Section 7 — Power to modify section 33 of the 1987 Act

Homelessness etc (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:15 pm on 5th March 2003.

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Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party 3:15 pm, 5th March 2003

Group 7 is on parliamentary procedure relating to orders to modify section 33 of the 1987 act. Amendment 3 is in a group on its own.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour

Amendment 3 is a technical amendment and will provide a choice of parliamentary procedure—either negative or affirmative—when an order is made that affects the application of the local connection provisions in the 1987 act. The amendment reflects the flexible way in which the provisions may be applied, depending on circumstances. In some cases, the exercise of the power will have an important and significant effect, for instance when local connection is suspended in relation to every authority or specific individual authorities for a significant period. However, on other occasions, the effect will be temporary and localised. For example, it might be considered appropriate for the exercise of local connection to be suspended in relation to one local authority for a limited period of six months. Amendment 3 will ensure that full parliamentary scrutiny will be given when required, but not when it is unnecessary.

I move amendment 3.

Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party 3:30 pm, 5th March 2003

We have concerns about amendment 3. In our view, if amendment 3 is passed, ministers will have the right to impose secondary legislation in an important area of public policy rather than having it approved by Parliament. In the stage 2 debate, Des McNulty made the point that the Subordinate Legislation Committee had recommended an affirmative statutory instrument rather than a negative one. Mr McNulty said:

"The Subordinate Legislation Committee's recommendations at stage 1 form the basis for the provisions of amendment 17. That committee expressed concerns that the appropriate subordinate power should be used."—[Official Report, Social Justice Committee, 15 January 2003; c 3357.]

Amendment 17 was the amendment that brought in the use of the statutory instrument. It was an Executive amendment following the recommendations of the Subordinate Legislation Committee. Having used the committee recommendation as a bolster to get that amendment agreed to at stage 2, the Executive now wants to run counter to the arguments of the committee in forcing through this amendment. I therefore ask all colleagues to oppose it.

Photo of Margaret Curran Margaret Curran Labour

I hear what Kenny Gibson has said and I am aware of the discussions that took place at stage 2. I assure the Parliament that the affirmative instrument will be used for the major issues. The negative instrument is for only the very technical issues. We have been advised carefully that that is the appropriate procedure in this context. We must have some degree of common sense in applying the power. It would not be appropriate for minor, technical issues to undergo major consideration. I guarantee to the Parliament that all major changes will be made through the affirmative procedure.

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The question is, that amendment 3 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 8

For: Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Deacon, Susan, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Finnie, Ross, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Gorrie, Donald, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Harding, Mr Keith, Harper, Robin, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, MacDonald, Margo, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLeish, Henry, McMahon, Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Monteith, Mr Brian, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Munro, John Farquhar, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stone, Mr Jamie, Thomson, Elaine, Wallace, Mr Jim, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan
Against: Adam, Brian, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Fabiani, Linda, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Grahame, Christine, Hyslop, Fiona, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Matheson, Michael, McGugan, Irene, McLeod, Fiona, Mundell, David, Neil, Alex, Paterson, Mr Gil, Robison, Shona, Sheridan, Tommy, Stevenson, Stewart, Swinney, Mr John, Tosh, Mr Murray, Ullrich, Kay, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The result of the division is: For 67, Against 25, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 3 agreed to.