Section 1 — Discharge of debtor

Bankruptcy and Diligence etc (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 9:15 am on 30th November 2006.

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Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour 9:15 am, 30th November 2006

Group 1 is on the bankruptcy discharge period. Amendment 12, in the name of the minister, is the only amendment in the group.

Photo of Allan Wilson Allan Wilson Labour

I seek members' approval for amendment 12, which will update section 1(2). The Enterprise and Culture Committee and the Subordinate Legislation Committee agreed that the period of time for which a sequestration should last should be changed only in the primary legislation. At stage 2, amendment 90 removed the reference to the affirmative procedure for changing the discharge period. Amendment 12 will remove the power itself.

I move amendment 12.

Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

As the minister said, amendment 12 will remove the ministerial power to vary the bankruptcy period, which the bill will reduce from three years to one year. It would be unusual for Conservative members to oppose measures to restrict ministerial powers, but we make an exception in this case.

The central policy intent behind the bankruptcy part of the bill is to reduce the bankruptcy period from three years to one year, but the case for doing so has not yet been proven. The Enterprise and Culture Committee received no convincing evidence as to why that policy intent should be followed through in legislation. Indeed, the only reason that seems to have been given for the proposal is that it will bring the legislation into line with the legislation down south. That is an insufficient policy reason to convince us that the proposal is the right way to proceed. Since a similar change was introduced south of the border, the number of personal bankruptcies has surged.

I do not know whether one year is the correct bankruptcy period, but it might be useful to have available to ministers a subordinate legislation power to increase the period from one year to two years, three years or whatever, in the light of experience, without members having to come back to the chamber to pass primary legislation.

We oppose amendment 12.

Photo of Allan Wilson Allan Wilson Labour

I reaffirm that my proposal has the support of the Enterprise and Culture Committee and the Subordinate Legislation Committee and that we have agreed that the proposed process is the proper one by which the Parliament should return to matters in future if there is a requirement to do so. I argue that such a requirement will not arise in any event.

Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour

The question is, that amendment 12 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour

There will be a division.

As this is the first vote, I suspend the meeting for five minutes while the division bell is rung.

Meeting suspended.

On resuming—

Division number 1

For: Adam, Brian, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Arbuckle, Mr Andrew, Baillie, Jackie, Baird, Shiona, Baker, Richard, Ballance, Chris, Ballard, Mark, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Crawford, Bruce, Curran, Ms Margaret, Eadie, Helen, Finnie, Ross, Gibson, Rob, Glen, Marlyn, Gorrie, Donald, Grahame, Christine, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, John, Hughes, Janis, Hyslop, Fiona, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lochhead, Richard, Lyon, George, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Mather, Jim, Matheson, Michael, Maxwell, Mr Stewart, May, Christine, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McMahon, Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Morgan, Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peattie, Cathy, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Radcliffe, Nora, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mike, Ruskell, Mr Mark, Scott, Eleanor, Scott, Tavish, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stevenson, Stewart, Stone, Mr Jamie, Swinburne, John, Swinney, Mr John, Wallace, Mr Jim, Wilson, Allan
Against: Aitken, Bill, Brocklebank, Mr Ted, Brownlee, Derek, Davidson, Mr David, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Fergusson, Alex, Fraser, Murdo, Johnstone, Alex, McGrigor, Mr Jamie, Milne, Mrs Nanette, Petrie, Dave, Scott, John

Photo of Trish Godman Trish Godman Labour

The result of the division is: For 77, Against 12, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 12 agreed to.