The Scottish Executive has reviewed and tested the legal advice and we have concluded that the rule of 85 has to be removed to be consistent with European Council directive 2000/78/EC. We are in discussions with trade unions, people who are employed in local government and other people who are covered by the scheme, because we recognise that its removal creates an anomaly.
The minister will be aware—because he took part in it—that we had a constructive debate on the matter last week in Parliament. In the interests of ensuring that the debate can continue, is the minister prepared to publish the legal advice to which he referred, which somehow undermines what is, in my opinion, pretty persuasive legal advice that is contrary to the position that he has outlined? Its publication would enable us properly to scrutinise the advice on the basis of which the Executive is operating, and would ensure that individuals who are involved in the negotiations with the Executive have confidence in the quality of information upon which ministers have made their decisions.
The member will be aware that it is in the nature of such matters that different legal opinions can be procured by different individuals. The Scottish Executive has done all that it can to ensure that the legal advice that is available to us is robust. We have tested the legal advice, and it remains consistent.
Although we have made available to the trade unions and employers a summary of the legal