottish Water to resolve this dispute and ensure that public servants are awarded a fair and negotiated pay settlement.

 

Shelter 40 Years On

That the Parliament welcomes the publication by Shelter Scotland of the 40 Years On booklet, which marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Shelter Scotland on 3 October 1968; notes that throughout its existence Shelter Scotland has consistently spoken out on behalf of those who are homeless or in poor-quality housing; further notes that Shelter Scotland has been at the cutting edge of developing services, including the opening of housing aid centres, the rural housing initiative, care and repair schemes for older people, the launch of the Housing Law Service, the returning home initiative and the Rough Sleepers Initiative, and was instrumental in the establishment of housing associations in Scotland such as Castle Rock Housing Association, now Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association; further notes that Shelter Scotland is today the largest provider of online housing advice in the country; recognises that Shelter played a key role in the development of the Homelessness Task Force, which for the first time led to the establishment of a legal commitment to give all homeless people the right to a home by 2012, and welcomes the ongoing contribution which Shelter Scotland makes in the challenge of providing good-quality housing for all in Scotland.

 

2008 Homeless World Cup Sponsorship

That the Parliament recognises the generosity of Cumbernauld-based firms Moviecom.tv and Xltec in their financial support of Scotland’s homeless football team; notes that the Homeless World Cup is an annual international football tournament uniting homeless and excluded people from around the world; looks forward to watching the online TV channel produced by Moviecom.tv for the tournament kicking off in Melbourne, Australia, on 1 December 2008, and wishes Scotland a successful repeat of its 2007 victory in the final.

 

Scotland’s Tribute to One of the Most Influential Scientists of All Time

That the Parliament welcomes the James Clerk Maxwell statue, produced by Alexander Stoddart and to be unveiled on 25 November 2008 in George Street, Edinburgh, by the Presiding Officer of the Parliament; recognises that Clerk Maxwell is one of the most influential scientists of all time with his work laying the foundations for the modern technological society that we live in today; congratulates the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the many donors who made the monument possible; believes that it is right that there should be public recognition of the achievements of Clerk Maxwell in the city of his birth, and hopes that wider appreciation of the works of great Scottish scientists and engineers will inspire new generations to seek to follow in their footsteps.

 

Dundee Top City for Business Growth

That the Parliament congratulates Dundee on being named as the top city for business growth in Scotland in a Royal Mail business survey; notes that between March and August 2008 Dundee achieved a growth rate of 1.89%, placing it third overall in the United Kingdom and up 23 places from last year; welcomes the 118 new businesses that started in Dundee over the six-month period of the survey, and recognises the support that the Scottish Government has provided to businesses in Dundee with the abolition of tolls on the Tay Bridge and the introduction of the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

 

Improving Access

That the Parliament believes that no person should be left stranded or isolated as a consequence of an inability to board a bus; calls on bus operators in West Dunbartonshire and across Scotland to accelerate their programmes for replacing old vehicles, particularly on principle routes, to ensure that more low-floor accessible buses are available; notes that many disabled people, elderly people and parents with prams are unable to access transport to vital services, and recognises the efforts made to date by some bus operators but strongly believes that the current stock of low-floor buses is insufficient to meet need and that bus operators should introduce accessible buses on key routes.

 

Disappointment at Decision

That the Parliament expresses disappointment at the Scottish Government’s decision not to push ahead with a ban on electric shock training devices until the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs research is completed in 2010; notes that the Welsh Assembly has already announced a ban on their use in Wales and is currently drafting legislation; further notes that a wide range of organisations, including the Kennel Club, veterinary surgeons, respected dog trainers and behaviour experts, call for the sale and use of electric shock collars to be prohibited in Scotland, and urges the Scottish Government to review its decision.

 

Dignity for Palestinians

That the Parliament welcomes the passage of the boat, Dignity, which travelled from Cyprus to Gaza with 11 European parliamentarians including three members of the Scottish Parliament on board; recognises that this is the third boat to challenge the siege of Gaza, which has become a permanent blockade and which has affected every aspect of Palestinian life to the point where they are now in receipt of the largest food aid programme in the world; is concerned about the impact of the blockade on ordinary Palestinians, denying them basic health care rights as there is a shortage of medicine, proper medical equipment and severe restrictions on leaving Gaza for referral treatment, which has resulted in many deaths as recorded by the World Health Organisation; supports the efforts of Edinburgh Direct Aid to send aid to Gaza, and recognises that action by the international community, to secure an end to the siege of Gaza and implement international law, is key to encouraging long-term peace in the Middle East.

 

Successful Mercy Mission to Gaza

That the Parliament congratulates the success of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza and the Free Gaza Movement on their successful mission to break the blockade of Gaza and deliver much needed medical supplies and equipment to the people of Gaza; notes that alongside politicians from around Europe, such as Claire Short MP and Lord Nazir Ahmed, the successful delegation included Sandra White MSP, Pauline McNeill MSP and Hugh O'Donnell MSP; further notes that, after the refusal of the Egyptian authorities to provide safe passage, the group successfully sailed from Cyprus to Gaza despite the close attention of the Israeli navy; hopes that these actions will give hope to the many Palestinians throughout the world, including Glasgow, that the blockade will be ended, and believes that only by all parties working together can we resolve this issue, which is causing untold suffering to the ordinary people of Gaza.

 

Back to a Life Stroke Campaign

That the Parliament welcomes the Back to a Life survey of stroke survivors report; calls on the Scottish Government to listen to the views of the large number of people in Scotland with communication difficulties following a stroke and who responded to the survey; recognises the impact, following a stroke, of communication difficulties on people’s lives; supports the development of more, improved and better integrated communication support services in hospitals and in communities; further supports the development of accessible public communication services throughout communities and the establishment of accurate data collection processes to better evaluate and inform local communications service planning, and calls on the Scottish Government to make a firm commitment to act on these issues in Scotland’s refreshed Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke Strategy.

 

People’s Postcode Lottery

That the Parliament congratulates the People’s Postcode Lottery in raising over £1 million for charities in Scotland in its first year in existence; welcomes the fact that funding is unrestricted so that its charity partners, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Children 1st and Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres, can spend the money with complete independence; notes that the money raised so far equates to funding a Maggie’s Centre for one year, supporting the Children 1st Parent Line service for 12 months and maintaining the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s network of over 120 reserves across Scotland; further welcomes the fact that all funds raised in Scotland stay in Scotland, and supports the future growth of the lottery so that other charities can benefit from this invaluable source of funding.

 

Mindroom

That the Parliament notes that Scottish learning difficulties charity Mindroom has launched a major campaign aimed at securing more integrated support for children and adults with learning difficulties; notes the research indicating that more than one-in-six children has a recognised learning difficulty and calls for greater medical and statistical research in this area; strongly supports Mindroom’s focus on integrating support for people with learning difficulties under three pillars, namely, assessment and diagnosis, research and development, and education and training; believes that the creation of centres combining these facilities under one roof represents a potentially revolutionary way of supporting people with learning difficulties and their families, and would welcome creation of the world’s first such Mindroom in Scotland, allowing Scotland to take a global lead in promoting integrated support for those with learning difficulties.

 

 

2014 Communities Lottery Fund

That the Parliament congratulates the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland and warmly welcomes the launch of 2014 Communities, a new and dedicated fund aimed at securing a legacy from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games; notes that this is the first such fund in Scotland or the United Kingdom to provide dedicated funding to help create and support a legacy for communities across Scotland arising from the 2014 Games; further notes that through 2014 Communities the Big Lottery Fund will offer small grants to fund and support grassroots involvement in sport and physical activity, focusing on increasing the number of people participating in or volunteering for such activity, and believes that, by opening this new fund now, to run right up to the 2014 games, people across Scotland will have an early opportunity to benefit.

 

Winning through Unity

That the Parliament warmly congratulates Barack Obama on his election as 44th President of the United States of America; believes that his election represents, in the words of the Prime Minister, "a moment that will live in history as long as history books are written" and is a watershed event in the history of the USA, parts of which experienced racial segregation within living memory; admires President-elect Obama’s campaign, which placed emphasis on unity over division, and believes that his election is testament not only to himself as an individual, his party and all those who have supported him in his campaign, but also to the achievements of a non-violent civil rights movement, which has inspired other struggles against injustice and helped to transcend divisions in countries around the globe; further believes that President-elect Obama shares the values of progressive politics in Scotland and the United Kingdom, and looks forward to engaging constructively with his administration for the betterment of our respective countries and the wider world.

 

Congratulations to Edinburgh University for Being Awarded The Carbon Trust Standard

That the Parliament congratulates the University of Edinburgh on becoming the first Scottish educational institution to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard; believes that the awards are a positive contribution to encourage reduction in carbon emissions; notes the current and future importance of technology such as energy efficiency measures, micro-renewables and combined heat and power systems in helping not only businesses, public authorities and educational institutions but also households to reduce their carbon emissions, and calls on the Scottish Government to look at all options, including local fiscal levers such as council tax, to develop better financial incentives encouraging the use of small-scale and householder renewables across Scotland.

 

Carers’ Rights Day

That the Parliament supports Carers’ Rights Day 2008, a campaign run by Carers Scotland; recognises that nearly three quarters of carers in Scotland are financially worse off as a result of caring and supporting family, friends or neighbours, with many falling into poverty and debt while they save the country an estimated £7.6 billion each year, and seeks to increase the uptake of benefits by carers, raise awareness of carers’ rights and the support for which they are eligible.

 

Further Education Colleges’ Pay and Conditions of Service

That the Parliament considers that there is confusion and extensive disparity in pay and conditions of service for support, management and teaching staff in further education colleges in Scotland, and calls on the Scottish Government to establish an independent commission to consider pay and conditions in those further education colleges.

 

World Diabetes Day

That the Parliament welcomes the United Nation’s declaration of November 14 as World Diabetes Day; further welcomes the arrival in the Scottish Parliament of Diabetes UK Scotland’s exhibition, which aims to raise awareness of the impact that the condition has on children and young adolescents in Scotland; recognises that Scotland has one of the highest rates in the world for Type 1 diabetes and that more than 90% of young people with diabetes in Scotland are at risk of serious health complications because they lack the information and support to manage their condition properly; congratulates Diabetes UK Scotland on the publication of the Making Connections toolkit, which aims to give young people an improved transition from paediatric to adult services in hospitals and gives them advice on living with diabetes as young adults, and calls on the Scottish Government to support fully children and young people with diabetes.

 

Scottish Safety Anaomaly

That the Parliament notes with concern that Health and Safety Executive statistics published on 29 October 2008 show that in 2007-08 there were 32 fatal injuries and 2,721 major injuries to workers in Scotland, compared to 229 and 27,976 in the United Kingdom as a whole, and that the rate of fatal and major injuries in Scottish was 115.1 per hundred thousand, compared to 105.8 for the UK as a whole; further notes that only 52% of related prosecutions were successful in Scotland, compared to 89% in the rest of the UK; believes that, despite improvements across the UK, there is a persistent anomaly in the figures for Scotland that needs to be addressed, and further believes that serious consideration should be given to steps that can be taken within devolved powers to address this anomaly.

 

Mental Health in the Workplace

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Trades Union Congress, the Scottish Development Centre for Mental Health and the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives on establishing a pilot project to raise awareness of the overall benefits of healthy inclusive workplaces in relation to mental health and improving support for workers with mental health issues and hopes that the knowledge gained from this pilot will lead to a further reduction in stigma and contribute to a healthier working environment.

 

 

Success as Edinburgh’s Nightclubs "Unight" to Tackle Violent Crime

That the Parliament welcomes the success of Unight, an innovative new safety initiative set up a year ago in a partnership between 21 of Edinburgh’s top nightclubs aiming to improve communication between bars and nightclubs to make the city’s nightlife safer; congratulates all 21 nightclubs for their involvement in the scheme and commitment to tackling antisocial behaviour, drugs and violent crime; welcomes the collaborative approach of participating nightclubs in sharing CCTV footage of antisocial and drug-carrying customers; supports moves to ban troublemakers from all city establishments; believes a zero tolerance policy against drugs, assaults and weapons is the right approach in tackling violent crime and antisocial behaviour; notes the full support of Lothian and Borders Police and the positive feedback received from customers; welcomes recent figures from Lothian and Borders Police that show a 21% reduction in overall crime at Unight venues since the scheme was introduced, with the decline in criminal activity reaching as much as 70% in some venues; supports calls to roll out schemes such as Unight that enable higher standards of supervision and safety to become reality in towns and cities across Scotland, and supports proposals to make such schemes a national standard throughout the club and bar industry in Scotland.

 

Glasgow Rangers and UNICEF

That the Parliament congratulates Glasgow Rangers on establishing a partnership with UNICEF that will see the Rangers Charity Foundation raising £300,000 by 2011 to fund a UNICEF education programme in India called Reducing the Gender Gap: Quality Education for Girls, which will focus on improving the quality of children’s education and working to ensure that all children, especially girls and those from disadvantaged or socially excluded backgrounds, have access to schools in the Indian states of Assam, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajastan, Gujurat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

 

Girlguiding UK - Girls Plus Action Equals Change

That the Parliament congratulates Girlguiding UK on its Changing the World project; notes that 18 charities have teamed up with Girlguiding UK to offer members of the organisation support and suggestions to raise awareness, money or take direct action to make the world a better place; further notes that, as guiding nears its centenary in 2010, over 4,000 girls in Scotland and 50,000 across the United Kingdom are on waiting lists to join this great organisation and that, without the commitment of its leaders and volunteers, many girls and young women would not have the opportunity to enjoy guiding by making new friends, having fun, being challenged by new experiences, thinking for themselves and working as part of a team, and wishes the 3,460 members in Glasgow all success in making a difference in society today.

 

Energy Saving Week Campaign 2008

That the Parliament congratulates the Energy Saving Trust for organising its 12th annual Energy Saving Week from 20 to 26 October 2008; recognises that energy efficiency is the cleanest, safest and cheapest way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions; notes that energy efficiency can play a key role in tackling fuel poverty but acknowledges that the Energy Saving Trust’s independent research shows that people believe that a lack of time is a barrier to them taking energy saving measures; further notes that many actions, such as installing low energy lightbulbs or boiling only the amount of water that you need for a hot drink, actually take very little time; urges all MSPs to show leadership in their constituencies and regions by supporting Energy Saving Week and encouraging constituents to contact their local Energy Saving Scotland advice centre on 0800 512 012 for free, independent, home energy efficiency advice, and notes that since the Energy Saving Trust was established it has funded or influenced measures giving lifetime savings of over 100 million tonnes of CO2.

 

Death of Eddie Thompson

That the Parliament notes with sadness the death of Eddie Thompson, who passed away on 15 October 2008 after a long battle with cancer; remembers his dedication to Dundee United FC as chairman and his work in the Scottish retail industry; notes his many achievements with Dundee United, which included reaching the Scottish League Cup Final in 2008 and bringing FC Barcelona to play at Tannadice; expresses its condolences to the family and friends of Eddie Thompson, and hopes that the good work that he carried out at Dundee United will inspire those at the club for many years to come.

 

This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me

That the Parliament welcomes Rape Crisis Scotland’s new campaign, This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me, which aims to tackle women-blaming attitudes towards rape in a nationwide advertising campaign; notes that many Scots still believe that women are in some way responsible for being raped if they are dressed in revealing clothing, are drunk, are flirting, or are known to have had many sexual partners; further notes that although rape within marriage was made a crime in Scotland from 1989, the myth persists that women are only raped by strangers and not their partners; believes that social attitudes continue to play a significant role in limiting justice for women who have experienced rape, with a Scottish conviction rate of only 2.9%, and in central Scotland as low as one conviction from seven prosecutions and 45 allegations, with an estimated 40% of rapes unreported, and congratulates the campaign for its use of distinctive images featuring women in everyday settings, challenging people’s attitudes towards rape and tackling the myths and prejudices that undermine women’s right to say no.

 

Show Racism the Red Card’s Fortnight of Action

That the Parliament supports Show Racism the Red Card’s (SRTRC) 5th annual Fortnight of Action, which takes place from 16 to 30 October 2008 and will see a number of high profile events aimed at tackling racism and celebrating cultural diversity at football matches across the country; notes that, since it inception in Scotland, SRTRC has proved consistently successful in using football as a tool to challenge racism, ignorance, intolerance and bigotry in both sport and wider society; recognises the quality of SRTRC educational resources and programmes, which are rolled out across schools in Scotland; welcomes the development of SRTRC’s Islamophobia package, which seeks to challenge many of the myths that have become attached to the subject of Islam, and wishes the Scottish Parliament’s football team the best of luck with its contribution to the campaign when it plays against the SRTRC team at Tynecastle on

 

October 2008

Science and the Parliament 2008, Educating our Scientists of Tomorrow—That the Parliament welcomes the 2008 Science and the Parliament event on 5 November 2008 on the theme of educating our scientists of tomorrow; recognises the role of the Royal Society of Chemistry in organising this annual event with the involvement and support of a range of organisations from the scientific and engineering communities in Scotland; believes that the focus on science education is important and timely given the consideration currently being given to education at all levels, and acknowledges that ensuring that our education system gives a good grounding in scientific knowledge and methods to future specialists and to the whole population would greatly enhance the opportunities for Scotland in the future.

Congratulations on Scottish University World Rankings—That the Parliament notes the publication of the 2008 Times Higher Education QS World University Rankings; congratulates the University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow and University of St Andrews for being ranked in the top 100; further congratulates the University of Aberdeen for being ranked in the top 200 universities in the world; recognises that Scottish universities make up four of the 29 UK universities in the top 200; notes the improved ranking of the University of Glasgow and the drop in ranking for the University of St Andrews and University of Aberdeen; notes the drop in ranking of the University of Dundee out of the top 200 world universities; further notes the delay in publishing the final report of the Joint Future Thinking Taskforce on Universities; highlights the serious financial concerns expressed by many leaders across the university sector in Scotland over the last few weeks, and calls on the Scottish Government to come forward with concrete and substantive proposals to ensure Scotland’s universities maintain and build on their current international position over the coming years.

Regret for Continuing Complacency on Reducing Clostridium Difficile Hospital Infections—That the Parliament notes the most recent Health Protection Scotland (HPS) statistics on healthcare associated infections; while recognising the continuing improvement in MRSA, notes that the number of cases of Clostridium difficile in the most recent quarter (April to June 2008) showed an increase from the same quarter in 2007 of 150 cases or around 9%; regrets that HPS, having tried to explain the increases over the previous two quarters (October 2007 to March 2008) as "probable seasonal variation", now suggests that the small reduction from the two winter quarters represents a real reduction rather than a continuing year-on-year increase; further notes that, unlike England, Scotland still reports on the basis of NHS boards and not individual hospitals, thus preventing the public from having any information about their local hospitals; considers that the continued rise in antibiotic resistance reflects the continuation of a failure to implement effective antibiotic policies; calls on the Scottish Executive to urgently review hand hygiene policies, practice and reporting to ensure that alcohol wipes and hand washing are not conflated in hand hygiene reports and ensure that the denominator of observations is standardised for each hospital and also that inspection is rigorous and independent for each hospital, thus ending self reporting, and further calls on the Scottish Executive to set tough targets for a reduction in Clostridium difficile cases by 2011 to match or exceed the 30% target set in England.

 

Plight of Wives of Miami Five—That the Parliament welcomes the visit by Olga Salanueva and Adriana Pérez, the wives of two Cuban nationals, René González and Gerardo Hernández, who are here as part of a UK-wide trip to highlight their own and their husbands’ plight; recognises that their husbands, members of a group of men known as the Miami Five, are currently serving long prison sentences in the United States of America since being arrested while trying to gather information on Miami-based groups allegedly responsible for terrorist attacks against the Cuban people; is concerned that the wives have been denied US visas, meaning that they cannot visit their husbands and have not seen them for over eight years; agrees with Amnesty International that this action is "contrary to standards for humane treatment of prisoners and to states’ obligations to protect family life"; further considers that it is inhumane, unjust and cruel, and believes that the US authorities should grant visas to enable the women to visit their husbands.

 

Homage to Caledonia and the International Brigade Memorial Trust—That the Parliament welcomes the International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT) to Scotland on the occasion of its annual general meeting (AGM), which will be held in Dundee from 10 to 12 October 2008; notes that during the course of the AGM there will be a wide range of events, exhibitions and screenings across the city including the rededication of the International Brigade Memorial; encourages people to visit the Dundee and the Spanish Civil War exhibition being held during October at the Wellgate Library; notes that 17 out of the 70 Dundonians who defended democratic freedom in the Spanish Civil War died in the war; recognises Allan Craig as the 17th Dundonian name to be added to the supplementary plaque; commends the IBMT on its work in preserving the memory and values of the brigade; salutes the courage and heroic contribution of the hundreds of Scots who fought valiantly on the side of the democratically-elected government of Spain against fascism during the course of the war, and wishes the IBMT continued success in the years to come

 

Save Scottish Sharks—That the Parliament notes that 11 to 19 October 2008 is European Shark Week; is concerned at the dramatic decline in European shark numbers; is further concerned that most Scottish shark species are classed as critically endangered but that none is currently afforded any protection; regrets the Scottish Government’s refusal to offer the tope the same protection as it has in England, resulting in the landing of tope being legal on the Scottish side of the Solway but not on the English side; looks forward to the publication of the Scottish Government Marine Directorate’s policy on sharks, and considers that action to protect these endangered species is urgently required.

 

Alcohol Awareness Week—That the Parliament welcomes Scotland’s Alcohol Awareness Week; notes the work done by the alcohol industry, health professionals, the voluntary sector and police forces across the country; further notes the success of initiatives such as the Designated Place at Albyn House in Aberdeen in helping those who are drunk and incapable as well as easing the burden on hard-pressed hospitals and the pressure on police cells, and calls on local and national partners to put in place long-term funding for projects such as Albyn House without further delay.

