Section 67 — Fees

Part of Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:15 am on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Elaine Murray Elaine Murray Labour 10:15 am, 8th March 2007

I was going to talk about that later. I am considering amendment 36 at the moment. It falls into the trap of treating all voluntary sector organisations as identical. As many members, including Ms Hyslop, have said during the debate, they are not all the same. I therefore prefer the approach in the amendment 14, which will allow the circumstances in which fees are payable to be considered, and allow a more flexible approach to the different types of organisations in the voluntary sector.

I want to comment on the idea that increases in fees should come back under the affirmative procedure. Like Ken Macintosh and Iain Smith, I feel that that is a disproportionate response. It is not necessary for every inflationary increase in fees to have to go through the affirmative procedure. Members have referred to future ministers being members of the "flat earth party". I wonder whether the same members feel that future Education Committee members will be devoid of brains, because I am sure that if a negative instrument that proposes a huge increase in fees for the voluntary sector comes before the committee, someone on the committee will notice that and comment on it. The shadow Secretary of State for Scotland has described some of his colleagues as "clueless". Perhaps that is being reflected in concerns about the composition of the future Education Committee.

The voluntary sector had serious concerns about how the bill as introduced would affect the sector. Those concerns have been addressed adequately, so amendments 36 and 37 are not necessary. I commend amendment 14 as the appropriate way forward.