Results 1861–1880 of 2037 for speaker:George Lyon

Scottish Parliament: Accountability and Governance (20 Dec 2006)

George Lyon: This has been a good debate. It might be on a dull but worthy subject, but there have been a lot of good contributions from across the chamber. As Mr Swinney clearly outlined at the start of the debate, the issues are quite difficult. The committee wrestled with the apparent contradiction between the independence of commissioners and the need for them to be accountable for how they spend...

Scottish Parliament: Accountability and Governance (20 Dec 2006)

George Lyon: There is an onus on everyone to comply with legislation that the Parliament has passed, but there will always be matters on which individuals or organisations feel that they have legislative cover for withholding information, and it is up to the Scottish information commissioner to come to a view on those. Concerns have been raised about the length of time it takes the Scottish public...

Scottish Parliament: Accountability and Governance (20 Dec 2006)

George Lyon: In that case, Mr Neil might wait a long time. Mark Ballard legitimately argued his concern that, by scrutinising a commissioner's budget, we could stray into compromising their operational independence. The point is valid and worth making, but someone must make a decision about what the budget is. That requires judgment, and committees of the Parliament have a good role to play in that...

Scottish Parliament: Budget Process 2007-08 (21 Dec 2006)

George Lyon: rose—

Scottish Parliament: Budget Process 2007-08 (21 Dec 2006)

George Lyon: Will the member give way?

Scottish Parliament: Budget Process 2007-08 (21 Dec 2006)

George Lyon: Despite the fact that some would say that this was a dry and dusty subject, I think that there have been some excellent speeches. At the end of the day, the budget of the Executive underpins many of the improvements that people have seen in the condition and management of Scotland's public services since 1999 because of the priorities that we have set. Wendy Alexander highlighted the three...

Scottish Parliament: Budget Process 2007-08 (21 Dec 2006)

George Lyon: The Government seeks to improve the process at all times, but I welcome the Auditor General's report, which states: "Our review has found a wide body of evidence to suggest that the initiative is progressing and that it is delivering efficiencies that would not otherwise have been achieved." The Auditor General recognises that we have made significant progress and that we are delivering...

Scottish Parliament: Budget Process 2007-08 (21 Dec 2006)

George Lyon: We accept that there are criticisms in the report and we are committed to improving the process as time goes on. The Howat report was mentioned a couple of times in the debate. I am pleased to state once again that the Executive intends to publish the Howat report when the spending review process has been completed. Of course, it is not binding on any future Administration. Mr Brownlee was...

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: I know that Mr Swinney's party is fond of quoting Professor Arthur Midwinter—who advises the Finance Committee and is a respected gentleman—in its alternative document to GERS. Perhaps, he can therefore explain why, in the SNP's document, identified defence expenditure has suddenly dropped by nearly £700 million from the July figure. He could also comment on Professor Midwinter's...

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: rose—

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: The problem with the SNP's proposition is that the SNP wants the spending levels of Sweden and the tax levels of Ireland.

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: Will the member give way?

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: It would be helpful if the member explained which country he would emulate in setting tax rates for an independent Scotland. He mentioned many countries when he talked about economic growth. Would he apply the tax levels that apply in Ireland, Norway, Sweden or New Zealand? Let him indicate which.

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: The only document that is as discredited and moribund as Mr Morgan described is the document by Mr Stewart Hosie that I am holding up. Professor Arthur Midwinter certainly concludes that that is the case. The debate has focused on the Executive's track record of improving Scotland's public services and on the SNP's spending plans. Over the past seven years, this Liberal-Labour coalition has...

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: The only proposal that Nicol Stephen has made is to cut business rates in Scotland. We argued vociferously for that to happen before Christmas but, unfortunately, we did not win the argument. We pledge to do it post-May 2007, if we are involved in the Administration. We in the coalition Government remain firmly committed to building on our successful track record. As my colleague Mr McCabe...

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: Let us contrast our track record with the main Opposition party's spending plans, which have been debated at length today. The nationalists wish to be taken seriously as an alternative Government in waiting, but their spending and fiscal plans are fundamentally flawed; their sums just do not add up. Indeed, as they have tried to do again in the chamber today, they would have us believe that...

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: Certainly. Perhaps Mr Mather will tell the chamber whether the SNP's document is a forecast or a comparison with 2004-05, as he seemed to indicate in his speech.

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: Since Nicol Stephen became the Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, I am happy that we have seen sustained improvement in our economic growth over the past eight quarters. The SNP's spending plans have come in for the most scrutiny over the course of the debate. As he has done in the chamber on many occasions, Jim Mather restated that the SNP will cut corporation tax, to the Irish...

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: There is an acknowledgement in the paper that there needs to be some caution around those figures. However, the figures are the best available to independent statisticians. By way of comparison, the independent experts including Mr Midwinter have described the SNP document—which purports to be an alternative forecast—as flawed. Indeed, the SNP has been unable to explain why, between July...

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Public Services (10 Jan 2007)

George Lyon: I am sorry, but Mr Swinney did not. He accepted the original proposition. People will come to the conclusion that the SNP's position suddenly changed in December because it had to fill the gap that was created by the decrease in oil prices. That was the only reason for the change of approach. The question that has been posed during the debate is not only how the nationalists can close the...


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