 

School Meals—That the Parliament recognises the need to examine the current school meals crisis in Edinburgh and across the country as a result of severely cash-strapped local authorities; questions the SNP government’s success in fulfilling its ambitions, set out in the historic concordat and single outcome agreements, to tackle childhood obesity and promote healthy eating at a time when school kitchens are closing and hot healthy school meals are being replaced with imported, pre-packed, often processed food; feels that these actions undermine the good reputation that the Parliament has achieved in securing free healthy school meals and promoting healthy living through initiatives like Hungry for Success, and further recognises the need to give every child the best possible start in life.

 

Working Together on Child Poverty and the Minimum Wage—As an amendment to motion (S3M-2659) in the name of Bob Doris, leave out from "Labour MSP Mary Mulligan" to end and insert "when the Conservative Party used filibustering in an attempt to talk out the National Minimum Wage Bill during its crucial final stage in the House of Commons, not one SNP MP stayed to vote to help ensure its passage or even register support despite the party’s rhetoric before and since on this issue; considers that the personalised criticism that the intention in submitting amendment S3M-2621.1 was to seek to "engage in party politics on the issue of child poverty" and break unity on the issue of the national minimum wage to be laughable, given not only the partisan and self-congratulatory motion which it alters, but also the tone, tenor and standard of SNP motions in this Parliament more generally, including on the subject of child poverty and the national minimum wage."

 

 

A Fare Deal - That the Parliament notes the Fare Deal campaign, which is asking that demand-responsive community transport schemes, such as Dial-a-Bus or Ring ‘n’ Ride, where elderly and disabled people can book a place on a bus that will pick them up and take them to their destination, be included in the national concessionary travel scheme; commends Help the Aged in Scotland, Capability Scotland, Community Transport Association Scotland, Age Concern Scotland, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Guide Dogs, RNID Scotland, Scottish Disability Equality Forum, Glasgow Disability Alliance, Include Scotland, RNIB Scotland and the WRVS for their work in launching the campaign, and urges the Scottish Government to extend the national concessionary travel scheme to include demand-responsive community transport as an effective means of making transport more accessible to disabled people.

Growing Older Together : Older people and Debt - That the Parliament notes the publication of Growing Old Together - Older People and Debt by Citizens Advice Scotland; is concerned that the average debt level for older people seeking advice from their local citizens advice bureau is £17,767, a 25% increase since 2003; further notes the finding that levels of debt increased as levels of income decreased, with clients in the survey who had a net income of less than £6,000 having debt levels on average 42% higher than those with an income higher than £10,000; recognises the excellent work of citizens advice bureaux in Glasgow and across Scotland in advising older debt clients; supports the need for early and effective benefits take up and debt advice to be available for all older people, and considers that measures to deal with debt, such as debt arrangement schemes and the low income low asset regulations, should be accessible and beneficial for older clients.

Memory Matters Show - That the Parliament welcomes the Memory Matters roadshow, which will visit Dundee and Glasgow from 30 September to 3 October 2008 to offer educational information about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and practical advice on the local support services available to both patients and carers; notes that one in 14 people over the age of 65 will have some form of dementia, with over 56,000 sufferers in Scotland; further welcomes the availability of dementia-specialist nurses at the roadshows; further notes that early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia is vital, and applauds the work of Alzheimer Scotland in raising awareness of these diseases and providing a support network for patients, their relatives and carers.

 

September 2008

The Next Step - That the Parliament welcomes the report on disabled people’s experiences of Scottish public transport, Mind the Gap: The Next Step, by Leonard Cheshire Disability; notes the findings that problems with transport create barriers to education, work and leisure, and that problems arise not only from physical inaccessibility but also from attitudes; further notes that these and other conclusions were also reached in Session 2 by the Equal Opportunities Committee in its report on its disability inquiry, Removing Barriers and Creating Opportunities; supports Leonard Cheshire Disability’s call for a public awareness campaign and robust disability equality training for staff, and believes that the other recommendations made in Removing Barriers and Creating Opportunities should be built on and developed in this parliamentary session.

The Economic Impact of Rugby Matches at Murrayfield - That the Parliament welcomes the report into the economic impact of matches at Murrayfield for the 2008-09 season, prepared for Scottish Rugby by Napier University; notes with interest the findings, which see a contribution of £50 million net spending to the local Edinburgh economy and £104 million to the national economy of Scotland; recognises that through hosting both rugby and non-rugby events there are clear and tangible benefits for tourism, enhanced business opportunities and increased revenue for local and national economies; believes that Murrayfield Stadium is an invaluable resource for Edinburgh and the nation, and, as such, welcomes recent moves by Scottish Rugby to ensure that these matches are coordinated and delivered with the full involvement of all local, regional and national authorities and agencies and in consultation with local communities so that the economic benefits can be felt by everyone involved.

Parkinson’s Disease Society - Get it on Time - That the Parliament congratulates the Parkinson’s Disease Society on its award-winning Get it on Time campaign highlighting the problems faced by people with Parkinson’s in hospital, with materials aimed at patients, health professionals and NHS managers; notes that there are about 10,000 people with Parkinson’s in Scotland, including in Rutherglen and Cambuslang, and that more than a quarter of them will be admitted to hospital at least once each year; is concerned that many people with Parkinson’s are unable to follow their medication regime in hospital; recognises that if people with Parkinson’s do not get their medication on time they can suffer serious and distressing problems, including being unable to move, speak or swallow and that extended hospital stays are needed to restore effective symptom control; believes that many of the barriers to receiving medication on time can be addressed through straightforward measures, including policies enabling people who wish to self-medicate to do so, involvement from a Parkinson’s disease nurse specialist or pharmacist on admission, education for hospital staff, listening to people with Parkinson’s, their carers and families and wider availability of anti-Parkinsonian drugs in hospital pharmacies, and believes that measures should be taken to ensure that people with Parkinson’s get their medication on time, every time.

Asthma UK Scotland - That the Parliament wishes Asthma UK Scotland very well on its 15th birthday; recognises the work it does on behalf of the 390,000 people in Scotland who have asthma, and acknowledges that there have been a number of significant developments in health care in Scotland that Asthma UK Scotland has contributed to over recent years, including smoke-free public places, free prescriptions, promotion of self-management and national standards for asthma services for children and young people.

 

 

Aberdeen Crossrail Project - That the Parliament supports the Aberdeen Crossrail project as an integral part of a future transport strategy for the north east; believes that a frequent rail service with new stations running between Stonehaven, Inverurie and Aberdeen is vital to tackling congestion in Aberdeen and to economic growth in the north east; believes that the project is essential for a sustainable transport strategy in the area and to provide much improved public transport options for residents and commuters; believes that supporting Aberdeen Crossrail will enable even more ambitious plans to be developed for new rail services in other parts of Aberdeenshire; is concerned at recent reports that the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland are no longer supporting the scheme, and hopes that the long-established consensus to support Aberdeen Crossrail will continue.

 

Supporting our Renewables Industry - That the Parliament applauds the Scottish renewable energy industry for its contribution to the national economy and to combating climate change; welcomes the publication of Scottish Hydropower Resource Study, commissioned by the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland (FREDS) Hydro Group and carried out by Nick Forrest Associates, detailing opportunities for new sites to take advantage of Scotland’s untapped hydroelectric potential; congratulates the engineers on the successful completion of the Glendoe Hydro Scheme and commencement of filling, and calls on the Scottish Government to give serious consideration to amending the terms of its tender for electricity supply in such a way as to reinstate a requirement for 100% of the electricity to come from renewable sources, including hydroelectric power, thereby supporting our renewables industry as was the case in the last three contracts put in place by the previous administration.

Sex and Power - That the Parliament welcomes the publication of Sex and Power 2008, the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s annual report looking at women in positions of power and influence across the public and private sector; notes the theme of the report, "missing women", and its statement that "if women hope to shatter the glass ceiling and achieve equal representation, we would need to find the women who are missing from top positions of power in Scotland"; is concerned that despite higher academic attainment, with 57% of university students being women, women constitute only 7.4% of senior police officers, 11.8% of judges of the Court of Session and 13.6% of Scottish MPs and that, while Falkirk Council has women as leader of the administration and Chief Executive and in many senior posts, this is rare elsewhere, with women constituting only 12.5% of local authority chief executives and only 18.8% of local authority leaders; is further concerned that the report shows a declining percentage of women among public appointments, senior police officers, judges of the Court of Session, Scottish MPs and MSPs and highlights that ethnic minority women experience greater barriers in the workplace and are almost completely absent from positions of power; considers that Scotland is failing to get talented women into these positions and consequently is losing out on their contribution to Scotland’s social and political life and our economy, and believes that much more should be done to find the 130 women missing from public appointments, the 85 missing women headteachers in secondary schools, the 21 missing women MSPs and many others, as identified by the report.

Muscle Disease Awareness Week - That the Parliament recognises Muscle Disease Awareness week, taking place from 20 to 27 September 2008, during which the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign will publish a new report, Building on the Foundations: Scotland; is concerned that the report reveals that families with rare and debilitating conditions are being denied treatments that could prolong and improve their lives, particularly home ventilation and physiotherapy, and are faced with major delays in the provision of essential equipment and barriers to independent living; notes that care from a multidisciplinary team, with a lead professional or key worker to coordinate care, improves patient outcomes; welcomes the work of the Scottish Muscle Network to improve patient care in terms of quality, access and appropriateness, and hopes to achieve improved standards of care for all patients with muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular conditions.

Dementia Research Network for Scotland - That the Parliament welcomes the formal opening of the Dementia Research Network for Scotland on Friday 29 August 2008; agrees that the network will play a significant role in bringing together Scotland’s leading academic and clinical experts conducting research into dementia and potential treatments; notes that the network will also collaborate with similar networks across the United Kingdom; further notes that the research hubs will be positioned across Scotland in order to allow participating patients easer access to facilities; recognises its creation as part of the wider campaign to ensure that Scotland is prepared for a large increase in the number of people with dementia in the next two decades, and looks forward to its findings in the coming years.

Auchengeich Colliery Disaster - That the Parliament notes the 50th anniversary of the Auchengeich Colliery Disaster which claimed the lives of 47 miners on 18 September 1959; recognises that the tragedy not only directly affected the 41 widows and 76 children left fatherless but also impacted on all of the people of Chryston and surrounding communities; appreciates that this devastating event continues to be significant to the people of the area; commends the local community for the dignity and respect that it has shown to the memory of the victims and their families during commemorative events held annually at the disaster memorial; considers that such events play an important role in ensuring that those who die as a result of work are not forgotten; commends the trade unions for their work in building trade union organisation and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health and safety laws to help in the struggle for safer workplaces, and supports the call for recognition of International Workers Memorial Day as a national day of remembrance for those who have been killed, injured or made ill by their work

Fuel Poverty and the SWIFT Warm Winter Challenge - That the Parliament commends the efforts of Renewable Devices SWIFT Turbines Ltd to combat fuel poverty in Scotland through its SWIFT Warm Winter Challenge whereby it has offered to donate its annual profits this year to alleviate fuel poverty in a joint initiative with Energy Action Scotland; encourages the business community to take up the challenge and fund the installation of 250 SWIFT wind turbines in fuel-poor homes in Scotland; recognises the value in the installation of the SWIFT Rooftop Wind Energy System, which will have a long-term cost saving for households in fuel poverty as well as providing a green source of energy and reducing our carbon footprint, and notes that, in the wake of the announcement of the closure of the Vestas wind turbine factory in Scotland, this challenge not only supports our fuel poor, but will also demonstrate Scotland’s ongoing commitment to renewable energy.

Congratulations to Team GB, especially Scotland’s Athletes - That the Parliament congratulates the athletes from Team GB who have performed incredibly well in the 2008 Beijing Olympics; recognises the commitment and togetherness of Team GB in its pursuit of sporting excellence; commends the achievement of 47 medals, including 19 gold medals; congratulates Chris Hoy on his achievement of three gold medals and on being the first British Olympian in 100 years to win three gold medals in a single games; considers that calls for a separate Scottish Olympics team from the First Minister are divisive and unnecessary, and calls on the First Minister to spend more of his time finding resources to invest in sport and facilities in Scotland rather than depending on the legacy of the previous Labour/Liberal Democrat administration and to listen to the Scottish Olympians, such as Chris Hoy and Allan Wells, on how best to support Scottish athletes in the future.

 

August 2008

Insulin Pump Therapy - That the Parliament welcomes the recent decision by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland to approve the new NICE guidelines on insulin pumps for use in Scotland; notes that more people will now be eligible for continuous insulin infusion pump therapy thereby improving the quality of lives for those with insulin-dependant diabetes, and urges the Scottish Executive and local NHS boards to monitor closely the insulin pump programme availability throughout Scotland to ensure that people with type 1 diabetes who meet the criteria have access to these insulin pumps that deliver therapy.

Free Tibet - That the Parliament recognises the courageous actions of Iain Thom, member of the Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Tibet who, with other supporters, was arrested by Chinese police on 6 August 2008 during their peaceful demonstration in Beijing against injustices that are being inflicted on the people of Tibet, and applauds his bravery at this particular time when the Chinese government is trying rigorously to suppress expressions of freedom

July 2008

Lost Without Words Campaign - That the Parliament welcomes the Stroke Association’s Lost Without Words campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the impact of stroke-related communication disability; notes that thousands of people in Scotland are currently living with this problem; recognises the real and lasting benefits of communications support in improving communication skills, restoring self confidence and helping reintegration into families and the wider community, and encourages NHS boards to seek more information about this disability by routinely collecting data on the incidence of stroke-related communication disabilities and plan services accordingly, which recognise ongoing communications support as a vital component that must be fully integrated into the stroke care pathway.

 

C difficile - That the Parliament calls on the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing to apologise to the families that have suffered loss in the Clostridium difficile outbreak at the Vale of Leven Hospital and supports their call for a public inquiry; regrets that the Cabinet Secretary has not met the families nor provided them with a preview of the Cairns Smith report prior to full publication; notes with concern the increasing level of Clostridium difficile cases reported in the last two quarters in Scotland, compared to the significant drop in cases in England (32% in the last quarter); regrets that, despite the warnings given by opposition members in the health care associated infection debate on 26 March 2008, it apparently took notification from the Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter prior to its reporting the tragedy of the deaths at Vale of Leven to spur the Cabinet Secretary into action; also calls for upgrading of the mandatory surveillance system to web-based reporting of cases by individual hospital, replacing the current pan-NHS board reporting system whereby the best hospitals can mask the worst, to be introduced as soon as possible on the lines of the English NHS reporting system, which was updated in January 2008; further calls for reporting to be extended to all cases in those over the age of two instead of only over 65, along the lines announced for England; calls for a clear linkage between hospital-acquired cases reported and outcomes to be the subject of mandatory reporting and for this linkage to be published on a monthly basis on the web, and finally calls for all hospitals to have in place clear antibiotic policies supported by pharmacists on the wards.

Salmond’s Government has No Compassion for Disabled People - That the Parliament deplores that in the 21st century the clock is being turned back so that disabled people are apparently the least cared about by this SNP government; further deplores that all those disabled people in Scotland who now for the first time, under a Nationalist government, will face assessments of income in order to determine which scale of fees will apply for essential services that, under the previous Labour-led Scottish Executive, were provided free of charge and without any age discrimination; recognises that the age discrimination against disabled people must be investigated as a matter of urgency, and hopes that all those disabled people in the Fife region and, in particular, the towns of Lochgelly and Dalgety Bay, will act as champions supported by their local elected representatives and pursue this very important issue with every relevant agency conceivable until this disgraceful policy is reversed.

 

 

400th. Stonewall Diversity Champion - That the Parliament congratulates the British Army on becoming the 400th Stonewall Diversity Champion, demonstrating its commitment to supporting all of its current and future employees; notes that this a remarkable achievement in light of the fact that less than 10 years ago lesbian and gay people were banned from the army; believes that the road to equality is a long one but recognises the substantial achievements of the Labour government in ensuring that equality and diversity are valued and protected at all levels of our society, and supports the UK Equality Bill which aims to make it easier for people to access their rights and be afforded the dignity and respect that they rightfully deserve.

 

Federation of Master Builders and Climate Change - That the Parliament congratulates the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) on its recent successful policy conference in London on 9 July 2008; recognises that, in 2050, 80% of our present housing stock will still be in use and that improvements to the insulation, draft proofing and energy efficiency of our present housing stock are the greatest urgency in the context of the challenge of climate change, and calls on the Scottish Government to work as closely as possible with the FMB and small and medium sized construction firms to start a process of innovation, skills development and capacity building in the construction industry, moving towards a future standard for housing refurbishment that is consistent with an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

 

Antonine Wall- A World Heritage Site - That the Parliament welcomes the confirmation of the Antonine Wall’s status as a world heritage site; congratulates all those who have contributed to this achievement, including Historic Scotland, campaigners from Bo’ness to Old Kilpatrick, Falkirk Council and other local authorities, the Scottish Executive past and present and the UK Government; notes that this will focus international attention on the area, helping to promote tourism and increase awareness of Scotland’s Roman heritage, and looks forward to a continuing partnership approach to ensure the preservation, study and development of educational and tourist resources highlighting the global importance of Scotland’s heritage.

 

Glasgow Women’s Library - That the Parliament congratulates Glasgow Women’s Library on its successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has agreed to provide a grant of £410,000 for the creation of a dedicated archive space at the Mitchell Library and the recruitment of a full-time archivist; recognises that the bid was of a very high standard and attracted 110 letters of support; believes that the work of Glasgow Women’s Library, which includes redressing the neglect of women’s historical and cultural contributions to Scottish society and creating new approaches to culture and heritage that bring together women from the most diverse backgrounds, is of immense value to Glasgow and to Scotland, and offers everyone at the Glasgow Women’s Library the very best wishes as they take this significant step forward in the development of their service.

 

June 2008

Friends of the Earth Scotland Launches Big Ask Scotland Campaign with Radiohead - That the Parliament welcomes the launch at Radiohead’s Glasgow Green gig on 27 June 2008 of Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Big Ask Scotland campaign for a strong Scottish Climate Change Bill; notes that the gig is part of Radiohead’s carbon-conscious European tour which has aimed to reduce its environmental impact as much as possible; notes that Radiohead is also supporting the Big Ask Europe which aims for continent-wide action on climate change; further notes that the Big Ask Scotland demands that (a) the Scottish Bill must cover all greenhouse gas emissions, including those from international aviation and shipping, and include the basket of greenhouse gases, not merely carbon dioxide, (b) there must be a scientifically-based limit placed on total emissions every year between now and 2050, not merely an end-point 80% reduction target, and (c) the Scottish Government should establish a Climate Super Fund, which will reward public bodies that reduce their emissions in line with targets and fine bodies that fail to do so, and wishes Friends of the Earth Scotland every success in its campaign.

80th. Anniversary of Universal Suffrage and Votes at 16 - That the Parliament notes that 2 July 2008 will be the 80th anniversary of universal suffrage, the passing of the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928, which gave women in the United Kingdom equal voting rights to men; welcomes the further extensions to the franchise since 1928 and their contribution to democracy, and considers that equal voting rights should be afforded to 16 and 17-year-olds as valued members of our society.

Twentieth Anniversary of the Piper Alpha Disaster - That the Parliament notes the twentieth anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster which claimed the lives of 167 offshore workers on 6 July 1988; celebrates the contribution of members of the Piper Alpha Families’ and Survivors’ Association, whose tireless campaigning in the aftermath of the disaster helped to raise the standards of offshore safety to the benefit of many thousands of other offshore workers over the last 20 years; believes that the regulation of offshore safety by the Health and Safety Executive, the provision for offshore safety representatives, support for safety initiatives, such as Step Change in the context of the government/oil and gas industry PILOT taskforce, and the recognition of trade unions offshore have supported a more positive safety culture, and looks forward to continuing active engagement in promoting that safety culture by all concerned in the North Sea and other oil provinces around the world.

We’ve got Big Plans for Deaf People and Young Children in Scotland - That the Parliament commends all deaf young people in Scotland who got involved in the National Deaf Children’s Society’s (NDCS) largest ever consultation with deaf children in the UK, Change Your World; acknowledges that the results of this national conversation present a unique insight into the opinions of young deaf people on issues that affect them; supports the NDCS as it develops its Big Plans for Scotland’s deaf children and young people as a result of the Change Your World consultation; congratulates all those who attended the NDCS event in the Parliament on Wednesday 18 June 2008 to launch the results of the consultation, particularly the pupils from Dingwall Academy and Dalziel High School who led the event with such confidence and maturity and told us how they wanted the world to change, and commits to listening to what these results tell us about being a deaf young person in Scotland today.

 

Holyrood National Youth Parliament Competition 2007-08 - That the Parliament congratulates Belmont Academy, Ayr, on winning the National Team award at the Holyrood National Youth Parliament Competition 2007-08, organised by the Citizenship Foundation; notes the success of Belmont Academy in this competition over recent years and acknowledges the excellent work of staff at the school in supporting the pupils with their entries; recognises the role played by the competition in helping to raise awareness and interest in the political process, and commends all of the young people from schools across Scotland who took part in the competition.

 

Josie Pasane - That the Parliament condemns the Home Office’s decision to separate Josie Pasane from her family, with whom she has been living for seven years in Broughty Ferry, and to deport her to South Africa; expresses concern over reports that Josie received incorrect advice from the Home Office over her status which has led to the order for deportation; notes that Josie, a graduate of the University of Abertay, is in employment and is a valued member of the local community, and calls on the UK Government to urgently review her case.

Handcuffing Pregnant Women - That the Parliament notes with regret that despite the statement from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing on 1 May 2008 that handcuffing pregnant women is "absolutely unacceptable" (Official Report c. 8177), the Scottish Prison Service and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice remain adamant that this procedure can continue in exceptional circumstances, namely potential self-harm, harm to a baby or possible danger to others; regards these as medical or psychiatric conditions, and agrees that pregnant or newly delivered offenders attending hospital from custody should be treated in the same way as other non-offenders with similar risks and should be the responsibility of obstetric, paediatric or psychiatric staff and not of the Scottish Prison Service or Reliance.

