Schedule 3 — Scottish Water: Status, Constitution, Proceedings etc

Water Industry (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:31 pm on 14th February 2002.

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Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party 3:31 pm, 14th February 2002

Amendment 94 is grouped with amendments 109, 37, 37A, 38 and 39. If amendment 94 is agreed to, amendment 109 is pre-empted.

I remind members that they only have 19 minutes left for the debate.

Photo of Bruce Crawford Bruce Crawford Scottish National Party

The purpose of amendment 94 is twofold. First, it seeks to ensure that circumstances cannot arise where the executive board members will outnumber non-executive board members. Secondly, it seeks to ensure that the democratic legitimacy of local authority councillors is properly recognised in the formation of the board of Scottish Water.

For a long time, the Scottish Executive has been talking about investing local authorities with community planning powers. In effect, that acknowledges the democratic legitimacy of councillors by providing them with the powers of community leadership. It rightly acknowledges that councillors and local authorities have a crucial role in drawing together the various public bodies that serve their communities to deliver a strategic overview of how to secure a better quality of life for their citizens.

If the Executive is serious in its intent to provide councils with community planning powers, it has nothing to fear from amendment 94 and everything to gain. Involving councillors on the board of Scottish Water would be complementary to the community planning powers and show the Executive's commitment to councils.

More than any other public representatives, councillors are in a position to understand the tensions between the need to provide a strategic infrastructure and the capacity of the public purse to deliver that. That is why, through the structure planning process, councillors are required to draw together the needs of housing, economic growth and other important issues. Councillors are uniquely placed to acknowledge that Scottish Water and the other services that will deliver will be key in deciding whether Scotland's diverse communities will be economically sustainable. Councillors have the background, skills and knowledge to add strength to the board.

As to the red herrings that were raised at stage 2 about how to get councillors on to the board of Scottish Water, if the relationship between the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Executive is not mature enough to deal with that, it is a sad day. We should be taking councillors on board. They are experienced, they know about environmental pressures and, in many cases, they are used to dealing with multimillion-pound public sector organisations.

I move amendment 94.

Photo of John Scott John Scott Conservative

Amendment 109 seeks to do in an uncomplicated way what all parties are now agreed on, namely, to ensure that there will always be a majority of non-executive members on the board of Scottish Water. The Executive's amendment 37, which proposes that there will always be a majority of two non-executive directors, is unnecessary and will lead to a larger board than is necessary. Indeed, perhaps it will lead to the emergence of a representational board when the need is for a knowledgeable, small, fleet-of-foot group of people to take the company forward. Amendment 109 would provide for six rather than five non-executive directors, as I believe that there will always be a need for five executive directors, and therefore one can with confidence suggest a minimum of six non-executive directors to achieve our common goal.

It was with that in mind that I lodged amendment 37A, which seeks to amend the Executive's amendment 37. Amendment 37A aims to reduce from two to one the number by which non-executive directors must exceed executive directors on the board.

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

On the numbers of executive and non-executive members of the board of Scottish Water, I am bound to say that amendment 37 is much clearer than John Scott's amendment 37A. I hope that Parliament will support amendment 37 and reject amendment 37A.

On Bruce Crawford's comments, we have made it clear throughout that the proposed board structure of Scottish Water reflects a more business-like approach. The board's non-executive members should be selected on their ability to lead a large-scale public utility business in the interest of its customers, and not as political representatives. Amendment 94 is therefore unacceptable.

We agreed that there should be an additional member of the board to represent the interests of employees. Amendment 38 provides for ministers to move to that position. Because we do not wish the actings of the board—should this bill be passed today and given assent—to be invalid as a consequence of the absence of appointment of the individual to represent the interests of employees, amendment 39 establishes that the absence of that appointment, which will be put in process, will not have any impact.

I commend amendments 38 and 39 and reiterate the unacceptability of amendments 94, 109 and 37A.

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The question is, that amendment 94 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 24

For: Adam, Brian, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Elder, Dorothy-Grace, Fabiani, Linda, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Ms Margo, Marwick, Tricia, Matheson, Michael, McLeod, Fiona, Morgan, Alasdair, Neil, Alex, Paterson, Mr Gil, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Robison, Shona, Sheridan, Tommy, Stevenson, Stewart, Sturgeon, Nicola, Welsh, Mr Andrew, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Davidson, Mr David, Deacon, Susan, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Finnie, Ross, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Gallie, Phil, Godman, Trish, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Gorrie, Donald, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Harding, Mr Keith, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLeish, Henry, McLetchie, David, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Mundell, David, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Scott, Tavish, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Thomson, Elaine, Tosh, Mr Murray, Wallace, Ben, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan, Young, John
Abstentions: Harper, Robin

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The result of the division is: For 27, Against 81, Abstentions 1.

Amendment 94 disagreed to.

Amendment 109 moved—[John Scott].

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The question is, that amendment 109 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 25

For: Aitken, Bill, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Gallie, Phil, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Harding, Mr Keith, Johnstone, Alex, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLetchie, David, Mundell, David, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Tosh, Mr Murray, Wallace, Ben, Young, John
Against: Adam, Brian, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Elder, Dorothy-Grace, Fabiani, Linda, Finnie, Ross, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lochhead, Richard, Lyon, George, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, MacDonald, Ms Margo, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Matheson, Michael, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McLeod, Fiona, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morgan, Alasdair, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Neil, Alex, Oldfather, Irene, Paterson, Mr Gil, Peattie, Cathy, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robison, Shona, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scott, Tavish, Sheridan, Tommy, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stevenson, Stewart, Sturgeon, Nicola, Thomson, Elaine, Ullrich, Kay, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Welsh, Mr Andrew, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan, Wilson, Andrew

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The result of the division is: For 15, Against 91, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 109 disagreed to.

Amendment 37 moved—[Ross Finnie]—and agreed to.

Amendment 37A not moved.

Amendment 38 moved—[Ross Finnie]—and agreed to.

Amendment 95 moved—[Bruce Crawford].

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The question is, that amendment 95 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 26

For: Adam, Brian, Aitken, Bill, Canavan, Dennis, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Elder, Dorothy-Grace, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Fabiani, Linda, Gallie, Phil, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harding, Mr Keith, Harper, Robin, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Johnstone, Alex, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Ms Margo, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Matheson, Michael, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLeod, Fiona, McLetchie, David, Morgan, Alasdair, Mundell, David, Neil, Alex, Paterson, Mr Gil, Quinan, Mr Lloyd, Robison, Shona, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Sheridan, Tommy, Stevenson, Stewart, Sturgeon, Nicola, Tosh, Mr Murray, Ullrich, Kay, Wallace, Ben, Welsh, Mr Andrew, Wilson, Andrew, Young, John
Against: Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Ferguson, Patricia, Finnie, Ross, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McLeish, Henry, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scott, Tavish, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Thomson, Elaine, Wallace, Mr Jim, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The result of the division is: For 45, Against 62, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 95 disagreed to.

Amendment 39 moved—[Ross Finnie]—and agreed to.

Amendment 111 not moved.