 

Photodynamic Therapy - That the Parliament notes with sadness the death of Alf Stewart; recognises his support for the Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Unit in Dundee without which that unit would not have remained open; recognises the help which can be derived from PDT in a number of conditions at a modest cost; notes that this unit and the PDT work in Glasgow requires funding in order to continue, and calls on the Scottish Government to develop this service as a national managed clinical network.

Robert Gordon’s Debaters Triumph in Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament - That the Parliament congratulates Jo Farmer and Michael Sim from Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen, who won the 10th National Final of The Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament; notes that this year’s tournament saw the entry of over 130 teams representing schools from across Scotland, and congratulates all the pupils who took part this year.

 

Learning Disability Week - That the Parliament welcomes Learning Disability Week from 16 to 22 June 2008; notes that the theme this year is "Forgotten Citizens", which has as its aim that everyone in Scotland should know about the experiences of their fellow citizens with learning disabilities, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that there is sufficient funding available to make "The Same as You" a reality for people with learning disabilities and their families.

 

 

Parkinson’s Disease Society - That the Parliament notes the findings of a recent survey carried out by the Parkinson’s Disease Society, in which it was highlighted that 32% of people with Parkinson’s are not being diagnosed by specialists, that more than 3 in 10 disease sufferers have never seen a Parkinson’s disease nurse specialist, that more than one-third of sufferers have never been referred to a physiotherapist, that more than half have never been referred to an occupational or speech and language therapist; welcomes the views of many respondents that a Parkinson’s disease nurse specialist was found to provide a useful source of information about their condition; notes that some NHS boards continue to provide no access to nurse specialists and that the provision of specialist nurses in other areas is heavily oversubscribed, and calls on the Scottish Executive and NHS boards to examine this report in detail to ensure that Parkinson’s disease sufferers are able to access the appropriate range of support services in every area of Scotland.

 

First Female Chief Constable in Scotland - That the Parliament congratulates the Kingdom of Fife and Fife Constabulary on the appointment of the first female Chief Constable in Scotland; further congratulates Chief Constable Norma Graham, and expresses its hopes that this will mark a step towards the fair and equal representation of women in the higher positions of the public service in Scotland and beyond.

 

Train Support - That the Parliament notes with concern the withdrawal of all catering from services north of Edinburgh by Cross Country Trains, which means that passengers using these trains can get nothing to eat or drink; points out that passengers travelling north of Edinburgh and south of Plymouth into Cornwall are being discriminated against by this policy; urges the company to think again about the withdrawal of catering for passengers on these routes, and asks ministers to investigate whether this move represents a breach of the franchise agreement.

Ullapool Primary School - That the Parliament notes the concerns being expressed by the Ullapool Primary School Parents Council over the adverse effects which the ongoing budget cuts being made by the Highland Council are having upon the educational quality at Ullapool Primary School; notes that due to lack of finances the school has no library service and, because of the budget cuts this year, no swimming classes and no specialist teachers for music or higher education, and therefore calls on the council to make the necessary resources available to ensure that children attending Ullapool Primary School receive the resources needed to provide for their education.

Living and Dying with Advanced Heart Failure - That the Parliament welcomes the publication of Living and dying with advanced heart failure: a palliative care approach, by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care with the support of British Heart Foundation Scotland and the Scottish Government; notes that people with heart failure have a worse prognosis and poorer quality of life than many cancer patients and that 50% of advanced heart failure patients die within a year of diagnosis, many of them suddenly and unexpectedly, particularly in the west of Scotland; believes that uncertainty around prognosis should not be a barrier to people with advanced heart failure, or those with any other condition, receiving appropriate palliative care; is concerned that, despite the recommendations of the CHD and Stroke Task Force in 2001 that provision needed to be made for palliative care for advanced heart failure, too many of these vulnerable patients are still not getting the care they need at the time that they need it most, and believes that account should be taken of the report’s recommendations and that the needs of patients with conditions other than cancer, like advanced heart failure, should be explicitly addressed in the forthcoming palliative care strategy and the refreshed CHD and Stroke Strategy.

Unacceptable levels of Poverty in Scotland - As an amendment to motion S3M-2134 in the name of Jamie Hepburn (Unacceptable Levels of Poverty in Scotland), leave out from "the Office" to end and insert "and encouragement the findings of the National Statistics publication Scottish Households Below Average Income 2006-07 which shows a marked decline since 1999-2000 in the number of households in both absolute and relative poverty, including a 28% decrease in relative child poverty and a 61% decrease in absolute child poverty meaning that the previous administration’s target to halve absolute child poverty by 2010 has been met significantly ahead of schedule; believes that, while government at all levels should continue to strive to eliminate poverty completely, this progress would not have been possible without many of the initiatives by the previous administration and the UK Government, including the Sure Start programme, record increases in child benefit, the winter fuel allowance, the working families tax credit and the national minimum wage, the latter of which was finally passed in the House of Commons without the support of a single SNP MP, and is concerned that the SNP government’s budget, passed with the Conservatives in this Session of the Parliament, and its single outcome agreements with local authorities are precipitating cuts to a range of local services including homecare services for the elderly, school classes and school meals provision as well as a host of voluntary organisations providing services for some of Scotland's most vulnerable citizens, that this threatens to undo much of the progress on poverty which the report outlines and that this seriously undermines the SNP’s case to be trusted with more powers."

Appointment of Dr Louise Richardson as Principal of the University of St Andrews— That the Parliament welcomes the appointment of Dr Louise Richardson as the first female Principal of Scotland’s oldest university, St Andrews, as well as being the first female Principal of any of Scotland's ancient universities; recognises her international reputation both as an academic and as an administrator; notes that she is one of the world’s experts on international terrorism which will enhance St Andrews University’s reputation as one of the most prominent institutions for the study of this subject, and pays tribute to retiring Principal, Dr Brian Lang, who has done an outstanding job in promoting St Andrews as one of Scotland’s foremost universities.

 Proposed Change to the National Concessionary Travel Scheme— That the Parliament welcomes the petition by Sally Ann Elfverson on behalf of the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland on the National Concessionary Travel Scheme; notes that the Cross-Party Group on Learning Disability supports this petition; believes that the National Concessionary Travel Scheme should be urgently reviewed to extend eligibility to disabled people in receipt of the lower rate of disability living allowance, and calls on the Scottish Executive to implement this and other desirable changes to the scheme in consultation with people with learning disabilities.

Supported and Semi-independent Accommodation for Young Care Leavers— That the Parliament is greatly concerned at the challenges facing young care leavers, particularly the high number of care leavers who are not in touch with aftercare services and who become homeless; notes the concerns about the shortage of semi-independent living units for young care leavers identified by the Commissioner for Children and Young Peoplein Scotland in her report, Sweet 16 The Age of Leaving Care in Scotland; is concerned that the Scottish Government has not made any assessment of the extent of the shortfall of supported and semi-independent living units for young care leavers, and urges the Scottish Government to carry out a full survey of need in this area and put in place arrangements to increase the supply of appropriate supported accommodation for young care leavers.

 

Best Value Audit of Aberdeen City Council— That the Parliament welcomes the findings and recommendations of the Accounts Commission for Scotland following its Best Value audit of Aberdeen City Council and looks forward to concerted and urgent action to implement those recommendations and to secure the future of schools and of public and voluntary sector services in the city.

 

London-Venezuela Oil Agreement— That the Parliament notes the decision of the newly-elected Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to scrap the city’s deal with Venezuela which has provided oil at a price that benefited people living in poverty in both Venezuela and London; notes the success of other bilateral schemes between Venezuela and Boston and New York, and believes that Venezuela’s sensible and innovative management of its oil resources is a positive example for other countries endowed with such natural resources.  

Postcode Lottery for Sufferers of DMD— That the Parliament expresses concern that people who suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a severe and progressive genetic muscle-wasting disease predominantly affecting boys and for which there is currently no cure, are dying in Scotland years earlier then their counterparts in England; believes that an improvement in the life expectancy and experiences of these young people must be a priority for the Scottish Government; considers that currently the care and management of the disease in Scotland is very much a postcode lottery as are the grants available for housing adaptations; notes that in the rest of the United Kingdom families with disabled children get £30,000 grants to adapt their homes, which are not means tested; calls for similar measures to be introduced in Scotland alongside enhanced medical research and better support services and equipment; recognises that the implementation of such measures can make a massive difference to the quality of life of people with DMD and can contribute to extending their life expectancy; welcomes the calls from Action Duchenne for a centre of excellence to be set up in Glasgow that will bring standards of care and treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy up to those seen in centres of excellence in Newcastle and London, and calls for funding and support from the Scottish Government to deliver this centre of neuromuscular excellence to provide services across Scotland, thus ensuring best practice and dispersing standards of care into local clinics throughout Scotland.

Rosyth to Zeebrugge Ferry Service— That the Parliament is deeply disappointed to learn of Superfast Ferries’ decision to end sailings from Rosyth to Zeebrugge from September 2008; recognises that the ferry link to Europe is vital to the Fife and Scottish economies; notes that the service has been a commercial success regularly operating at full capacity; is disappointed that Superfast does not plan to continue with sailings until an alternative operator is found, and hopes that an alternative operator can be found for this crucial ferry route.  

Refugee Week Scotland 2008— That the Parliament notes that 16 to 22 June is Refugee Week Scotland 2008; recognises the indomitable spirit and courage of the world’s 14 million refugees who endure enormous suffering without losing hope, finding the strength to overcome despair and start a new life against seemingly overwhelming odds; views Refugee Week as an important platform to promote and celebrate Scotland’s proud traditions of providing sanctuary and support which help rebuild shattered lives; further notes that over 70 arts, cultural, sports and educational events will take place across Scotland, including a reception to be held in the Parliament on Wednesday 18 June 2008, which will encourage positive encounters between around 10,000 asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland and their new communities, and values the cultural, social and economic contributions that refugees make to Scottish society.  

Sort it Out - Securing the Future of the Postal Service— That the Parliament expresses its support for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) in its campaign to protect the future of Royal Mail Group plc and its workers; agrees that the introduction of competition has had seriously negative effects, as outlined by both CWU and the independent review of the process; believes that this is highly relevant after further post office closures have been announced across a swathe of Scotland from Alloa to Aberdeenshire; supports CWU’s call for a wholesale examination of the funding package received by Royal Mail Group, and hopes for a conclusion to the current disagreement over employees’ pensions between the Royal Mail Group and CWU that is rapid, constructive and successful.

Recycling Provisions— That the Parliament notes with concern the recent survey by Glasgow’s Evening Times which showed great variation among local councils as to their recycling provision; notes that in Glasgow only 31% of households have a recycling bin of any colour while some neighbouring authorities have collection arrangements for cardboard, food waste and plastic as well as tins, glass and paper; welcomes the work done by the previous administration to dramatically increase recycling, and calls on the Scottish Government to work with local authorities to further improve and increase recycling services and to create a minimum national standard for service provision.

 

May 2008

Foundation Year One Doctors— That the Parliament notes the repeal of sections sections 10 to 13 of the Medical Act 1983 which removes the statutory requirement for foundation year one doctors to be contractually resident in hospital unless they live close by; recognises that, as a consequence, those newly qualified doctors can now be faced with substantial charges for accommodation that was previously free; further recognises the particular needs of doctors rotating through different hospitals and those whose shift and travel requirements may make travel at the end of a shift unsafe, and calls on the Scottish Government to enter into discussions with the British Medical Association in Scotland to resolve this issue.


Action to Protect the Red Squirrel— That the Parliament is concerned at the continuing encroachment of the non-native grey squirrel in Scotland on native red squirrel territory, including parts of Mid-Scotland and Fife; notes that Scotland is the last stronghold in the United Kingdom for red squirrels and is home to approximately 120,000 reds, which accounts for 75% of the UK red squirrel population; observes that red and grey squirrels are unable to co-exist together in the same territory and that red squirrels eventually disappear due to competition for food and the carrying of the squirrel pox virus by grey squirrels which is harmless to them but fatal to reds; is alarmed to learn that the first grey squirrel was officially reported in the Highlands near Inverness in April 2008 and that the first red squirrel in Scotland contracted squirrel pox in the South of Scotland in May 2007, underlining the growing threat to red squirrels in Scotland, and believes that urgent action is required to protect the red squirrel, including research into immunocontraception for grey squirrels.



Adult Learners' Week— That the Parliament notes the importance of lifelong learning; believes that lifelong learning should be a right not a privilege; welcomes the 17th Adult Learners’ Week running from 17 to 23 May 2008; further notes that, as part of the UK’s largest celebration of adult learning, learning providers are highlighting the opportunities available to adult learners through a range of activities, including introductory chats with learning advisers and taster sessions; recognises the achievements of Scotland’s Learning Partnership that are ensuring that over 7,500 organisations and 95,000 adults and children participate in the week-long events, and looks forward to congratulating the winners of the 2008 Adult Learners’ Week Awards.


Dementia Awareness Week— That the Parliament acknowledges that Dementia Awareness Week takes place from 1 to 7 June 2008; welcomes dementia as a national clinical priority and encourages further action to ensure that people receive the services that they need and to plan for the future; appreciates that the national dementia strategy should progressively evolve to guide the development of dementia services in line with demographic change; is aware that in 2008 there are approximately 62,500 people with dementia in Scotland and that 1,500 of these people are under 65; recognises that the number of people with dementia will rise to approximately 108,000 by 2031; notes with concern that only 50% of people with dementia know that they have the illness; acknowledges the need to raise awareness of improving standards in the care home sector; recognises the importance of early diagnosis to enable people to be given information and support to come to terms with the illness; welcomes the publication of Alzheimer Scotland’s research study, Meeting our needs? – the quality and level of dementia support services in Scotland, that combines the views and experiences of people with dementia, carers and social work care managers to reveal a picture of community care services under pressure, in which people with dementia cannot rely on their needs being met, and calls on policy makers and community care planners to improve the level and quality of community support for people with dementia at a time when the number of people with dementia is growing and will continue to grow.


National Day for Girls' and Women's Football— That the Parliament welcomes the eighth National Day for Girls’ and Women’s Football that took place on Saturday 17 May 2008 at McDiarmid Park, Perth; believes that this day provides a welcome opportunity to showcase the female footballing talent in Scotland; is pleased to note that there has been a year-on-year growth in the popularity of the event since its launch and that over 47,000 girls are involved in football programmes at primary and secondary level; congratulates all those who took part in the event and the exciting culmination of the day with the Unite Scottish Women’s Cup final between Hibernian Ladies Football Club (LFC) and Celtic LFC; extends further congratulations to Hibernian LFC which won the Cup; celebrates the progress that has been made in the popularity of girls’ and women's football, and hopes that it may long continue.



60th Anniversary of the National Health Service— That the Parliament celebrates the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service, launched on 5 July 1948 by Labour Minister for Health, Aneurin Bevan; recognises the continuing relevance of its founding principles of a socialised health service, funded through general taxation, free to all at the point of need; salutes the huge contribution of all NHS staff down the years in providing vital, lifesaving care and treatment which has improved the quality of life for millions of people, leading to dramatic improvements in life expectancy; supports the central role of the state in providing healthcare free at the point of need; encourages communities throughout Scotland to become involved in events to mark this anniversary, including those organised by NHS Greater Glasgow, the Evening Times and Radio Clyde, which will tell the story of the first 60 years of the NHS and serve as a powerful reminder of the unacceptable state of healthcare available to the vast majority of the population prior to 1948, and considers that all citizens, trade unions and politicians should remain true to the founding principles of the NHS.

East Dunbartonshire CHP and National Breastfeeding Awareness Week— That the Parliament congratulates East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership for being the first in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area to be awarded the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative Certificate of Commitment and notes the good work that health visitors, GPs and practice staff are doing in East Dunbartonshire to promote breastfeeding, especially during National Breastfeeding Awareness Week from 11 to 17 May 2008.


Tommy Burns Tribute— That the Parliament notes the sad passing of Celtic legend and first-team coach, Tommy Burns, at the age of 51; notes that he was born and bred in Glasgow’s Calton area where Celtic Football Club was itself born; recognises his vast achievements in Scottish football, including winning the Scottish Premier League title six times and the Scottish Cup four times as a player and once as manager with Celtic, the team he signed for in 1973 and for which he made 504 appearances, scored 52 goals and managed from 1994 to 1997, winning the club its first trophy in six years with a 1-0 victory over Airdrie in the 1995 Scottish Cup Final; recognises his record at Kilmarnock, the team he played for from 1989 to 1992 and managed from 1992 to 1994, which included achieving promotion to the Premier Division in the 1992-93 season; further recognises the impact he had on the English game with Newcastle United and Reading; notes the impact that Tommy had on the Scottish national team as coach from 2002 to 2007 and the enormous respect that he has generated from all corners of the football world; further notes that Tommy was the manager responsible for the world famous Celtic Huddle; expresses its sadness at his loss, and sends its condolences to his wife of 28 years, Rosemary, and their four children and grandchild.

 

NHS Lothian Performs Scotland’s 100th Pancreas Transplant— That the Parliament recognises that the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh is the only centre in Scotland to offer pancreas transplant operations; notes that Stephen Proctor recently received a pancreas and kidney double transplant, becoming the 100th patient in Scotland to receive this ground-breaking operation; congratulates all the staff at the Transplant Unit for the terrific work that they do; acknowledges the wonderful gift of the donor who made this transplant possible yet remembers the hundreds of Scots who are yet to find their perfect match and are currently on the transplant register; encourages everyone to join the NHS Organ Donor Register by calling 0845 60 60 400, and calls on the Scottish and UK governments to introduce a system of opt-out organ donation at the earliest opportunity.


Psychological Support for People with Diabetes— That the Parliament acknowledges the need for psychological support for people with diabetes in Scotland and welcomes the seminar taking place in Committee Room 3 of the Parliament on the morning of Thursday 15 May 2008 to look at ways to provide emotional and psychological support in Scotland’s diabetes communities; recognises that access to emotional and psychological support is a high priority for the near 200,000 people in Scotland who have diabetes; welcomes the acquisition of skills by some NHS staff in psychological interventions and motivational techniques, and urges everyone involved in the treatment of diabetes to consider the emotional and psychological elements of living with this condition.


Scottish Union Learning— That the Parliament welcomes the launch of Scottish Union Learning on 12 May 2008 in Glasgow City Chambers; notes that Scottish Union Learning will support trade unions, spreading the importance of lifelong learning to members, and will continue to help trade unions maximise the opportunities available through the Scottish Union Learning fund; further notes that it mirrors the development of the TUC’s unionlearn in England; applauds the principles behind Scottish Union Learning and it being run by unions for unions, and recognises the vital contribution that unions have made to improving the quality and quantity of learning available in the workplace and the knowledge and skills of Scotland’s workforce.


Increasing Access to Insulin Pumps— That the Parliament notes the considerable benefits that insulin pumps have for diabetics to help them to manage their condition; notes with concern the current restrictive criteria for eligibility for the use of insulin pumps which have contributed to insulin pump usage in Scotland being among the lowest in western Europe, with only around 0.75% of people with Type 1 diabetes using pumps in Scotland, compared with 15% to 20% in the United States of America and Germany; is concerned at the extreme regional disparity in uptake of insulin pumps across NHS boards, with only two patients receiving insulin pump therapy in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, compared with 42 in NHS Tayside in the most recent figures, despite all NHS boards having received funding for access to insulin pumps; supports the campaign of Diabetes UK to increase access to insulin pumps and welcomes the review being undertaken currently by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) of the eligibility for use of pumps in the NHS, and believes that further steps should be taken to ensure that new NICE guidance that seeks to relax access criteria is adopted swiftly in Scotland, to support all NHS boards to increase access to insulin pumps for patients with diabetes and to enable more training for health practitioners to support patients in moving to the use of pumps where it is clearly of benefit in the management of their diabetes.


A School of Ambition - Kirkland High— That the Parliament congratulates Kirkland High School in Methil, Fife, for making good progress in its latest HM Inspectorate of Education report; welcomes Kirkland High pupils to the Parliament for the Europe Day Conference; congratulates the headteacher, Ronnie Ross, and his team of staff for bringing improvements in pupil attainment; notes that the report highlights areas where improvements could be made and that the school is continuing to work hard to bring about the required improvements; highlights that Kirkland High was part of the schools of ambition programme which allowed the school to invest heavily including in its drama facilities; notes that the report highlights that pupil attainment was strongest in art, music and computing, and strongly condemns the Scottish Government's decision to axe the schools of ambition programme and its failure to provide any replacement funding programme and fears that future opportunities for similar investment by Kirkland High and other schools of ambition will not be possible, reducing opportunities for many pupils from deprived areas across Scotland to fulfil their true potential.


International Nurses Day 2008— That the Parliament celebrates International Nurses Day on 12 May, which marks Florence Nightingale’s birthday; recognises the invaluable role that nurses have played throughout the 60-year history of the NHS in Scotland, one that has changed beyond recognition since the days of Florence Nightingale and is now even more important, and believes that it is more important than ever that the Scottish Government undertakes effective workforce planning to meet probable future shortages, especially in mental health nursing.



World Hepatitis Day— That the Parliament supports World Hepatitis Day on 19 May 2008 as a means of increasing awareness of hepatitis worldwide; recognises the significance of the World Health Organisation’s estimates that there could be as many as 500 million people chronically infected with Hepatitis B and C; welcomes the completion of phase one of the previous Scottish Administration’s Hepatitis C action plan and the impending launch of phase two of the plan, and further recognises that with early diagnosis and dramatic improvements in treatment hepatitis is, in the majority of cases, now curable.



Flying the Rainbow Flag at Holyrood on International Day Against Homophobia— That the Parliament notes that International Day Against Homophobia takes place on 17 May; expresses dismay that there are still 77 countries in the world today where it is a criminal offence to be gay and that these countries punish women, men and children because of their sexuality and that in seven countries the punishment is death; supports actions being taken by the Scottish Government as well as local authorities, the voluntary sector and others to combat homophobic prejudice, discrimination and violence, and considers that it would also be highly appropriate for the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to arrange for the flying of a rainbow flag from one of the flagpoles at the main entrance to Holyrood on 17 May 2008 and on International Day Against Homophobia each year thereafter.



A Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme for Scotland— That the Parliament is concerned that the withholding of deposits unreasonably continues to be a problem for tenants in the private rented sector; notes that the private rented sector provides over 230,000 homes to households in Scotland, some 8% of all households, including families, students, migrant workers and young professionals; further notes that many tenants, on leaving a tenancy, rely on the return of their deposit to pay the upfront deposit and rent for their new property and that withholding a deposit unfairly can lead to hardship, debt and ultimately homelessness; highlights recent research by St Andrews University Students’ Association that found that 24% of students there have had unjustified deductions made from their deposits and 28% have faced unreasonable delays of more than 28 days in returning their deposits; acknowledges the successful introduction of the tenancy deposit protection scheme in operation in England and Wales which ensures protection for both landlords and tenants, and believes that powers already on statute in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 could be used to further a deposit protection scheme for Scotland, building on landlord registration and accreditation initiatives already in place.

Getting it Right for Every Deaf Child— That the Parliament celebrates Deaf Awareness Week from 5 to 11 May 2008; shares the vision of the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) of a world without barriers for every deaf child; acknowledges that the NDCS estimates that there are almost 3,000 deaf children in Scotland today; agrees that the family is the most important influence on a deaf child’s development in the early years; acknowledges, however, that 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents with little or no previous experience of deafness; is aware that Universal Newborn Hearing Screening, introduced in Scotland in 2005, means that more deaf children are being identified earlier; agrees that this should be an opportunity for parents to access co-ordinated support from professionals to help them to unlock their deaf child’s potential from the moment of diagnosis; recognises the crucial role that qualified professionals working within the health, education, social care and voluntary sector play in providing support to parents in providing emotional support and developing language and communication skills with their child in the early years; is aware of the fact that in 2003 the Department for Education and Skills published detailed guidance, Developing Early Intervention/Support Services for Deaf Children and their Families, for professionals working with deaf children and their families in the early years setting in England; is concerned that there is currently no such national guidance for professionals working with deaf children and their families in Scotland, meaning that services vary throughout the country, and therefore endorses NDCS’s call for the Scottish Government’s forthcoming early years strategy to acknowledge and consider the specific support needs of deaf children and their families in the early years and commit to producing detailed guidance for professionals working with deaf children and their families in the early years setting.


National Breastfeeding Awareness Week— That the Parliament welcomes National Breastfeeding Awareness Week which takes place from 11 to 17 May 2008; acknowledges the importance of the week in raising awareness of, and support for, breastfeeding; further acknowledges the extent of the challenges faced in Scotland in facilitating a cultural shift in favour of breastfeeding and securing improvements in rates of uptake and duration; notes the findings of recent research in Belarus which suggests that breastfed babies tend to have higher IQ; further notes with interest the views of health visiting experts in Leeds which indicate that a woman’s choice to start and sustain breastfeeding is highly influenced by the support of her partner; considers that more work must be done at a national level to promote support for breastfeeding among men and to challenge negative attitudes where required; believes that more general information and assistance is required to promote breastfeeding as an important public health priority, and calls on the Scottish Executive to promote material aimed specifically at men to act as a mechanism for discussion to ensure that men are made aware of the advantages of breastfeeding and encouraged to offer support to partners.


National Epilepsy Week— That the Parliament recognises the contribution made by Epilepsy Scotland and fellow Scottish members of the Joint Epilepsy Council of the UK and Ireland (JEC) to raise awareness and combat the stigma associated with epilepsy; supports these organisations in marking National Epilepsy Week; acknowledges that just 50 years ago some people with uncontrollable seizures were hidden away in asylums or sent to live in epilepsy “colonies”; congratulates JEC organisations in challenging this kind of segregation and informing public attitudes; applauds initiatives by the Cross-Party Group on Epilepsy and Scottish JEC members to educate school staff and pupils about epilepsy; values the Scottish Government’s ongoing support for Epilepsy Scotland’s Employer of the Year award which recognises epilepsy best practice, and praises the awareness training provided for the Parliament’s own staff so that epilepsy is no longer hidden and misunderstood.


Vulnerable Paying the Price of SNP Populism
— That the Parliament notes with both concern and regret the cuts in frontline services across Scotland, including nurseries, crèches, services for the housebound and infirm and funding for voluntary sector organisations, including those caring for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable citizens, arising from the Scottish Government’s budget passed with Conservative support in Holyrood and its subsequent concordat with local government, including a freeze in Council Tax; notes the Evening News’ comment of 29 April 2008 that “since then the chickens have come home to roost and despite predictable crowing in council chambers the length and breadth of the country that frontline services would be protected from the cuts, predictably this has not proved possible for most administrations”; further notes that such predictions by opposition MSPs were dismissed at the time by SNP ministers as “scaremongering”, but believes that the reality on the ground, particularly in areas such as Edinburgh, Aberdeen and East Lothian, has vindicated those who warned of the consequences; is aware that these cuts are being imposed despite the SNP government enjoying a funding settlement twice that available to Donald Dewar as First Minister, and regrets that local authorities which freeze their Council Tax without sufficient funding in place are passing on cuts in services to Scotland’s youngest, oldest, poorest and disabled who are paying the price of the SNP’s populism.


2014: A Year of Sport for Scotland— That the Parliament recognises that 2014 will be a significant year for Scottish sport; notes that, in addition to the annual sporting events taking place that year, Scotland will host the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles; acknowledges that each event will bring international athletes to this country and will focus worldwide attention on Scotland; welcomes the variety of sporting opportunities that 2014 will present to Scotland, and believes that 2014 should be designated “Scotland’s Year of Sport” in order to highlight the benefits that sport and physical activity bring to the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland.



Deaf Awareness Week - 5 to 11 May 2008
— That the Parliament notes Deaf Awareness Week which is taking place with events throughout Scotland to celebrate the diversity of the deaf community and to highlight the inequalities that deaf, deafblind and deafened people face on a day-to-day basis, and further notes that it will see the launch of the Scottish Council on Deafness’ research paper, Making the Case for Specialist Mental Health Services for Deaf People in Scotland: with Recommendations for Action that will take place on Thursday 8 May 2008, and highlights the need for equality in the diagnosis, care and treatment of deaf, deafblind, deafened and hard of hearing people with a mental illness in Scotland.


 

April 2008

INEOS Reduction in Workforce Pensions- That the Parliament notes the proposal by INEOS to reduce the pension rights of the workforce at the former BP oil refinery and chemicals complex at Grangemouth from those which had been part of the terms and conditions of employment of the workforce when INEOS bought the BP site; further notes that the INEOS proposal is to create a two-tier workforce with all new employees being denied a final salary pension and resulted in 97% of trade union members in an 86% ballot return voting for strike action after exhaustive negotiations; expresses concern at the aggressive tactics of INEOS senior management in undermining the agreed consultative processes, and supports the efforts of the INEOS workforce and its trade union, Unite, to sustain existing pension arrangements on this very profitable complex for the benefit of all current and future employees.


Withdrawal of Modern Apprenticeship Funding- That the Parliament condemns the decision by the Scottish Government to withdraw Modern Apprenticeship funding for those over 20 years of age in all sectors other than construction, engineering and the automotive sector; believes that there is a continuing need to support and develop high-quality training through modern apprenticeships in other sectors; is particularly concerned at the withdrawal of funding in the important financial services sector; considers that this once again demonstrates the inadequacy of the Scottish Government's skills strategy; calls on the Scottish Government to reconsider this decision which will create a north-south divide, and is concerned that Scotland will be left at a disadvantage as against the rest of the United Kingdom in this sphere.

The SNP's Real 10p Tax- That the Parliament notes the 10p rise in Lothian Buses standard adult fare to £1.10 and the recent findings of the Competition Commission on bus subsidies; believes that this rise, and those of other bus operators across the Lothians, are principally due to the Scottish Government's decision not to pass on to Scottish bus operators the fuel duty rebate which the UK Government has provided for bus operators in England; notes that the Scottish Government's budget indicates that no further fuel duty will be rebated in the next three years, meaning that bus passengers in Scotland will effectively pay a greater amount of tax on their journeys than passengers elsewhere in the United Kingdom; regrets the extra expense and inconvenience this fare rise will cause passengers at a time when the Scottish Government claims to be encouraging greater use of public transport and hopes that this fare increase is not an omen for the abolition of the national concessionary travel scheme for the over 60s which the Scottish Government is currently reviewing, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to rule this out at the earliest opportunity, to reassure passengers that any cap on future funding for the scheme will not put more pressure on fare-paying passengers and to reverse its decision not to follow the example of the UK Government and to protect bus passengers from rising fuel costs.

World Asthma Day- That the Parliament notes World Asthma Day on 6 May 2008, which will see the launch by Asthma UK of its "Wish you were here?" campaign to highlight the significant variation in asthma services throughout the United Kingdom; recognises that asthma is a major public health issue, with 400,000 people in Scotland having asthma, resulting in over a quarter of a million GP consultations and thousands of hospital admissions each year; believes that every school should have an asthma policy to ensure that children with asthma are given every opportunity to take part in normal school life, and further believes that more effective diagnosis, treatment and management to put more people in control of their asthma should be prioritised as part of a national respiratory strategy, similar to strategies being adopted in Wales and Northern Ireland, that ensures sharing of best practice and a joined-up approach to respiratory conditions across Scotland.


Local Newspaper Week- That the Parliament notes that 5 to 11 May 2008 is Local Newspaper Week, which this year has the theme of Campaigning for Your Community, showcasing and exploring the campaigning work undertaken by local newspapers across the country; notes that 84% of adults read a local paper, and that local newspapers and their websites are a highly trusted source of news; believes that local newspapers such as the best-selling Falkirk Herald, the Grangemouth Advertiser and the Bo'ness Journal are important focal points for their communities, providing a forum for debate on local issues and information and feedback about local events; congratulates the Falkirk Herald on being named Weekly Newspaper of the Year at the 29th Press Awards, organised by the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society; notes that local newspapers, through their editorial content and advertising, play an important role in the local economy; believes that local newspapers are an essential component of local democracy, facilitating the dialogue between elected representatives and their constituents, and applauds the hard work of newspaper staff whose dedication underpins the success of the local newspaper industry.


Quality Education to End Exclusion
- That the Parliament welcomes pupils from Aberdeen Grammar School, Abronhill High School, Boroughmuir High School, Dumfries Academy, Greenock Academy, Grove Academy and Stewart's Melville College to the Parliament on 24 April 2008 to debate the Education for All goals, as part of the Global Campaign for Education; acknowledges that while progress has been made, there are still 72 million children around the world who are missing out on a quality primary education; notes that millions of people are excluded from quality education for various reasons including conflict, poverty, gender, child labour, disability and geographical location; acknowledges the need for increased investment in those countries furthest from meeting the Education for All goals and for policies to address equity issues, and supports the efforts of the members of the Global Campaign for Education, including Save the Children, Oxfam in Scotland and the English-Speaking Union, in raising awareness of the campaign.


Real Nappy Week - 21 to 27 April- That the Parliament welcomes Real Nappy Week 2008 and its theme Combat Climate Change; recognises that from birth to potty each baby uses between 4,000 and 6,000 nappies; notes that four-and-a-half trees are used to make the pulp for disposable nappies for one baby over a period of two-and-a-half years, that one cup of crude oil goes in to make one disposable nappy and that Fife Council spends over £84,000 a year sending disposable nappies to landfill; recognises that real nappies make a contribution towards the reduction of waste going to landfill in Scotland; supports parents' ability to make the right choice for their babies but believes that this should be an informed choice; welcomes the range of events being promoted by the Fife Real Nappy Network during Real Nappy Week, and supports the commitment of volunteer mums who help parents make informed choices about nappies, including confirming that there is not a safety pin in sight but a whole range of poppers, velcro or nifty little plastic grips to ensure a snug fit.



Teachers Right to Anonymity
- That the Parliament supports the Educational Institute of Scotland and Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People in their call for teacher anonymity to be protected until the point that they are convicted by a court and encourages the Scottish Government to establish a review of current practices involving all stakeholders, including unions, the commissioner, teachers, lawyers and representatives of the media, to consider what is an extremely sensitive but also very important issue of fairness and justice.
 

The Workers Beer Company in Scotland—That the Parliament recognises the contribution of the Workers Beer Company to the success of the Scottish live music and events sector and notes the significant fundraising that is provided for various trades-union, labour movement, campaigning, voluntary and charity organisations and its particular success in involving young people in causes and campaigns; commends this remarkable company, which was originally set up by the Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council, for the success of its 2007-08 programme of activities which have included providing bars at the Indian Summer Festival in Glasgow and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, and wishes the Workers Beer Company every continued success in future years

 

Right to Rent—That the Parliament believes that there is a serious lack of affordable housing in the city of Edinburgh; notes the City of Edinburgh Council’s view that 1,200 new affordable houses are needed in each of the next 10 years; understands that students, graduates, young professionals and families all find it increasingly difficult to get their feet on the property ladder and choose to rent instead; believes that houses in multiple occupation (HMO) legislation was a landmark achievement in terms of improving basic standards of health and safety in the private rented sector but is concerned that HMO legislation must be properly regulated and enforced to be successful, including ensuring that landlords manage their properties in line with the legislation; calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that local authorities have adequate resources to enforce HMO legislation and to use the powers they have to tackle antisocial behaviour so that blanket use of HMO quotas is not seen as the simple solution to ensuring decent housing choices and securing sustainable communities; welcomes the Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s Right to Rent campaign and believes that local authorities should work with student organisations, universities and colleges to ensure that sufficient, new and affordable student accommodation is identified in local authority development plans, and supports students’ associations across Scotland in their efforts to ensure a mixed tenure of properties in their local communities.

 

Offensive Anti-Scottish Campaign by the English Democrats—That the Parliament condemns the offensive publicity campaign by English Democrats candidate for the London Mayoral elections, Matt O’Connor; believes the use of slogans such as "Chop Jock, Vote English", "Tartan Terror", "Repatriate the Prime Minster" and "Save London from Labour’s tartan taxes" as well as pictures including a robber wearing a tartan balaclava are inflammatory, border on the racist and ignore the important contribution which Scots make to the whole of the United Kingdom, including London; is particularly concerned that such billboard posters have appeared in Scotland despite being for the elections for the Mayor of London, and believes that such narrow-minded nationalism will rightly appal people from and across all parts of the United Kingdom.

Banning of Looped Blind Cords—That the Parliament acknowledges that, in the last 10 years, up to 20 children are reported to have lost their lives in the United Kingdom as a result of incidents involving looped blind cords; recognises that the United States banned the use of looped blind cords in the 1990s and that Australia followed suit in 2004, and supports the efforts of Gordon Banks MP in pressing the UK Government to begin immediate discussions with the British Standards Institute to introduce a new British Standard banning the use of looped blind cords to prevent further avoidable deaths.

Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living—That the Parliament recognises the importance of International Workers Memorial Day (IWMD) held on 28 April each year; considers that the official slogan "remember the dead, fight for the living" is particularly apposite and helps to ensure that all those who have died as a result of work are not forgotten whilst at the same time encourages renewed efforts to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated; welcomes events around Scotland to commemorate this important day and, in particular, the unveiling of the North Lanarkshire Workers Memorial at Summerlee Heritage Park in Coatbridge; encourages relevant authorities to fly official flags on public buildings at half mast; hopes that all workplaces will observe a one-minute silence at 12 noon on 28 April 2008; commends the STUC and the trade unions for their work in building trade union organisation and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health and safety laws to help in the struggle for safer workplaces, and supports the call for recognition of IWMD as a national day of remembrance for those who have been killed, injured, or made ill by their work.

Emotional Health at Work— That the Parliament congratulates the Samaritans and the STUC on their continuing campaign for a right to enjoy emotional health at work; notes the findings of their survey which showed that over 20% of workers questioned had taken time off work due to stress and that over 50% found their work more stressful than it was five years ago, and believes that employers across Scotland should work with unions and the Samaritans to make sure that their workers have the necessary support to maintain a good level of emotional health and wellbeing.

Scotrail Franchise Renewal— That the Parliament expresses its grave concern about the decision taken by the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change to extend the First Scotrail franchise for three years to 2014 without consulting MSPs, transport authorities, passenger groups, trade unions and other stakeholders, especially in light of the fact that nearly two thirds of First Group plc’s income to run Scotland’s rail services is public subsidy; notes that the First Scotrail franchise is the largest contract let by Scottish Ministers, with the level of public subsidy to be paid over the lifetime of the franchise likely to reach £2 billion; calls on the Parliament’s Transport, Climate Change and Infrastructure Committee to conduct an immediate inquiry into the decision, and believes that the minister should have made the announcement to the Parliament.

Merger of Epilepsy Scotland and Enlighten - Tackling Epilepsy— That the Parliament welcomes the merger of Epilepsy Scotland and Enlighten – Tackling Epilepsy, based in the Lothians; welcomes this progressive move; believes that this merger of two excellent services will bring added support and quality to services that help nearly 40,000 people affected by this common neurological condition, and hopes that it will secure new funding and build on the existing innovative projects that already assist households living with epilepsy and continue to make a difference and transform people’s lives.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication— That the Parliament expresses concern following the findings by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, Capability Scotland and Augmentative Communication in Practice whose recent survey of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) equipment and speech and language therapy support provision in Scotland revealed that eight out of 15 NHS boards, including NHS Grampian, are providing a poor service; notes that only 16% of potential beneficiaries are accessing specialist AAC services in Scotland and that AAC provision is a postcode, age, advocacy and impairment lottery, and considers that an AAC strategy for Scotland should be developed and implemented to provide for a national standard of specialist speech and language therapy

Look OK...Feel Crap? That the Parliament supports the Look OK…Feel Crap? campaign piloted across the Lothians in order to reverse the suicide rate among young adults in that region; recognises that the campaign’s website www.lookokfeelcrap.org has helped thousands of young people to deal with depression which is often an underground and life-threatening illness by giving ongoing support and information provision, and believes that the 47% increase in inquiries from clients and carers is an illustration that this campaign is saving lives.

 

March 2008

Racism in Football—That the Parliament congratulates Show Racism the Red Card on the success both of its 2008 Schools’ Art Competition and its unique employment of football to convey messages of tolerance and citizenship in schools and communities throughout Scotland; welcomes its development of educational resources which contribute greatly towards helping young people to gain a greater understanding of different cultures in our society; notes that during the course of the current season there have been several cases of players being racially abused, at all levels of the game, and others being targeted for abuse owing to their decision to play international football for countries other than Scotland; acknowledges the contribution made down the years both to the national team and to club sides by players born outside Scotland and, whilst welcoming the increased efforts being made by governing bodies, players, clubs, supporters trusts and educational initiatives to tackle racism, accepts that there is still a great deal of work to be done to remove this ugly stain from "the beautiful game".

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.

Young Drivers - Reducing the Death Toll—That the Parliament notes with concern that one in three fatal road accidents in Scotland last year involved young people under the age of 25 and that three quarters of those crashes happened on rural roads; notes that this is particularly true in the Grampian region where 40% of fatalities were young drivers and so welcomes The Press and Journal’s Young Driver of the Year competition; further welcomes the competition entrants’ innovative recommendations on how the death toll on the roads could be reduced, and considers that all these recommendations should be examined in detail to see which proposals could be taken forward to improve the safety of young drivers in Scotland.

Standing Up for Edinburgh’s Youngest and Poorest—That the Parliament expresses considerable concern at the decision of the SNP/Liberal Democrat-led City of Edinburgh Council to cut £300,000 from the Edinburgh Leisure budget, resulting in all but two crèches at city leisure facilities closing; believes that the provision of crèches is vital for some families with more than one child to enjoy council leisure facilities; considers that crèches provide a vital role in improving and promoting the health of young parents and are particularly important to mothers suffering from post-natal depression, and further believes that these cuts to crèche facilities, combined with earlier cuts to full-time nursery places, cuts in hours of care in part-time nursery places, cuts to Sure Start funding in Edinburgh totalling £966,000, cuts of £850,000 to Community Learning and Development funds and substantial cuts to grants for local voluntary groups and organisations, including £357,000 being removed from the council’s previously acclaimed Youth Services, demonstrates that the youngest and poorest people across the city of Edinburgh are suffering at the hands of the SNP in power.

Dignity and Integrity for All—That the Parliament notes the lecture given by the Rt Rev Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell, at St Aloysius’ College on Tuesday 11 March 2008; condemns his claim that homosexuals were not persecuted during the holocaust and his suggestion that the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde and other homosexuals was appropriate; observes that according to figures of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals by the Third Reich between 1933 and 1945 and that it is estimated that over 10,000 homosexuals died as a result of the Holocaust; further notes that in many countries homosexuality is today punishable by death or imprisonment, and urges all churches to defend the dignity and integrity of every individual regardless of sexual orientation

Parliamentary Scrutiny of Local Income Tax—That the Parliament regrets the non-publication of the modelling used to calculate the Scottish Government’s local income tax plans; believes that such information is vital to allow the Parliament to hold ministers to account; further believes that this non-publication undermines the democratic process, and calls on Scottish Ministers as a matter of urgency to provide the information requested to be placed in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre.

Water and Sewerage Rates Relief for Charitable and Voluntary Organisations—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1524) in the name of Jim Tolson, leave out from first "welcomes" to end and insert "recognises that the previous Labour-led administration introduced this exemption because it was the right thing to do; supports the campaign by churches and voluntary organisations to continue this exemption; calls on the Scottish Government to ensure the continuation and simplification of this scheme, and hopes that the Scottish Government will extend this scheme to newly built properties and further ensure that an exemption is available to new and old village halls, churches, charities and local organisations."

Anti-Semitic Blogging in National Newspapers—That the Parliament abhors the publication in both The Scotsman and The Herald newspapers’ online blogs of blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric by individuals who hide their identities behind screen names; believes that any such racist statements have no place in national newspapers, in print or online, and calls on the editors of these two major newspapers to ensure that such foul-mouthed attacks on any section of society are removed from their blogs before publication.

The Plight of Burma's Children— That the Parliament notes with great concern a recent report in The Irrawaddy News on the poor treatment of Burmese detainees, many of them children, in Mae Sot, Thailand; recognises the plight of millions of Burmese children, who have long been subjected to starvation and maltreatment by the country’s cruel military dictatorship; laments the misfortune of those children who have attempted to escape this miserable life only to end up in situations like those described in the report, and in accord with the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child affirms the right of every child to have his or her basic needs fulfilled.

Cuba - That the Parliament notes the recent decision by Fidel Castro not to seek re-election to the National Assembly of Cuba and wishes him all the best in his future role; sees this as another opportunity to embrace the ideas of positive engagement between the people of Scotland and Cuba; notes that Fidel remains an inspiration to the majority of Cuban people and to all those seeking to challenge injustice and inequality around the world; commends his heroic contribution to the fight against poverty and oppression; congratulates Cuba on an unrivalled legacy of internationalism and humanitarian aid throughout the developing world with one million poor patients treated with eye surgery under Operation Miracle; notes that Cuba is the only country with permanent emergency medical corps on standby to respond to natural emergencies and, further, has 30,000 free medical scholarships for doctors from developing countries, with plans for a further 200,000 in the next ten years; believes that Cuba’s sovereign institutions should be respected by the US Government; calls for an end to the illegal blockade of Cuba, and congratulates Raul Castro on his appointment as head of state and wishes him every success for the future of a socialist Cuba.

Children's Right to Play— That the Parliament warmly congratulates Theresa Casey on her recent election as President of the International Play Association (IPA); notes that this appointment recognises her longstanding membership of IPA, her years as chair of the Scotland branch and her high personal standing as a practitioner, consultant and writer on children’s play, with her special interest in inclusion, play environments and children’s rights and her breadth of knowledge and experience through her wide contacts and numerous publications; in congratulating her, affirms its conviction that opportunities for children to play in freedom and safety are essential for their wellbeing and development, and agrees to foster these opportunities.

National Minimum Wage – As an amendment to motion S3M-1497 in the name of John Wilson (National Minimum Wage), leave out from "expresses" to end and insert "notes the increase of the National Minimum Wage to £5.73 per hour in October 2008; further notes this will be an increase of nearly 60% since its introduction on 1 April 1999; recognises that the introduction of the National Minimum Wage had a huge impact on thousands of low-paid workers, many of whom were women; applauds the introduction of such legislation for its focus on the rights of working people and not the profits of big business; further notes the failure of the SNP MPs to turn up to vote in the House of Commons for the National Minimum Wage in 1998, and expresses disappointment that the current First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth were among those who did not participate in the vote to introduce the National Minimum Wage."

Scottish Society for Autism: 40 Years Serving Scotland - That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Society for Autism on reaching, in 2008, its 40th year of providing services and support to children, adults and their families living with autism in Scotland; acknowledges its key role, as a parent-led organisation with long experience and 700 staff across the country, in delivering innovative services in local communities, and urges government, local authorities, health services and other voluntary sector organisations to maintain close co-operation with the society to further develop support and services appropriate to the complex needs of those with autism spectrum disorders and their families and to ensure that there will be equity of provision throughout the country.

Future Funding of Scottish Ballet—That the Parliament expresses great concern about the City of Edinburgh Council’s proposed £40,000 cut in revenue funding for Scottish Ballet; notes that Scottish Ballet has consistently presented world-class performance and education programmes in Edinburgh (including the Edinburgh International Festival) delivering 16 performances to 20,000 people during the past year alone, as well as a wide range of educational activities, amounting to 28 events benefiting 1,555 people; believes that the funding reductions will have serious implications for the level of activity that Scottish Ballet can provide in Edinburgh and are likely to have a significant impact on the city’s venues, such as the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, and on vital events in the city’s calendar, including the Edinburgh International Festival, and calls on the City of Edinburgh Council to reconsider this damaging proposal and to consult Scottish Ballet before future funding decisions are made.

Un-Christian Remarks of Bishop Devine—That the Parliament expresses concern at the hurt which will be caused to gay people, and gay Catholics in particular, by the unfortunate, outdated and un-Christian remarks of Bishop Devine; believes that all enlightened Catholics reject all forms of prejudice including racism, sectarianism and homophobia, and acknowledges that we must all remember and learn from the past in order to equip ourselves with the tools to tackle prejudice in all its forms.

Homophobia Has No Place in Scottish Society—That the Parliament notes with weary dismay the most recent remarks made by Bishop Joseph Devine which suggest that LGBT communities should not be present at Holocaust memorial events; recognises in particular that many thousands of gay men were arrested, imprisoned and killed by the Nazi regime and that many of these were later rounded up and re-imprisoned by the allies, being seen at the time as "legitimate" targets; welcomes the significant progress which has since been made across Europe toward recognising the equal dignity and worth of all people regardless of sexual orientation or transgender identity; is concerned at further remarks by the Bishop which appear to encourage parents not to tolerate their gay, lesbian or bisexual children; believes that such remarks are homophobic and deeply harmful to society and to young LGBT people who are contemplating coming out to their families, and commits itself to continuing to work toward a society in which prejudice and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and transgender identity are a thing of the past.

Young Gypsy/Travellers Raising Awareness in the Scottish Parliament—That the Parliament welcomes young Gypsy/Travellers from across Scotland to the Parliament on 26 March 2008; acknowledges that Gypsy/Travellers remain one of the most isolated and excluded minority ethnic groups in Scotland; commends the young people, supported by Save the Children, for raising awareness of the issues faced by Gypsy/Travellers among their peers, professionals and parliamentarians and for bringing about a better understanding of Gypsy/Traveller culture, changing attitudes and challenging discrimination; considers the importance of this work, and urges the Scottish Executive to support, through providing both community leadership and funding, the young people to continue to promote equality by challenging prejudice and discrimination through sharing their experiences with their peers.

Water and Sewerage Rates Relief for Charitable and Voluntary Organisations—As an amendment to motion (S3M-1524) in the name of Jim Tolson, leave out from first "welcomes" to end and insert "recognises that the previous Labour-led administration introduced this exemption because it was the right thing to do; supports the campaign by churches and voluntary organisations to continue this exemption; calls on the Scottish Government to ensure the continuation and simplification of this scheme, and hopes that the Scottish Government will extend this scheme to newly built properties and further ensure that an exemption is available to new and old village halls, churches, charities and local organisations."

Racial Harassment Toolkit—That the Parliament welcomes the launch of Positive Action in Housing’s online Racial Harassment toolkit, www.challengeracism.com, aimed at providing a straightforward framework for helping housing providers challenge racism in their communities; believes that this toolkit will complement previous work done on promoting awareness and reporting of such incidents and as such help to further bridge the gap between legislation and guidance, and encourages housing providers and other organisations to make full use of these excellent resources in order to promote a more inclusive society free from racially motivated crime and harassment.

No Smoking Day—That the Parliament welcomes No Smoking Day on 12 March 2008; celebrates the reduction in heart attacks and other smoking-related diseases that is already becoming apparent in Scotland following the legislative ban on smoking in public places, and regrets that continued progress in this undoubted benefit for the health of the people of Scotland may be hindered by the funding cuts in real terms for smoking cessation programmes introduced by the Scottish Government.

Clothing is Not an Invitation to Rape—That the Parliament condemns the comments made by defence lawyer and temporary sheriff, Iain Smith, in a recent sexual assault case in Perth Sheriff Court in which he used the clothing worn by the 15-year-old victim and reports that she may have been sexually active to claim that "she was not vulnerable" as part of a mitigation plea for his client; notes that the use of comments such as this by representatives of the legal profession is unacceptable and contributes to Scotland’s low rates of prosecution in cases of rape and sexual assault; recognises the Scottish Government’s campaign to change the attitudes toward rape and sexual assault, in particular to challenge the view that rape or sexual assault can be justified by the way a woman or girl behaves, her previous sexual activity or the clothing she is wearing, and urges the Scottish legal profession to take action to ensure that the use of such a defence or mitigation plea is no longer acceptable.

Mr Stevie Fullarton— That the Parliament notes with great sadness the passing of Stevie Fullarton, the last surviving Scot to have fought in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War; commends the heroic contribution of the estimated 500 Scots who fought valiantly on the side of the democratically elected government of Spain against the fascist forces during the course of the war, and sends its sincere condolences to Mr Fullarton’s family and friends.

February 2008

One Book - One Edinburgh— That the Parliament congratulates the One Book - One Edinburgh campaign for all the work that it has done to celebrate Scottish literature and promote reading across the city of Edinburgh; notes that 10,000 copies of the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde were distributed on Friday 22 February 2008 in cafes, bars, offices, high schools, hotels and other venues throughout the city; believes that the campaign promotes both the value of education and the joy of reading; recognises that in 2007 a similar number of copies of Kidnapped were distributed across Edinburgh thanks to the fantastic Bookcrossing scheme; notes that some copies have found their way as far afield as Sweden, Barcelona and Hong Kong; remembers that Edinburgh became the very first UNESCO City of Literature in 2004, and wishes the city of Kolkata all the very best in its endeavours to be the next UNESCO City of Literature.

Language Diversity in Schools— That the Parliament affirms its commitment to supporting children in school whose first language is not English and believes that language diversity is a positive benefit in Scotland’s schools and across Scottish society; recognises the challenges faced by teachers, pupils and parents in multi-lingual classrooms, particularly in areas such as Glasgow where 8,853 city children speak one of 102 languages other than English at home, including Punjabi, Urdu, Arabic, Mandarin, Polish, Cantonese, Swahili, Kurdish, Thai, French, German, Spanish and Italian, alongside Gaelic, Scots, Doric and British Sign Language; congratulates Glasgow City Council and other local authorities for the work that they are already doing in response to language diversity, and calls for the Scottish Government to do more to support local authorities such as Glasgow and to respond to the calls that have been made for special funding to be made available in order that language never becomes a barrier in Scottish education.

Handle With Care— That the Parliament welcomes Handle With Care: A report on the moving and handling of children and young people with disabilities, laid before the Parliament by Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People; recognises that moving and handling issues can cause significant disruption to the lives of children and young people and their families; notes that poor practice may result in breaches of children’s rights, be detrimental to their welfare and limit their enjoyment of life, while good practice contributes to children’s physical and emotional welfare, helping to maximise their mobility and independence; congratulates the young people who worked with the commissioner on the report for their courage in helping to bring this important issue to the attention of the Parliament, and urges central and local government and all service providers to note the findings of the report and explore how they can contribute to the wellbeing of children and young people with disabilities by considering how they can take forward the recommendations set out in the report.

Asthma and Physical Exercise— That the Parliament supports Asthma UK Scotland’s attempts to encourage all children to take part in exercise; acknowledges that well-controlled asthma is no barrier to playing sport and keeping fit, and believes that every school should have an asthma policy to ensure that children with asthma are given every opportunity to take part in normal school life.

European Day of Action on Prison Overcrowding— That the Parliament notes the Federation of European Public Sector Unions’ (EPSU) day of action on 28 February 2008 to raise awareness of prison overcrowding across Europe; is concerned at the increasing prison population across Europe over the last decade, which stands at over 600,000; recognises that most prisons across Europe are now overcrowded, with more prisoners than establishments can accommodate healthily and humanely; believes that overcrowding negates many aspects of prisoner rehabilitation and consequently impacts on efforts to reduce reoffending and leads to further increases in prisoner numbers, and calls on the Scottish Government to work with trade unions and others within the justice system to improve prison conditions by further investment in the prison estate alongside robust alternatives to imprisonment where appropriate.

Funding of Supporters Direct That the Parliament notes the comments of the late Scotland football manager, Jock Stein, that "football without fans is nothing"; believes that this sentiment epitomises the work of Supporters Direct; applauds the work of Supporters Direct in saving six clubs, facilitating £2 million cash input to clubs and establishing 35 supporters’ trusts with 15,000 members; recognises the cross-party support for the work of Supporters Direct but notes that its funding is due to run out in March 2008; expresses disappointment that the SNP administration has failed at this point to provide any new funding to Supporters Direct, and calls on the Minister for Communities and Sport to make funding available from April 2008 to allow Supporters Direct to continue its excellent work on behalf of Scotland’s communities.

Glasgow to Host 2009 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships— That the Parliament congratulates Glasgow on securing the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships to be held at Scotstoun Stadium in May 2009; hopes that Scotland’s involvement will boost its medal chances at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and echoes the words of Terry McLernon, founder of Drumchapel Table Tennis Club, that "Hosting the Championships in 2009 is a real boost for the sport in both Glasgow and Scotland and gives the young people in Drumchapel a real shot at going for gold in 2014".

The Continuing Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip— The That the Parliament expresses its continuing concern about the ongoing blockade of Gaza and the Israeli Government’s decision to begin reducing the electricity supply to 1.5 million Palestinians, including children and innocent civilians, many of whom already live in poverty, 80% of whom are dependent on food aid and 55% of whom are without employment; notes that the situation continues despite warnings from the United States and others against a worsening of the humanitarian situation of the civilian population in Gaza; further notes that human rights groups working in the region argue that the cut in power supplies along with the virtual closure of much of Gaza’s perimeter by Israel violates international law and believes that this amounts to collective punishment of the Palestinian peoples, and therefore calls on the international community to respond urgently to this humanitarian crisis at the same time as working for a peaceful, just and lasting solution for all Palestinians and Israelis.

WWF campaign for Strong Scottish Climate Bill - That the Parliament welcomes the launch of WWF Scotland’s campaign for a strong Scottish Climate Change Bill, which will engage with communities across the country through 25 public events over the course of the public consultation on the Bill proposals; believes that, in tackling climate change, Scotland as a nation can lead the way and, alongside those backing this campaign, supports calls for the Bill to establish the legal framework to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a statutory annual target of at least 3% emission reductions year on year and to include reductions in emissions from aviation and shipping, and further notes that these calls are supported across the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition, a broad coalition of environment, development, community and faith groups and UNISON Scotland.

Violence Against Betting Shop Workers - That the Parliament notes with concern the increase in physical and verbal abuse and intimidation faced by betting shop workers and the parallel rise in violent betting shop robberies; recognises that many workers do not receive adequate support from their employers following such traumatic incidents; regrets that the prevalence of workplace violence leads to a culture among employees, many of whom are lone female workers, of viewing such abuse as part of the job; acknowledges the work carried out by the trade union, Community, in challenging the problems of violence faced by its members in betting shops across Scotland, and welcomes the safety poster launch on 21 February 2008 in the Parliament to further raise awareness of Community's campaign to stop violence against betting shop workers.

Children of prisoners : The Invisible Victims of Crime - That the Parliament notes with grave concern the findings of Not Seen. Not Heard. Not Guilty: The Rights and Status of the Children of Prisoners in Scotland, published by the Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland; further notes that the report sets out serious concerns about the welfare of children in this situation, in particular highlighting the problems with the approach taken to prison visits and the failure of the justice system to recognise the rights of the child in these difficult circumstances, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that better facilities are provided for children to see their parents or carers in Scotland's prisons.

2008 : Women and the Vote - That the Parliament notes that 6 February 2008 is the 90th anniversary of women winning the right to vote and be elected to parliament under the 1918 Representation of the People Act; further notes that this year is also the 80th anniversary of women being granted equal voting rights; believes that much still remains to be done to achieve full equality for women, and therefore welcomes the formation of 2008: Women and the Vote, bringing together organisations to celebrate, assess the current situation, and ask all political parties and central and local government to put this issue at the top of their political agendas.

Increasing Access to Insulin Pumps - That the Parliament notes the considerable benefits that insulin pumps have for diabetics to help them to manage their condition; notes with concern the current restrictive criteria for eligibility for use of insulin pumps which have contributed to insulin pump usage in Scotland being among the lowest in Western Europe, with only around 0.75% of people with Type 1 diabetes using pumps in Scotland compared with 15 to 20% in the United States of America and Germany; is concerned at the extreme regional disparity in uptake of insulin pumps across NHS boards, with only two patients receiving insulin pump therapy in NHS Ayrshire and Arran compared with 42 in NHS Tayside in the most recent figures, despite all NHS boards having received funding for access to insulin pumps; supports the campaign of Diabetes UK to increase access to insulin pumps and welcomes the review being undertaken currently by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) of the eligibility for use of pumps in the NHS, and calls for immediate action to be taken by the Scottish Government to ensure that new NICE guidance that seeks to relax access criteria is adopted swiftly in Scotland, to support all NHS boards to increase access to insulin pumps for patients with diabetes and to enable more training for health practitioners to support patients in moving to the use of pumps where it is clearly of benefit in the management of their diabetes.

Congratulating Scottish Science - expresses concern that underfunding of universities by the SNP government poses a serious threat to the continued success of Scotland’s research scientists who were recently placed second in the world behind only Switzerland; recognises that the constitutional changes proposed by the SNP represent an even more serious threat to research excellence, which is why the overwhelming majority of Scotland’s scientists and scientific bodies want research in Scotland to remain part of the UK research funding framework within which Scottish-based scientists have been outstandingly successful, and congratulates our scientists for the quality of their research."

I Love My Smoke-Free Childhood - That the Parliament commends the International Union Against Cancer’s campaign, launched on World Cancer Day, 4 February 2008, to highlight the chronic health risks to children of passive smoking; notes that the year-long "I love my smoke-free childhood" campaign will also encourage mothers not to smoke while pregnant and warn their children of the dangers of passive smoking; is aware that passive smoking increases the risk of cot death, low birth weight in babies and childhood illness; is concerned that globally an estimated 700 million children regularly breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke, and therefore supports the efforts of the International Union Against Cancer, the World Health Organisation and all those involved in highlighting this issue, educating parents and ultimately reducing children’s exposure to tobacco smoke.

50th Anniversary of Scottish CND—That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament on the occasion of its 50th anniversary; notes that the UK Government’s plan to renew and replace Trident would have an impact on matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament for the next 50 years; expresses concern that the UK Government is spending £2.7 billion at Aldermaston over the next three years; urges the majority of Scottish Westminster MPs of all parties who voted against Trident renewal on 14 March 2007 to continue their opposition to that policy at Westminster with a view to overturning it in due course, and supports the 50th anniversary rally which will be held at Aldermaston on 24 March 2008.

Supporters Direct in Scotland— That the Parliament welcomes the work of Supporters Direct in Scotland; recognises its contribution to Scottish football and believes that supporters’ trusts provide the best mechanism for involving communities in their football clubs and that the Raith Trust in the Kirkcaldy parliamentary constituency is an excellent example of where supporters’ trusts promote community empowerment and strengthen local football teams, and believes that they should continue to be supported.

An End to the Prospect of Ship-to-Ship Transfers in the Firth of Forth— That the Parliament warmly welcomes Forth Ports plc’s decision not to proceed with plans for ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Firth of Forth; congratulates the people, communities, and local groups in Fife and the Lothians who worked hard to secure this outcome; highlights the hard work of representatives across parties in both the Holyrood and Westminster parliaments on the issue of ship-to-ship oil transfers, and welcomes the protection that this decision will offer to the wildlife and environmentally sensitive sites throughout the Firth of Forth.

Access to Work for Young Deaf People— That the Parliament believes that all young people should have equal access to employment on leaving school or further and higher education; agrees that a modern Scotland should embrace a diverse workforce; welcomes the presence of the STUC in the Scottish Parliament earlier this month, when a workshop was held to discuss issues relating to access to work for deaf people; recognises the good work that the STUC is undertaking in partnership with trade unions and employers in the Highlands to provide training sessions in deaf awareness and British Sign Language (BSL); is aware however that key voluntary organisations such as the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), the Scottish Council on Deafness and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People are still generally finding that there are significant barriers for young deaf people and adults to access employment or training opportunities, including work experience, due to communication barriers and lack of deaf awareness in the workplace; notes that the UK Government’s Access to Work scheme, while providing for access to appropriate communication during working hours, does not cover such access for training provision, which is crucial to an employee’s induction and professional development; is further concerned that there is an acute shortage of qualified BSL interpreters in Scotland, meaning that many deaf people in the workplace cannot access even the minimum level of communication support that they are entitled to; welcomes the work of the NDCS, who have been supporting deaf young people to make the transition from school into the world of work via its Moving On project, and, while welcoming the Scottish Government’s intention to increase the number of qualified BSL interpreters in Scotland, considers that the Scottish Government should liaise with the UK Government, where appropriate, to ensure better access to employment and training and increased promotion of deaf awareness in the workplace, for the benefit of deaf young people and adults alike

January 2008

Domestic Abuse Play by Teenagers from Kilmardinny Arts Centre— That the Parliament congratulates the group of teenagers from Kilmardinny Arts Centre in East Dunbartonshire for writing and performing a play to highlight the seriousness of domestic abuse and its effects on children and young people; notes that as many as 100,000 children are currently living with domestic abuse, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that adequate funding is provided to domestic abuse helplines, charities and groups.

Publication of The Birds of Scotland— That the Parliament welcomes the publication of The Birds of Scotland, the definitive two-volume work on Scottish birds, which has been drawn up over five years under the auspices of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) with the support of a range of organisations and individuals including Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Forestry Commission and the RSPB; commends the work of all its editors, authors and illustrators; recognises that the million words in the two volumes of the work represent an extraordinary achievement which will contribute greatly to national and international knowledge; is pleased that Scotland leads the world in studying its own bird life and its own environment with a view to ensuring sustainability and a healthy biodiversity, and express its gratitude to the SOC for the copy of the book which it presented to the Minister for Environment at the book’s launch on 9 January 2008 in the Royal Museum of Scotland with the request that it be placed in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre.

Campaign to Ban Snaring in Scotland— That the Parliament agrees that the continued use of snaring subjects thousands of Scotland’s wild animals every year to a degree of suffering, including disembowelment, mutilation and death by slow strangulation, which is unacceptable and could not legally be inflicted on domestic animals; agrees that Scotland’s wildlife, pets and farmed animals should not be exposed to indiscriminate trapping methods such as snares which are known to exact a heavy toll of non-target animals, including European protected species; notes that last year’s Scottish Executive consultation on the future of snaring elicited a more than two-to-one majority in favour of an outright ban on snares; welcomes the campaign to ban snaring in Scotland launched on 15 January 2008 by Advocates for Animals, the League Against Cruel Sports, Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust, the Hare Preservation Trust, the International Otter Survival Fund and Scottish Badgers, and sponsored by the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, and believes that snaring should be banned.

Celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight— That the Parliament recognises the ongoing efforts of individuals and organisations working to promote and raise awareness of fair trade in Scotland, welcomes the steady increase in the number of schools, colleges, church groups, towns and cities across Scotland who now have Fairtrade status; acknowledges the important contribution made by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum in the work to help Scotland achieve Fairtrade nation status, notes that Fairtrade Fortnight will take place from 24 February to 9 March 2008, and looks forward to marking this at an event in the Parliament on the evening of Thursday 28 February.

Dundee - Intelligent Community of the Year Awards— That the Parliament congratulates Dundee and its residents on being nominated as one of the seven finalists from across the world in the Intelligent Community of the Year awards for 2008 for the second time running; recognises that Dundee has come a long way since the days of jute, jam and journalism and is now a leading centre for life sciences and digital technology; notes that innovative schemes such as smart cards for citizens were pioneered in Dundee, and looks forward to the continued growth of the science and technology sectors in Dundee.

No Excuse for Elder Abuse— That the Parliament expresses concern that an estimated 7% to 9% of older people in Scotland are victims of at least one form of abuse; recognises that over 40% of victims suffer more than one kind of abuse; notes that abuse can occur in an older person’s own home, in care homes or in hospitals or through any service an older person receives; is aware that abuse is perpetrated by family members, neighbours and friends, professional care workers, informal carers, those who provide financial and legal services and others; seeks to reduce the level of abuse of older people and ensure that victims of elder abuse have access to appropriate support and legal resources, and continues to support and work with agencies to help raise awareness of this issue, remove the fear of abuse currently felt by older people and fulfil our obligation to do everything we can to protect those most vulnerable in society.

Sacking of Chairs of Sportscotland and the Scottish Institute of Sport— That the Parliament condemns the Scottish Government for its peremptory sacking of Julia Bracewell, Chair of sportscotland, and Dougie Donnelly, Chair of the Scottish Institute of Sport, as a cynical and vindictive move motivated not by a recognition of the qualities that the current chairs, as individuals, have brought and can bring to the development of their respective organisations and to sport in Scotland, but by revenge at having been forced to perform a u-turn and retain sportscotland.

Scottish Environment Week— That the Parliament welcomes the forthcoming Scottish Environment Week which takes place from 4 to 10 February 2008 affording the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the importance of Scotland’s environment to our society and economy; notes that the theme of this year’s environment week is "A climate for change: enabling sustainable livelihoods", exploring how government, business and the public can inspire others and facilitate change towards sustainable development, low impact lifestyles and the carbon neutral society; pays tribute to those who have taken active steps to reduce their carbon footprint and live more environmentally sustainable lives, and further congratulates Scottish Environment LINK for organising a series of events in the Parliament and beyond exploring the opportunities and challenges involved in ensuring that Scotland’s environment, whether urban, rural or marine, is protected and enhanced in order that it can be enjoyed by generations to come.

100 Years on, Remembering Emmeline Pankhurst— That the Parliament remembers all those who fought over the years for the right to vote and particularly remembers that 100 years ago Emmeline Pankhurst, the leading suffragette and founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union in the battle for the right to vote, wrote powerfully on 18 February 1908 from Holloway jail giving her vivid account of the drudgery and misery, meagre rations, coarse clothing with its convicts’ arrows and her stark surroundings and notes her subsequent removal to hospital; further notes that on 10 January 1918 the House of Lords approved the Representation of the People Bill giving married women aged over 30 the vote and the US House of Representatives in Washington voted in favour of women’s suffrage, and hopes that political parties across the country will celebrate the involvement of women in politics.

TheyWorkForYou.com— That the Parliament recognises the value of the work done by mySociety.org, a charitable project which aims to build websites that give people simple, tangible benefits in the civic and community aspects of their lives and to teach the public and voluntary sectors how to most efficiently use the internet; in particular notes the importance of website TheyWorkForYou.com, which provides accurate and up-to-date information about the work of elected politicians, enabling members of the public to identify and contact their representatives more easily and to track their work; welcomes the news that a Scottish Parliament service will be added to the site shortly, and wishes the site’s publishers well in their efforts to raise funds for this non-profit-making venture.

 

December 2007

Woodland Trust Scotland's Christmas Card Recycling Scheme— That the Parliament supports Woodland Trust Scotland’s Christmas Card Recycling Scheme which runs until 31 January 2008 in conjunction with Waste Aware Scotland; urges people to help exceed this year’s Scottish target of 10 million recycled Christmas cards by taking their cards to special recycling bins placed in participating WH Smith, Tesco, TK Maxx and M&S stores; encourages people who do not traditionally recycle to participate in the scheme, and notes that funds raised from the scheme will help to save woods and trees and will contribute towards the Woodland Trust’s projects to create new woodland.

Scottish Campuses Can Go Greener— That the Parliament recognises the huge potential of educational institutions to provide organisational leadership in environmental performance, reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful impacts on the world and inspire individuals to take action on environmental issues; congratulates the student campaign group, People & Planet, for its Go Green programme which aims to promote a systematic approach to monitoring and improving environmental performance by schools, colleges and universities; recognises that most Scottish institutions appear at the lower end of the People & Planet environmental league table for 2007, showing that there is significant room for improvement; notes that People & Planet groups in Scotland, including at the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde, will be campaigning for greater progress during Go Green Week from 16 to 24 February 2008, and wishes the students every success in their campaign.

Phil O'Donnell— That the Parliament expresses its sadness and shock at the sudden death of Phil O’Donnell, captain of Motherwell Football Club, on Saturday 29 December 2007; pays tribute to his record as a true ambassador for football, both on and off the pitch, and sends its sincere condolences to his family and to Motherwell FC at this time.

Brick by Brick: A Tenancy Deposit Scheme for Scotland— That the Parliament notes the publication of the latest National Union of Students Scotland’s report, Brick by Brick: the state of student housing in Scotland 2007, which draws attention to the one-third of Scottish students who lose their deposits on leaving private accommodation; notes that many students, who may rely on the return of this deposit to pay upfront rent for their next property, believe that their deposits have been withheld unfairly and expresses concern that the withholding of deposits unfairly can lead to hardship and ultimately homelessness; further notes the tenancy deposit protection scheme in operation in England and Wales which ensures protection for both landlords and students, and calls on the Scottish Government to engage with NUS Scotland with a view to implementing a similar scheme for Scotland.

 

Outlawing Prostitution— That the Parliament supports the recent commitment by the Leader of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman MP, to work towards outlawing prostitution, as is already the case in Sweden; congratulates her for her recent action to prevent local newspapers from carrying adverts for brothel services which are believed to be linked to human trafficking, and urges ministers to increase funding in Scotland for work that challenges the demand for women to be traded for men’s sexual gratification and to provide more services to enable women to exit prostitution, drawing on existing good practice.

Pressure for Change— That the Parliament notes the findings of the Care Commission report, Pressure for change, which found serious failings in standards of care in all the care homes that were visited as part of the review; further notes the widespread incidence of pressure ulcers found on older people living in care homes, the effects of which can range from mild skin reddening to severe deep open wounds which can be life-threatening if infected; agrees that it is a disgrace for elderly people in this day and age to suffer unnecessarily from pressure ulcers which are preventable and can be treated; accepts the view of the Care Commission that the report is indicative of widespread failings in the Scottish care home system, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to accept the findings of the Care Commission report and fully implement its recommendations.

Young People in the Workplace— That the Parliament notes that young people are making a significant contribution to economic development and social progress in Scotland; notes that younger people often experience poorer job security, pay and conditions of employment and are significantly more likely to be injured in the workplace than older workers; recognises that trade unions play a vital role in protecting and training young people, contributing to a safer working environment in all workplaces and promoting and supporting the learning and skills development of young people; recognises the important role of trade union bargaining on issues such as apprenticeship schemes and workforce training, for example at Ineos in Grangemouth where, as part of the wage deal, apprentices are guaranteed employment on completion of their apprenticeships, and commends all those involved in the Unions into Schools Project, funded by the previous Scottish Executive and now the Scottish Government, which works in schools to ensure an understanding of the contribution made by trade unions.

Female Prisoners— That the Parliament expresses concern that the number of female inmates within Scottish prisons remains at an unacceptably high level and that over the last decade the number of female prisoners in Scotland has almost doubled, with the number of prisoners in Cornton Vale rising from 184 in 1997 to 365 in 2006; calls for cross-party consensus to take the measures necessary to ensure a significant cut in the number of female prisoners over the next decade, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to recognise that alternatives to custody such as drug rehabilitation programmes, effective community sentences and the appropriate use of mental health facilities and support should form part of a determined drive to address the particular issues relating to female prisoners in Scotland.

Wi-Fi on Public Transport— That the Parliament welcomes the announcement by National Express that free wi-fi connection will be available to all passengers on the east coast rail passenger service; further welcomes the earlier announcement by Scottish Citylink regarding free wi-fi on its route between Edinburgh and Glasgow; recognises that such initiatives have a vital role to play in enabling flexible working, increased productivity and in reducing traffic congestion by encouraging modal shift, and, in light of these benefits, calls on the Scottish Executive to examine ways of encouraging other transport operators to consider the introduction of wi-fi on their services.

Councillors' Freedom to Vote without Reprisals— That the Parliament recognises the differing views over the proposed development of a golf resort by the Trump Organisation; regardless of opinions on the development itself, considers that local councillors who exercise a role in the planning system must be free to vote as they see fit in the circumstances; therefore considers that the removal of Councillor Martin Ford from his role on Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee represents a dangerous precedent for the planning system as a whole, and calls on the Scottish Government to consider what steps can be taken to ensure that local councillors are able in future to exercise their planning functions with independence and without fear of reprisals.

 

Archway Glasgow— That the Parliament notes the official opening of Archway Glasgow, Scotland’s first sexual assault referral centre providing support for victims of rape and sexual assaults; congratulates all involved, including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Strathclyde Police and particularly Glasgow City Council’s former equalities spokesperson, Irene Graham; welcomes the centre’s approach of offering counselling and advice alongside health checks and forensic examinations whose results can be stored while the victim decides whether to approach the police; supports the comments of the Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini, about the bravery of victims in reporting sexual offences, and encourages the Scottish Government to do more to challenge attitudes towards sexual offences and to support victims in reporting such crimes.

British Stammering Association (Scotland)— That the Parliament commends the work of the British Stammering Association (Scotland) (BSAS), which seeks to promote early intervention for pre-school children to prevent lifelong stammering; notes that BSAS delivered an intensive course during the 2007 summer holidays for children and young people aged 10 to 14 from across Scotland who stammer; notes its work with TAG Theatre Company on a drama project to promote confidence and self-esteem among young adults who stammer; further notes the support BSAS gives to self-help groups for people who stammer; recognises that children, young people and adults who stammer can experience teasing and bullying in education and discrimination in the workplace, and supports the continued good work of the association in campaigning on behalf of and supporting people of all ages who stammer.

 

Meeting the Needs of Disabled Children and their Families - £34 Million Could Go a Long Way— That the Parliament acknowledges the courage, persistence and commitment of parents with disabled children within the Pollok constituency, across Glasgow and throughout Scotland, in fighting for the rights of their families; notes the findings of the report, Aiming High for Disabled Children: Better Support for Families, drawn from the experience and priorities of families with disabled children across the United Kingdom and which seeks to address the needs of the disabled child and the impact of disability on the rest of the family; welcomes the £34 million funding secured by the dedicated campaigning of families with disabled children and provided to the Scottish Executive to deliver the package of improvements in short breaks, accessible childcare, support for young disabled people in transition to adulthood and help for parents to be involved in shaping local services, and considers that families of disabled children should benefit fully from the £34 million fruits of their campaigning endeavour

John Park: STUC Memorandum of Understanding—That the Parliament welcomes the re-signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Scottish Government and the STUC; recognises the valuable role that the MoU has played in developing government and trade union relations since being signed in 2002 by then First Minister, Jack McConnell MSP, and STUC President, David Bleiman; recognises that the strategic dialogue undertaken through the MoU enabled achievements such as the two-tier workforce protocol, the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act 2005 and the extension of the Union Learning Fund, and welcomes the continued involvement of trade unions as social partners with government.

Our Vote Our Voice Launch—That the Parliament congratulates Outside the Box Development Support on the launch of its online election voting pack for adults with learning difficulties; recognises that people with such difficulties have as much right to accessible information on matters that affect their lives as other members of Scotland’s communities; welcomes the contribution that people with learning difficulties made to the production of the pack, and believes that the election pack should inform and influence the planning of elections by those who have responsibility for doing so, such as returning officers and the Electoral Commission, to ensure the maximum participation in elections by all eligible voters.

Prepayment Penalties on the Poor—That the Parliament expresses concern that customers using prepayment meters to pay for their energy are currently paying an average of £214 per year more than those who have signed up for suppliers’ online tariffs and £137 more than those paying by direct debit; notes that one in three households have no home access to the internet while one in 11 do not have a bank account; expresses further concern that the number of prepayment meters installed for debt has risen in the last year, effectively barring those customers from switching to a cheaper supplier and payment method; further notes that smart meters have an important role in eradicating the inequalities associated with payment methods, and calls on the Scottish Government to make representations to Ofgem to undertake a comprehensive review of charges for prepayment meter customers as a first step to ensuring that large numbers of Scottish consumers no longer have to pay more for their energy simply because they have no access to a computer or bank account.

Prisoners with Learning Difficulties and Learning Disabilities—That the Parliament welcomes the report, No One Knows, produced by the Prison Reform Trust, based on interviews with prison staff in Scotland regarding the identification and support of prisoners with learning difficulties; notes the suggestion that up to 2,250 prisoners out of approximately 7,000 are likely to have a technical learning disability or require some additional support with learning; notes further that all public services, including criminal justice organisations, have a duty under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to eliminate discrimination and promote opportunity for disabled people, including those with learning difficulties; is concerned that few systematic procedures appear to be in place in prisons to identify prisoners with learning difficulties or disabilities and that information about this does not accompany most prisoners when they enter prison; is aware that short-term prison sentences militate against effective working with such prisoners; calls on the Scottish Executive to act on the recommendations of the report, and believes that there would be considerable value in a review of the care and treatment of prisoners with learning difficulties and disabilities by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and by the Scottish Commissioner for Equality and Human Rights, as recommended in the report.

 

Support Project Scotland— That the Parliament expresses its dismay at the decision of the Scottish Government to withdraw funding from Project Scotland, the ground-breaking volunteering project, which since its inception has secured well over 1,000 placements for young people throughout Scotland; recognises the very real and tangible benefits both to local communities and organisations, such as the Temple Shafton Youth Project in Glasgow, which have participated in the scheme and wholeheartedly applauds the effort and commitment of the volunteers involved; acknowledges that participants have been able to discover and develop new skills during their time with Project Scotland; notes the cross-party support for motion S3M-695 in the name of Sandra White, which acknowledged the positive role played by Project Scotland in helping "those previously excluded from participating in society to realise their true potential and aspirations", and believes that the decision should be reversed and support given to a project which, through the sterling efforts of volunteers, has made a significant contribution to a more inclusive and co-operative Scotland.

CHILDREN 1ST New Tayside Premises— That the Parliament congratulates CHILDREN 1ST on the opening of its new Tayside premises in Dundee; notes that CHILDREN 1ST, formerly the Royal Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, has helped Dundee’s most vulnerable children and families for over 70 years; further notes that from its new premises CHILDREN 1ST will continue to provide much-needed support to children and their families affected by family breakdown, abuse or neglect, including those affected by substance misuse, and recognises the important contribution of CHILDREN 1ST’s staff and volunteers across the whole of Scotland whose hard work helps give vulnerable children and young people a brighter future.

RNIB Report on Election Experiences of People with Sight Loss— That the Parliament welcomes the RNIB report, Make it count, on the election experiences of people with sight loss; notes the issues identified from individual experience in the report, particularly those of staff training, design including font size and colour contrast, the need for good lighting, better polling booth design and voter advice and information in polling stations, and the problem of delayed despatch of postal ballot papers; notes also the recommendation for the appointment of a Chief Returning Officer; urges the Scotland Office and the Scottish Government to consider and act on the report along with the recommendations in the Gould report and to involve organisations like RNIB more closely in arrangements for future elections, and believes that it is an urgent requirement of any democracy that all its citizens should be able to cast an effective vote in a manner suited to their needs.

Scotland’s Parkinson's Disease Nurse Specialists— That the Parliament acknowledges the role of Scotland’s Parkinson’s disease nurse specialists (PDNSs) in providing care and support for people living with Parkinson’s disease; notes that Parkinson’s disease is a complicated condition that requires to be managed by specialist teams of health professionals; recognises that for many people with Parkinson’s disease and their families a PDNS is the most important health professional in their lives and that the evidence shows that access to a PDNS improves quality of life and symptom control and reduces unnecessary hospital admissions; is concerned that six NHS boards have no access to a PDNS and that in other boards PDNSs are heavily oversubscribed, and encourages boards to take the opportunity to work in partnership with the Parkinson’s Disease Society and with people with Parkinson’s disease to design higher quality services where everyone with Parkinson’s disease has access to a PDNS.

Support the White Ribbon Campaign— That the Parliament applauds the White Ribbon campaign around the world for developing the role of men in tackling violence against women; applauds White Ribbon Scotland for taking forward the issue here; notes that the simplest action for men to take is to wear a white ribbon, symbolising the pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women, and encourages all male MSPs to do so during the 16 days of action opposing violence against women, which start on 25 November 2007, and all female MSPs to encourage the men around them to do so.

Say No to Racism— That the Parliament commends and supports the annual Scottish Trades Union Congress St Andrew’s Day Anti-Racism March and Rally taking place in Glasgow on Saturday 24 November 2007; welcomes the all-party support for the march and rally, sponsored by the Glasgow Anti Racist Alliance; congratulates those who stand together against racism and fascism, and notes the theme of this year’s march which commemorates the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child— That the Parliament notes the 18th birthday of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guarantees the rights of all children and young people in Scotland to fulfil their potential; believes that all children and young people in our society, but particularly children with a disability or additional support needs, face a number of barriers in realising these rights, for example to be included, to achieve their promise and to access leisure and recreational activities as well as other core services; supports the work done by the Cross Party Group on Children and Young People to raise awareness and consensus in the Parliament around this issue; urges the Scottish Government to listen to, and actively involve, children and young people in the development and delivery of educational, social, leisure and health services, and believes that it is the Scottish Government’s responsibility to research the extent and reasons for such barriers and that the voices of children and young people with additional support needs should form a central part of the inspection processes that these services undergo.

Carers' Respite and Short Breaks— That the Parliament notes that 7 December 2007 is Carers’ Rights Day; applauds the huge contribution made to society by more than 600,000 unpaid carers in Scotland; welcomes the work done by organisations such as Grangemouth Carers and the Falkirk Carers Centre; recognises the enormous benefit that the provision of respite and short break services can make to both the carer and the cared for; notes with concern the inequalities of access to respite provision recently highlighted by the Scottish Society for Autism; believes that regular updates should be made available, detailing progress towards the provision of an additional 10,000 weeks respite per year, as well as a guaranteed annual entitlement to breaks from caring by 2011; welcomes the Scottish Government’s consultation on its new respite care guidance; is concerned, however, that this guidance does not contain a duty on local authorities to develop specific respite strategies; believes that such a duty is vital to strengthen the development of respite services and to achieve equality of access across Scotland, and believes that, in the absence of a duty on local authorities, measures should be taken to ensure that the impact of any additional resources for respite services is not undermined by weaknesses in local respite planning.

Failure to Invest in Higher Education— That the Parliament recognises the vitally important contribution made by Scottish universities in equipping our people with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive world; expresses disappointment that as a result of the spending review statement universities will face a real-terms cut in their funding in the coming year; notes that this is the first such cut in the history of devolution; believes that this will place Scottish universities at a competitive disadvantage to other universities in the United Kingdom and abroad; supports a full review of the long-term future of the higher education sector and its contribution to Scotland; considers the proposed higher education budget to be inadequate, and pledges to work for a more equitable funding settlement to ensure that our university sector remains world class.

 

November 2007

Say No to Racism—That the Parliament commends and supports the annual Scottish Trades Union Congress St Andrew’s Day Anti-Racism March and Rally taking place in Glasgow on Saturday 24 November 2007; welcomes the all-party support for the march and rally, sponsored by the Glasgow Anti Racist Alliance; congratulates those who stand together against racism and fascism, and notes the theme of this year’s march which commemorates the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

18 Years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child— That the Parliament notes the "coming of age" of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November 2007, which since its adoption in 1989 has been ratified more quickly and by more governments, all except Somalia and the United States of America, than any other human rights instrument; recognises that it is the most far-reaching and comprehensive of all human rights treaties and has transformed the status of children as rights holders; supports its basic premise that children are born with fundamental freedoms and the inherent rights of all human beings; recognises that much work still needs to be done to ensure that the convention is fully implemented; further notes that in 2008 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will examine a report by the UK Government on its implementation of the convention; welcomes the Scottish Government’s engagement in that reporting process and its commitment to improving the lives of young people, and continues to support the work of Kathleen Marshall, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People in promoting and safeguarding children’s rights in Scotland.

Domestic Abuse in Lothians— That the Parliament recognises the need to end violence against women; notes that the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign will run from 25 November (UN International Day of Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women) until 10 December 2007 (International Human Rights Day); notes that domestic abuse remains both widespread and under-reported in Scotland and that research indicates that victims suffer episodes of abuse up to 35 times before they call the police; further notes that 60% of recorded domestic abuse incidents in Lothian and Borders are known to involve repeat victimisation; welcomes the pilot project being run by Lothian and Borders Police in East Lothian to improve the service provided to victims of domestic abuse with the aim of reducing repeat victimisation through working with partner agencies to provide help, support and prioritise the safety and protection of victims when reporting crimes, and looks forward to this pilot leading to a more effective response to domestic abuse throughout the force’s area.

Diabetes UK Scotland World Diabetes Day Report 2007— That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Diabetes UK Scotland report, Getting our act together - supporting young people with diabetes in Scotland; recognises that Scotland has one of the highest rates in the world for Type 1 diabetes and that more than 90% of young people with diabetes in Scotland are at risk of serious health complications because they lack the information and support to manage their condition properly; acknowledges the report’s action points on sustaining paediatric services for children with Type 1 diabetes, providing structured education, psycho-social support and information about living with Type 1 diabetes and its consequences, informing patients about their treatment options, educating people working with young people in schools and elsewhere about Type 1 diabetes, improving transition from paediatric to adult services and improving communication among professionals; furthermore recognises that the report is part of a year-long worldwide campaign to raise awareness of the rising prevalence of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, and calls on the Scottish Government to make a response to the report and the campaign.

Fellowship with Cuba—That the Parliament welcomes Mr Jaime Crombet Hernandez-Baquero MP, Mr Ramon Pez Ferro MP and Ms Gladys Maria Zuazaga Cabrera MP who are visiting the Parliament on 15 November 2007 courtesy of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; notes that extensive democratic participation is at the centre of the Cuban model of government and further notes that in the most recent Cuban elections this year over 95% of the voting population chose to cast their vote; congratulates Cuba on sharing its advances in medical science, education, sport and agriculture with poor and dispossessed people around the world; believes that Scotland could benefit from strengthening relations with Cuba, including shared information on education and health, and calls for an immediate end to the United States blockade of Cuba.

Sectarian Stories— That the Parliament welcomes the launch of Sectarian Stories, an educational documentary produced by Nil by Mouth in conjunction with the Gallery of Modern Art’s Blind Faith programme, which will be premiered at the Parliament on 14 November 2007; notes that the documentary features 12 people from across Scotland sharing their personal experiences of sectarianism which reflect the impact that sectarian attitudes, language and behaviour have on individuals and their communities; applauds the courage of the participants for speaking out on the issue; views such first hand experiences as a valuable resource that will support work to challenge sectarianism across primary, secondary and community education programmes, and, while acknowledging the significant strides taken in recent years to challenge and legislate against sectarianism, realises that it still presents Scotland with a series of deep-seated, emotive and complex challenges that are best met by strong and visible leadership from the Scottish Government.

Improving the Central Heating Programme— That the Parliament notes with concern that local pensioners in Airdrie and Shotts have been told by Scottish Gas that, although that are eligible now for new heating systems under the central heating programme, they cannot get the new systems fitted until April 2008, up to 6 months after their date of eligibility; believes that it is unacceptable that pensioners in Airdrie and Shotts  are being forced to wait until after winter for a new central heating system; further believes that there needs to be greater flexibility within the programme to protect vulnerable people who have medical conditions or to allow boiler-only installations where this will facilitate a quicker and less intrusive installation, and considers that these problems should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Dundee Music— That the Parliament congratulates the Dundee-based music businesses P3 Music, Clash Magazine and Jack’s Hoose which have won awards of £45,000, £40,000 and £20,000 respectively from the Scottish Music Futures Fund; notes that Dundee has a thriving music scene which will benefit greatly from the awards; further notes that the creative industries employ 100,000 people across Scotland and have an annual turnover of £2.5 billion, and supports the aim of the Scottish Music Futures Fund which is to assist those working in the music business to achieve the full economic potential of their businesses.
 

National Youth Work Week - All Different All Equal—That the Parliament notes that national Youth Work Week takes place from 1 to 8 November 2007 and that this year’s theme, "All Different All Equal", is based on the pan-European youth campaign, involving 42 countries, to reinforce the fight against racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance; further notes that the Scottish All Different All Equal steering group, made up of 12 organisations and chaired by YouthLink Scotland, is launching Youth Work Week at a conference and exhibition on 1 November at Hampden Park and that this provides both voluntary and statutory youth work organisations the opportunity to showcase their best practice across three themes of the campaign: participation, diversity and human rights, and congratulates the organisers of the conference for creating opportunities which enable youth workers and young people to participate in activities on issues around race, gender, disability and sexuality and to overcome barriers, therefore enabling youth workers and young peer leaders to be better equipped to engage with the diversity of Scotland’s young people.

World AIDS Day 2007—That the Parliament observes World Aids Day on 1 December 2007; acknowledges that there are an estimated 39.5 million people living with HIV worldwide; supports this year’s campaign theme, "HIV: Let’s Get Talking", aimed at encouraging wider discussion and understanding of HIV; recognises that, despite the decreasing visibility of HIV in Scotland in recent years, numbers of annual diagnoses have increased sharply since the 1990s with 2005 seeing the highest number of reported cases on record; considers that around a third of people living with HIV in Scotland remain undiagnosed; understands that late diagnoses account for at least 5% of HIV-related deaths each year in the United Kingdom, many of which could be avoided through early testing and access to treatment; acknowledges that stigma impacts profoundly on the lives of people living with HIV and acts as a major barrier to testing; supports efforts to promote greater awareness and understanding of the realties of living with HIV, and welcomes the opportunity which World Aids Day presents to get people in Scotland talking about HIV.

Employment Legislation and the Council of Economic Advisers—That the Parliament is concerned by the recent comments from Sir George Mathewson, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), regarding the impact of employment legislation on the Scottish economy; recognises that while there have been significant improvements in workers’ rights, such as the national minimum wage, new entitlements to paid holidays and increased maternity leave, employment in Scotland is at record levels; is further concerned that, while the World Bank ranks Scotland, in the United Kingdom, as sixth of 178 countries for ease of doing business, the chair of the CEA chooses to attack rights at work, and calls on the CEA to base all of its future advice to the First Minister on independent evidence and to concentrate on real issues facing the Scottish economy, such as skill shortages, low levels of business research and development investment and security of energy supplies.

 

October 2007

 

Motion tabled by Marlyn Glen

Freedom of the City of Glasgow for Aung San Suu Kyi—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Councillor Robert Winter, to recommend Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected leader of Burma who has been under house arrest since 1990, for the Freedom of the City of Glasgow in recognition of her achievements in the service of democracy, as a further signal of Scotland’s support for her immediate release and restoration of Burmese democracy; congratulates Glasgow Women’s Library and Amnesty International Scotland for their successful campaign; calls on all parties and civic organisations in Glasgow to support the Lord Provost’s initiative, and further calls on the Scottish Government to work with the UK Government to highlight the situation in Burma and campaign for an end to oppression.

 

Government Rejection of New Station for Plains— That the Parliament condemns the decision of transport minister, Stewart Stevenson MSP, not to fulfil the commitment of the previous administration to enable the construction of a new train station at Plains, as part of the Airdrie to Bathgate rail link; notes that, during the previous session, the proposals received the backing of the Local Government and Transport Committee and the endorsement of the Scottish Executive; recognises that there is overwhelming support from the people of Plains for a new station to be built and that a direct link into the Airdrie-Bathgate line would make a real difference to local people, allowing them access to educational, employment, recreational and cultural opportunities that are presently out of reach, and believes that the will of the Parliament should prevail and that this decision not to proceed should be reconsidered as a matter of urgency.

Human Papilloma Virus— That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce a vaccination programme against the most dangerous strains of human papilloma virus (HPV); understands that sexually transmitted HPV is extremely common among men and women in the United Kingdom and has been found to cause 75% of cervical cancers and 90% of the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in clinics in Scotland, genital warts; supports the assurances given on the future vaccination of girls aged between 12 and 13 years and recognises that there are discussions surrounding a catch-up programme for young women up to the age of 16; further recognises that trials are ongoing on the vaccine’s efficacy in protecting men from a range of cancers; acknowledges the potential benefits which the vaccination of young men could bring in terms of both improving men’s health in Scotland and of cost savings for the NHS in genito-urinary medicine and cancer treatment, and urges ministers to consider fully these factors when determining the shape of Scotland’s vaccination programme.

Not for Sale— That the Parliament notes the conference entitled Challenging Demand, organised by the Women’s Support Project, that explores the issue of commercial sexual exploitation; welcomes to Scotland Professor Gail Dines and Dr Rebecca Whisnant, two visiting American academics, who are addressing the conference; believes that prostitution and pornography are part of the continuum of violence against women and are predicated on gender inequality and a perception of women’s subordination; further believes that the Parliament should take whatever action is necessary to challenge the demand for women’s bodies to be traded for men’s sexual gratification; urges the Scottish Government to provide better funding to allow exploited women to have their voices heard, and sends out a clear message that women in Scotland are "Not for Sale."

Dundee Success at Video Game BAFTAs— That the Parliament congratulates the team of five students from the University of Abertay who were awarded the One to Watch award at the 2007 British Academy Video Games Awards for their game, Ragnarawk; recognises the world-leading role that Abertay university plays in the digital education field, with over 1000 students currently studying at the School of Computing and Creative Technologies; also congratulates Abertay graduate, Dave Jones, and his Dundee-based company, Real Time Video Games, which won Best Use of Audio and Best Action and Adventure awards for one of the biggest-selling Xbox 360 games of the year, Crackdown; notes that the global software market is estimated to be worth over £20 billion by 2010, and welcomes the ground-breaking Abertay initiative, White Space, which will help Dundee and Scotland to gain a larger share of this growing market.

Integration of Prison Health Services— That the Parliament notes the publication of the Scottish Consortium on Crime and Social Justice’s paper, The Cost of Unnecessary Imprisonment; agrees with the proposal that the Scottish Prison Service needs to accelerate its integration of health services, including mental health and addictions services, with the NHS; believes that an approach of interventions integrated with the patients’ pathway determined by NHS practitioners and, where appropriate, followed up by provision in the community on release would result in reduced crime and reoffending, reduced costs to the taxpayer and fewer people in Scottish prisons, and calls on the Scottish Executive to support the Scottish Prison Service and the NHS in achieving this integration.

Celebration of Hindu Dusshera Festival— That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Indian Arts Forum for the successful celebration of Dusshera on Calton Hill on 14 October 2007; recognises that cultural events such as this, which marks an important Hindu festival, are crucial in bringing together people from Scotland’s many diverse communities, and further applauds the outstanding participation of over 25,000 individuals who helped make the event a great success.

Time for a Fresh Debate on Organ Donation— That the Parliament commends the ongoing work that British Medical Association Scotland is doing to raise awareness of organ donation; recognises that the number of people on the active and temporarily suspended transplant waiting list in Scotland rose by almost 20% from 695 in September 2005to its highest level of 818 in July 2007 and yet only 50 organs were donated in Scotland last year and that at 10 June 2007 there were 135 people in the NHS Lothian area registered with UK Transplant as waiting for an organ; recognises that the current opt-in system of organ donation is unable to meet the increasing demands placed upon it; acknowledges the need for a full and proper public debate to establish the level of support that exists for a move to a system of presumed consent that will both inform future proposals in this area and raise awareness of the desperate need for organ donors, and considers that moves to turn the tremendous level of public and, increasingly, professional support that exists for organ donation into something meaningful should be supported by implementing a system of presumed consent.


One Workplace Equal Rights—That the Parliament commends the invaluable work of the STUC’s One Workplace Equal Rights project in advancing equality and fighting discrimination in the workplace; notes that the project, part-funded by the Scottish Executive, is working with employers to promote equality and fair working practices; further notes that the project has trained 100 equality representatives in partnership with TUC Education; recognises the project’s continuing support to trade unionists and employers with learning programmes and other resources, and welcomes the one-day conference, Scottish Trade Unions and Equality: The Way Forward, on Thursday 30 October 2007 which will showcase the work of the project that is contributing towards the creation of a more equal Scottish society.

Motion tabled by Marlyn Glen

Abortion Act 1967—That the Parliament notes the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act 1967; recognises that this remains fundamental to women’s equality, autonomy and freedom; welcomes activities taking place around pro-choice action week from 23 to 29 October 2007 in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, and urges MPs at Westminster to reject any proposals to restrict the provisions of that Act.

 

Removing the Barriers to Microgeneration—That the Parliament notes that most Scottish householders installing microgeneration technologies, including solar panels, heat pumps and mini-wind vanes, are currently required to apply for planning permission; notes research commissioned by the previous administration and published on 30 March 2007 which recommended that the requirement to apply for planning permission should be removed from most microgeneration technologies in specific circumstances; agrees that microgeneration can make a significant contribution to tackling climate change, ensuring reliable energy supplies and helping to tackle fuel poverty, and therefore calls on the Scottish Government to bring forward a public consultation on removing the requirement for planning permission for microgeneration at the earliest practical opportunity and thereafter to act promptly on the findings of that consultation

Cities Growth Fund—That the Parliament calls on the Scottish Government urgently to demonstrate its commitment to Scotland’s cities by pledging not to scrap the Cities Growth Fund; notes the significant investment that has been delivered through the fund to Scotland’s cities and the vital role the fund plays in enhancing our country’s economy, and urges the Scottish Government to reject the recommendations of an independent report to abolish the Cities Growth Fund which has helped to finance the Edinburgh Festival, Glasgow’s vocational training strategy, Dundee’s regeneration of its waterfront and sports development in Aberdeen.

Alcohol Awareness Week— That the Parliament notes that Scotland’s first ever Alcohol Awareness Week runs from 21 to 27 October 2007; notes that each year in Scotland over 40,000 people are hospitalised due to alcohol-related conditions and that every four hours someone dies because of alcohol; further notes the huge cost to the NHS and emergency services of excessive alcohol consumption which is estimated at almost £400 million annually, and welcomes Scotland’s first Alcohol Awareness Week which will help to combat alcohol problems by promoting responsible drinking.

House of Lords Ruling on Pleural Plaques— That the Parliament notes with concern the judgement of the House of Lords in respect of pleural plaques which would in effect remove the right of asbestos victims to compensation and reaffirms its own commitment to compensation; supports the work already done by Clydeside Action on Asbestos and others on the matter, and calls for a reversal of this decision through prioritisation of the bill already drafted by Thompsons Solicitors

Sea's the Future— That the Parliament recognises that, with its vast wave and tidal resource, outstanding technical expertise and strong political support, Scotland looks set to become a world leader in marine energy; welcomes delegates to Dundee on Friday 9 November 2007 for the third national seminar on marine energy, hosted by Scottish Renewables, and acknowledges the importance of the Scottish Parliament Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Group’s contribution to exploring the opportunities of and identifying the barriers to marine energy development.

Show Racism the Red Card - A Fortnight of Action— That the Parliament looks forward to Show Racism the Red Card’s fortnight of action which commences on Tuesday 16 October 2007; congratulates Show Racism the Red Card Scotland for four years of hard work in trying to drive out racism, not just from football but also wider society; notes that one of the best ways to do this is to cultivate role models in our community to come forward with a strong anti-racism message, and continues to pledge its support to such a noble campaign.

Supporters Direct in Scotland— That the Parliament welcomes the work of Supporters Direct in Scotland; recognises its contribution to Scottish football and believes that supporters’ trusts provide the best mechanism for involving communities in their football clubs, enabling the Parliament to meet its wider commitment to improving participation in sport and health in communities, and believes that the Scottish Government should continue to support the valuable work carried out by the trusts.

International Credit Union Day - Together We're Better— That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish credit union movement on its continued growth, both in total membership and assets; acknowledges its positive support for financial inclusion in communities across the country; notes that on International Credit Union Day, Thursday 18 October 2007, 200 million credit union members around the world will join in celebration under the theme, Together We’re Better, and congratulates the Scottish League of Credit Unions on honouring the memory of the late Bert Mullen, founder of Scotland’s first credit union in Drumchapel in 1970, at the Biennial Bert Mullen Lecture, “Building Confidence - the Role of Credit Unions”, to be delivered at the University of Glasgow by Dr Carol Craig.

Access to Scottish Executive Initiatives for Those with Low Incidence Disabilities— That the Parliament shares Deafblind Scotland’s concerns that access to Scottish Executive initiatives is currently compromised for those with low incidence disabilities such as deafblindness through the growing emphasis on and move to community planning; believes that national organisations are a vital support to those with low incidence disabilities, as the low numbers involved by definition make localised assistance difficult, and asks the Executive to consider an alternative to disbursing all funds for Choose Life and other initiatives, such as those for quality of life and numeracy and literacy, to local authorities only as this inhibits access to central funding for national organisations supporting those with low incidence disabilities across Scotland.

 

Wear it Pink— That the Parliament recognises that over 3,500 women in Scotland will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007; endorses Breast Cancer Campaign’s organisation of Wear it Pink on Friday 26 October 2007; notes the importance of the event in promoting awareness of breast cancer among the general public; encourages MSPs to participate in the initiative to help raise funds for independent breast cancer research at centres of excellence throughout the United Kingdom, and congratulates Breast Cancer Campaign and all of its supporters for having raised over £3 million in 2006 through Wear it Pink.

National Autistic Society in Scotland - Daldorch House School Senior Campus— That the Parliament appreciates the difficulties that many young people with autism face in making the transition from school to adulthood; congratulates the National Autistic Society Scotland and Principal, Shona Pinkerton, and all the staff at Daldorch House School, Catrine, East Ayrshire on the official opening of its new senior campus on Friday 21 September 2007; notes that this is the first facility of its kind in Scotland to provide continuing education opportunities and supported living arrangements for children and young people between 16 and 21 years old with autism; recognises the enormous difference that the intensive and specialised support provided for young people attending Daldorch House makes in preparing them for adult life; wishes the staff and pupils of Daldorch House well in the future, and urges the Scottish Executive to ensure that all young people with autism have access to early and effective support during the transition to adulthood to enable them to realise their potential.

Combating Sectarianism—That the Parliament warmly welcomes the launch of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education’s Count Us In - Promoting Understanding and Combating Sectarianism good practice guide which outlines positive examples of promoting religious tolerance and challenging sectarian attitudes in Scotland’s schools and communities; embraces the fact that Scotland is a multicultural, diverse society; acknowledges the significant strides made in recent years in tackling sectarianism; recognises the vital work being done with young people through educational initiatives such as the twinning of denominational and non-denominational schools and the efforts of organisations such as Nil by Mouth, and hopes that all sections of Scottish society and government will continue to support the campaign to free Scotland from sectarianism.

Scotland's Law Officers— That the Parliament welcomes the comments of the First Minister confirming judicial independence in Scotland; supports his comments in relation to the Lord Advocate; congratulates the Lord Advocate on her decision to express her views to the Parliament on the collapse of the World’s End case, and reaffirms the need for Scotland’s law officers to respond to public concern and be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.
 

Ditch the Discrimination— That the Parliament welcomes the decision of ScottishPower to write off the debt, accrued through no fault of their own, of those token prepayment meter customers outside its former monopoly area; expresses concern that 13,000 customers in southern Scotland and Liverpool, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, will continue to be exposed to debt that they have accrued because of ScottishPower’s failure to reset antiquated token meters in a timely fashion following price rises; notes that, along with Npower and Powergen, it is one of the three major suppliers who adopt a policy of backcharging low-income customers, and calls on ScottishPower to go even further than Npower and Powergen by writing off the debts of all of its token meter customers and effectively ending the policy of backcharging.
 

September 2007

University of Abertay Awarded Frank Buttle Trust Quality Mark

That the Parliament congratulates the University of Abertay in Dundee which, along with Glasgow and Strathclyde universities, has been granted the Frank Buttle Trust Quality Mark; notes that the quality trust mark is awarded to higher education providers who go the extra mile to support care leavers, and welcomes the comments of Principal, Professor Bernard King, that Abertay is committed to opening its doors to anyone who could benefit from a university education, regardless of their background.

UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty— That the Parliament supports the UN International Day for Eradication of Poverty on 17 October; notes that promises made in 1970 to devote 0.7% of gross national income to overseas development aid have not been met by the international community; notes that every G8 country except the United Kingdom is off target to meet commitments made at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005 and that the UN Millennium Development Goals are unlikely to be met by 2015; believes that more international action is needed to deliver more and better aid, trade justice, full debt relief and gender equality and to tackle climate change; further notes that millions of people around the world are still united in the fight against global poverty and inequality, and considers that solidarity should be shown through support for participation in the Global Call to Action Against Poverty’s world record attempt on 17 October 2007 for the largest number of people ready to stand up and speak out against poverty and inequality.
 

ICL Factory Explosion - Call For Public Inquiry—That the Parliament notes that, three years and three months after the factory explosion that claimed the lives of nine workers, badly injured many more and devastated the community of Maryhill, the companies involved, ICL Plastics and ICL Tech Limited, have pled guilty to breaches of health and safety legislation; recognises the dignified and responsible way in which the families of those involved in this tragedy have conducted themselves throughout this difficult time; notes the support and assistance given by the STUC and the families’ lawyers throughout, and further notes the call by the families and their supporters for a wide-reaching public inquiry into the circumstances of this case and looks to the Lord Advocate to facilitate such an inquiry.

Gender Agenda Campaign—That the Parliament congratulates the Equal Opportunities Commission in Scotland for launching its Gender Agenda campaign; recognises that, while our lives have transformed significantly over the last 30 years and the roles of men and women continue to change, there are still persistent barriers to equality in workplaces and services, illustrated by the power gap which will take almost 200 years to close, the part-time pay gap which will take 30 years to close and the full-time pay gap which will take 20 years; further notes that women working part-time earn 34% less per hour than men working full-time and full-time female employees earn 14% less per hour than men; regrets that the rape conviction rate is currently at an all time low of 3.9% and believes that action must be taken to change this; supports the priority areas of action set out in Gender Agenda, including closing the income gap between men and women, giving better support to families, modernising public services so they meet men’s and women’s needs, providing equal access to justice and safety and sharing power, and calls on the Scottish Executive to take action to support the Gender Agenda campaign.

August 2007

"Trying Childhoods" Exhibition— That the Parliament commends the “Trying Childhoods” exhibition which features the artwork of 80 Scottish young people who live in households affected by alcohol and drug misuse; congratulates the Centre for Drug Misuse Research at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art, art therapist Liz Mitchell and illustrator and animator Jana Prchalova for their commitment to the young people involved; recognises the contribution that art therapy has made in giving the young people the opportunity to express themselves creatively in a safe, supportive environment; notes that an estimated 50,000 children in Scotland have a parent with a drug problem, and calls on the Scottish Executive to take forward all recommendations in Hidden Harm: Next Steps - Supporting Children - Working with Parents and ensure that the necessary resources are in place to provide support to children in drug misusing households as part of a wider strategy to tackle drug misuse in Scotland.
 

Scottish Football Museum - That the Parliament is pleased to note the increasing popularity of Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park, Glasgow, which has the world’s most impressive collection of football memorabilia, including the world’s oldest international cap, the world’s oldest national trophy and the world’s oldest world championship trophy, and further notes and supports the museum’s application for acknowledgment and funding from the Scottish Executive’s Museum Recognition Scheme.

July 2007

Scottish Manufacturing— That the Parliament expresses concern over the steady decline of the Scottish manufacturing sector in that employment levels have now fallen to 235,000 in Scotland and three million across the United Kingdom; recognises the crucial importance that such secondary industry plays in our economy and our heritage, and calls on the Scottish Executive to develop a more effective manufacturing and public procurement policy that will underpin Scottish manufacturers and to encourage companies to have improved and more meaningful dialogue with workers before making employment decisions

Futures Through Music— That the Parliament welcomes the appointment by UK Government ministers of Undertones frontman and former chair of the UK Live Music Forum, Feargal Sharkey, to spearhead the setting up of a rehearsal studio network to encourage young musicians; notes that 43% of young people who want to participate in music are unable to do so due to lack of facilities and prohibitive costs; calls on the Scottish Executive to continue the work started by previous Scottish ministers in setting up initiatives such as the Scottish Music Futures Fund which was promoted by the Cross-Party Group on the Scottish Contemporary Music Industry, and congratulates the cross-party group for the extensive and valuable work it has done to promote the contribution of contemporary music to Scotland’s economy and for its Scottish Music Manifesto, published last year, detailing steps that could be taken to improve conditions for artists and to encourage new talent and increase the accessibility of live music for young people regardless of their background.

Suicide Prevention Week— That the Parliament praises Choose Life for its positive contribution in raising awareness of suicide in Scotland; notes the fall in suicide rates from 17.1% to 13.1% since the inception of Choose Life and that these are at their lowest since 1991, and supports the latest campaign to talk and listen as this is one of the most effective ways of suicide prevention.

ScottishPower Learning - 10 years of Working with the Prince's Trust Scotland— That the Parliament congratulates ScottishPower Learning on its delivery of the Prince’s Trust team programme over the last 10 years, helping over 1,000 disadvantaged young Scots through this highly effective personal development programme, culminating in the delivery of the 100th team programme, to be celebrated at the Falkirk Wheel on 2 August 2007, and acknowledges the considerable achievements of the voluntary and private sector in working together to tackle the issue of one in five young people in Scotland not being in education, employment or training.

Herald Group of Newspapers— That the Parliament views with concern recent developments within the Herald group of newspapers; notes that there has been a significant reduction in editorial staffing levels with further job cuts now proposed and that this has clear implications for the quality and content of publications and along with other health and safety concerns, for stress and staff health; notes that these developments are taking place despite increased profits and assurances given by Newsquest to the Competition Commission, and believes that this is to the detriment of the long term future of the titles and the Scottish newspaper industry.

Scotland are the World Schools Debating Champions— That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish team of Stuart Cullen from George Heriot’s School, Neil Dewar from the High School of Dundee, Netan Dogra from Grove Academy, Joanna Farmer from Robert Gordon’s College and Calum Jones from George Heriot’s School on winning the World Schools Debating Championship held in Seoul, South Korea on 11 July 2007, in a competition with teams from 40 countries, and hopes that this will encourage more of our schools to offer young people the opportunity to participate in debates.
 

June 2007

Scottish Spina Bifida Association Centre, Cumbernauld—That the Parliament acknowledges the vital work carried out by the Scottish Spina Bifida Association by providing the only specialist family support service for spina bifida and hydrocephalus in Scotland; welcomes the new family support centre in Cumbernauld which has allowed the association to expand its support services to best meet users’ needs by providing a relaxing environment for families to visit and training, recreation and support services; congratulates the association on the creation of a specialist telemedicine suite which is the first to be located outwith a hospital setting and which enables those with spina bifida and hydrocephalus to receive medical advice from health professionals based across the United Kingdom; recognises that Scotland has more live births with spina bifida per head of population than anywhere else in the UK, resulting in one pregnancy per week in Scotland being affected by spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus, and notes that taking folic acid supplements at the correct recommended dose could prevent over 75% of those pregnancies from being affected.

Women and Human Trafficking— That the Parliament expresses its continuing deep concern about the number of women who, falling victim to trafficking, are brought to Scotland and forced to work in our growing illegal sex trade; notes that more than 6,000 foreign women are already believed to be here through this route, many living a miserable existence as virtual prisoners of the criminal gangs who brought them to Scotland with promises of a new and better life, and calls on the Scottish Executive to work closely with the UK Government to ensure a well-resourced and co-ordinated inter-agency approach to ending sex slavery in Scotland and to provide to the women affected every possible chance to rescue themselves from those who would exploit them.

Welcome for the Cervical Cancer Vaccine— That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to recommend a new vaccination programme against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is responsible for around 70% of cases of cervical cancer; further welcomes the Scottish Executive’s proposals to introduce this vaccination for girls aged 12 to 13 by autumn 2008; notes with concern that almost 3,000 women are diagnosed with and 1,000 women die from cervical cancer in the United Kingdom each year; recognises the huge long-term benefits to be had though vaccination not only in reducing deaths but in also reducing the number of colposcopies, reducing the number of abnormal smears and reducing the number of people requiring treatment for genital warts; also recognises however that the vaccine will not prevent all cases of cervical cancer; therefore believes that the cervical cancer screening programme should be continued and that further action should be taken to increase the take-up of screening in more deprived areas, among ethnic minority groups and among women with learning difficulties; further believes that this will improve early detection and allow earlier treatment of this disease, and welcomes the work of charities such as Jo’s Trust, Cancerbackup and Cancer Research UK, among others, in supporting patients with cervical cancer and their families and in counselling the thousands more women who worry about their health following an abnormal smear result.

EU Ban on Cat and Dog Fur— That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the European Parliament to support a complete ban on the import, export and trade of cat and dog fur across all 27 member states; places on record its disgust at the practice of breeding cats and dogs for the purpose of killing them for their fur; hopes that, in conjunction with similar existing bans in the USA and Australia, this will signal the end of this abhorrent trade in the global market, and congratulates animal rights agencies and concerned European citizens who successfully lobbied the European Parliament on this issue.

Affordable Housing for All— That the Parliament reaffirms its commitment to making housing affordable for all; notes that, despite increases in funding over the last 10 years and limited reform of the right to buy, many families living in overcrowded accommodation are currently waiting years for suitable offers from social landlords; believes that there is a severe shortage of housing for social rent in some areas, such as in the west end of Glasgow and other high-demand areas where housing provision is driven by developers’ desire to provide only high-return accommodation, resulting in families and individuals being forced out of areas where they have a strong family or community connection; further notes that there are no legal requirements on local authorities or any other agencies to ensure a sustainable housing mix that would include affordable housing to both buy and rent, and calls on Scottish ministers to examine urgently affordable housing policy in order to ensure the availability of affordable homes in every part of Scotland.

Investment in Building Affordable Rented Homes— That the Parliament acknowledges the need for increased investment in building affordable rented homes; further acknowledges that the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review is the most significant opportunity to secure this funding, which is essential to achieve the Scottish Executive’s target that all unintentionally homeless people will have the right to a home by 2012, and recognises the case for committing the funding for 30,000 affordable homes for rent over the period 2008 to 2011.

RNID Report, Here to be Heard, on Information for Hearing Aid Users— That the Parliament notes the report, Here to be Heard, by Glasgow Caledonian University on behalf of RNID and, in particular, its key findings that only half of hearing aid users believed that they had received enough instruction on how to use their aids before being fitted and that three-quarters felt that this would have been useful; supports the empowerment of well-informed patients who can manage their own health needs, and believes that NHS Scotland should carry out a full evaluation on how the needs of new hearing aid users can best be met.

Baldragon Academy's Success— That the Parliament congratulates Baldragon Academy of Dundee on earning the chance to host BBC Radio Scotland’s SoundTown project and notes that pupils will acquire technical and presentational skills while operating a radio studio for the next 12 months, contributing directly to a number of BBC Radio Scotland broadcasts.

Congratulations to West Lothian Council— That the Parliament congratulates West Lothian Council on becoming the first council in Scotland and the only unitary authority in the United Kingdom to be awarded a corporate Charter Mark, awarded as the highest recognition for excellence in public services, and also congratulates the staff of West Lothian Council for their outstanding achievement secured through many years of hard work and developing best practice.

Congratulations to Lawside Academy—That the Parliament congratulates Lawside Academy on its success in the Scottish School Magazine of the Year Awards where its Breakout magazine won the award in the Best Online Presence category; wishes its editorial team and contributors every success should they consider journalism as a future career, and welcomes the support and sponsorship given to the competition by the Scottish Executive’s Strategy for Enterprise in Education, Determined to Succeed

Living Below The Radar— That the Parliament agrees that it is unacceptable that 90,000 children in Scotland are living in severe poverty, as identified in new research published by Save the Children, and calls on the Scottish Executive to commit to eradicating child poverty by 2020, target resources and invest in an action plan that prioritises the needs of the poorest children by supporting parents into and remaining in work, maximising benefit uptake and working in partnership with the UK Government to end child poverty.

Save the Land Reform Act and Restore the Will of Parliament—That the Parliament is concerned about the decision by Perth Sheriff Court to grant a declarator to Ann Gloag, owner of the Kinfauns Castle estate, which has the effect of denying the statutory right to roam over parts of the estate that was previously allowed under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003; notes that Perth and Kinross Council and the Ramblers Association opposed the declarator and gave evidence to the court that such a declarator would be contrary to the intention of the Act; believes that this decision undermines the clear will of the Parliament which legislated for the widest possible access to the countryside and that the court judgement ignores the significance of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code approved by MSPs to accompany and inform the operation of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, and considers that the judgement should be examined and appropriate action taken to give proper effect to the land reform legislation and, if necessary, to issue guidance to the courts on the status of the access code.

Right to Roam—That the Parliament notes the recent court ruling in favour of Ann Gloag, making her the first private individual in Scotland to exempt her land from right-to-roam legislation; considers this to be a regrettable decision that undermines the intention of The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, which was meant to enshrine right-to-roam laws and was one of the first flagship policies of the first term of the Parliament; notes that the legislation establishes a statutory right of responsible access to almost all land and water along with guidance on responsible behaviour for recreational users and land managers under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code; recognises the desire for people to enjoy and experience our beautiful countryside and landscape responsibly and respectfully, and calls on the Scottish Executive to honour this desire and undertake an immediate review of the legislation in light of this judgement in order to pre-empt similar challenges which would undermine the intention of the Parliament.

Barnardo’s Work in Dundee—That the Parliament congratulates Fight Against Child Exploitation (FACE) for winning an award for "Involvement of people who use services in any aspect of the organisation’s work" at the Care Accolades award ceremony on Friday 8 June 2007; notes that FACE was also awarded a special commendation in the category for "Innovative and/or imaginative training programme", and commends the work done by Barnardo’s and young people involved in raising awareness of the dangers of sexual exploitation, including production of the film, Nae Danger, which was piloted in schools in Dundee and Fife and which received "excellent" evaluations.

The Continued Detention of Aung San Suu Kyi— That the Parliament condemns the recent move on the part of the Burmese authorities to extend for a further 12 months the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and one of only two foreign nationals to be awarded the freedom of the City of Edinburgh, who has been under house arrest for most of the last 20 years; sends Aung San Suu Kyi best wishes on her 62nd birthday on Tuesday 19 June 2007, and commends the work of Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters across Scotland, including the Burma Subgroup of Amnesty International based at St Mark’s Unitarian Church in Edinburgh, in campaigning for her immediate release and the release of others like her who have sought to secure democracy and human rights in Burma by non-violent means.

Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland— That the Parliament notes the recent presentation of the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland; congratulates all those artists and theatre groups who won awards, and particularly recognises the achievement of the National Theatre of Scotland in winning four out of 10 awards presented for its much acclaimed production, “Black Watch”.

World Refugee Day 2007 - That the Parliament notes that Wednesday 20 June 2007 is the United Nations designated World Refugee Day when thousands of organisations in dozens of countries will come together to focus global attention, not only on the plight of refugees and the causes of their exile, but also on their determination, their will to survive and the contribution that they make to their host communities; acknowledges that Scotland has long offered support, understanding and sanctuary to those fleeing persecution; applauds the lead taken by Glasgow City Council in welcoming refugees and asylum seekers to Scotland and hopes that other local authorities will follow this positive example, and welcomes the programme of over 100 Refugee Week events across Scotland which aim to challenge ignorance, fear and negative stereotypes and highlight the benefits that refugees bring to their new communities in Scotland.

National Transplant Week—That the Parliament notes that National Transplant Week runs from 7 to 14 July 2007; recognises that there is a need to raise awareness of organ donation and the number of potential transplant recipients on waiting lists across Scotland and that many patients not only make a full recovery on receipt of a transplant but excel in their chosen sporting field; further notes that the 2007 British Transplant Games are taking place in Edinburgh from 26 to 29 July, and encourages politicians, community and business leaders and the public at large not only to support these games but also to sign themselves up to the organ donation register.

National Diabetes Week, 10 to 16 June 2007—That the Parliament welcomes the Small Change, Big Difference campaign being run by Diabetes UK Scotland for National Diabetes Week 2007; commends the tremendous support that Diabetes UK Scotland gives to the estimated 173,000 people in Scotland who are living with diabetes; notes that, in the Highlands alone, the number of people living with diabetes stands at 11,111 and this figure is predicted to rise to at least 13,000 by 2017, and therefore considers that the Scottish Diabetes Framework Action Plan should be delivered by 2009, as set out in the Diabetes UK Scotland Manifesto 2007.

Council of Economic Advisers Representation—That the Parliament supports the important role that constructive industrial relations plays in improving workplace productivity and competitiveness; welcomes the central role that trade unions in partnership with employers can play in ensuring world-class employment standards; recognises the strategic input of trade unions in economic matters in countries such as Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden; believes that trade unions bring expertise and balance to economic debate, and calls on the Scottish Executive to ensure there is a workplace perspective in the shape of trade union representation in the proposed council of economic advisers or any similar body advising government

Congratulations on Broughty Ferry's Blue Flag Award— That the Parliament congratulates Broughty Ferry on securing the coveted international Blue Flag for the condition of its beach, water quality and cleanliness for the third consecutive year; acknowledges the combined efforts of the community and Dundee City Council in this achievement, and notes with great satisfaction that the latest awards represent the best-ever results for Scotland in the scheme.  ( motion proposed by Marlyn )

Congratulations on Montrose's Blue Flag Award— That the Parliament congratulates Montrose on winning the coveted international Blue Flag for the condition of its beach, water quality and  cleanliness; acknowledges the work of the community and Angus Council towards achieving this distinction, and notes with great satisfaction that the latest awards represent the best-ever results for Scotland in the scheme. ( motion proposed by Marlyn )

Dementia Awareness Week 2007 - 4 to 8 June— That the Parliament acknowledges that Dementia Awareness Week takes place between 4 and 8 June 2007; welcomes representatives from Alzheimer Scotland to the Garden Lobby of the Parliament during that week where they will host an exhibition to raise awareness of the disease; is aware that in 2007 there are over 60,000 people in Scotland diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and that 1,350 to 1,650 of these people are under 65; notes with concern that with an ageing population this figure is set to increase and that Alzheimer Scotland predicts that by 2031 there will be approximately 102,000 to 114,000 people with dementia; recognises that there is a need for the Scottish Executive to take decisive action now to accommodate this increasingly vulnerable group in our society; welcomes the publication on 4 June 2007 of Alzheimer Scotland’s latest report, The Dementia Epidemic – Where Scotland is Now and the Challenge Ahead; notes that the report highlights the large and rapidly-growing number of people with dementia in Scotland and the economic impact that this has today and will have in the future; recognises that there are steps that everyone can take to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease; welcomes Alzheimer Scotland’s latest information campaign, Good for You, Good for Your Brain, which emphasises the small but significant lifestyle changes that people can make to reduce the risk, such as eating healthily, staying mentally and physically active and maintaining social networks; but accepts that it is the responsibility of government to implement strategies to better accommodate the needs of dementia sufferers and their families, and therefore calls on the Executive to increase funding for care services, both in the immediate and longer term, improve training in dementia care, restore the availability of drug treatments to people with mild Alzheimer’s disease and make dementia a national priority.

Tesco Distribution Depot Workers, Livingston— That the Parliament expresses its deep concern that drivers at the Tesco distribution plant, Livingston, have been threatened with dismissal unless they accept new terms and conditions under a plant relocation proposal; notes that the proposed new depot is to be located just 500 yards from the existing site; further notes that it is possible that drivers will lose up to £5000 from their annual incomes despite the supermarket giant recently announcing record annual profits of £2.5 billion; strongly supports the drivers’ unanimously approved industrial action to uphold their terms and conditions and the drivers’ union, Unite T&G Section, in its ongoing efforts to uphold the local agreement and reach a negotiated settlement; condemns Tesco’s attempts to break the strike through use of non-union and unaware migrant labour, and acknowledges that Tesco may be using the Livingston site to undermine the workforce’s terms and conditions and that failure to reach a mutual conclusion could result in prolonged national industrial action.

Carers Week 11 to 17 June - Carers’ Rights Guide—That the Parliament notes the publication by Carers Scotland, as part of Carers Week from 11 to 17 June 2007, of Carers and their Rights: A Guide to the Law Relating to Carers; further notes that Carers Week is a week of awareness raising and activities to reach hidden carers; recognises the vital role that Scotland’s 600,000 unpaid carers play in providing support and care to disabled and older people in the community; supports the need to invest resources to support carers; recognises the endeavours of Carers Scotland in producing this guide to ensure that, in this year of equal opportunities for all, carers have effective information about their rights and opportunities to take part in work, education and leisure, and recognises the work of Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Carers Centre in providing immense support to over 22,000 carers in Falkirk East, Falkirk West and Ochil.

Cumbernauld's 50th Anniversary— That the Parliament congratulates Cumbernauld on its 50th anniversary; notes that the new town was established in 1957 as a population overspill for Glasgow; notes that Cumbernauld now boasts a population of approximately 52,000 people, making it the eighth largest town in Scotland; recognises the commitment of ordinary people who moved into this budding community, and thanks all individuals, groups and organisations who have fostered the strong community which exists in Cumbernauld today.
Congratulations to Adi Roche—That the Parliament congratulates Adi Roche who was recently honoured with the Burns Humanitarian Award for outstanding humanitarian efforts; recognises the work that Adi Roche and the Chernobyl Children’s Project International, which she established, have undertaken to work with children and families affected by the Chernobyl disaster, and supports the Burns Humanitarian Award in preserving and promoting the compassionate, international view of the world symbolised by the work and values of Robert Burns.

 

May 2007

Congratulations to Dundee's Grove Academy— That the Parliament congratulates Dundee’s Grove Academy on its recent success in winning the English-Speaking Union Schools Mace; acknowledges that this is the first time a Scottish state school has won the prestigious event; hopes that this is the first of many victories for the school, and wishes it every success in the future ( motion proposed by Marlyn )

Recognising Success in the Voluntary Sector—That the Parliament congratulates CVS Fife and Adam Smith College on being awarded the Partnership Award at the inaugural annual Third Force News (TFN) Charity Awards; recognises their huge contribution to the voluntary sector in Fife through the promotion of a programme of free training; notes their successful partnership with local public and private sector organisations to achieve this and believes that they should be supported in building on this excellent work in the future; further recognises that the awards highlight the significant contribution that the voluntary sector makes to Scottish society, and believes that the sector should receive continued support and investment.

Aberdeen Shortlisted to be Hub of UK Energy Technologies Institute— That the Parliament welcomes the announcement that Aberdeen has been shortlisted under the Scottish consortium bid to host the hub of the proposed UK Energy Technologies Institute; congratulates local agencies and academic institutions on working together to make the case for Aberdeen; believes that, as the energy capital of Europe and home to over 900 energy-based companies, Aberdeen is the natural choice for the hub; notes that Aberdeen’s bid is supported by CBI Scotland and Oil and Gas UK; notes that the Scottish Executive’s own Intermediary Technology Institute for Energy is already based in the city; further notes the work of the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group in developing and promoting renewable energy technology, and calls on the Executive to promote Aberdeen as its preferred location for the hub.

Breastfeeding Awareness Week, 13 to 19 May 2007— That the Parliament welcomes National Breastfeeding Awareness Week from 13 to 19 May 2007; notes that this is an annual event to raise awareness among all sectors of the importance of breastfeeding and this year includes the launch at Westminster on 16 May of a breastfeeding manifesto by a coalition of non-governmental organisations; expresses concern at the small decrease in breastfeeding rates in Scotland over the past year; notes that the post of National Breastfeeding Advisor has been vacant for more than a year; believes that more information and assistance is required, including better publicising of the Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act 2005, and considers that the Scottish Executive should do more to support, promote and encourage breastfeeding.
 

 

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