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Transport (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th October 2019.

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Photo of Jamie Greene Jamie Greene Conservative

I appreciate the cabinet secretary’s comments. Where there is disagreement or, perhaps, confusion as to the effect of amendments, I am keen to ensure that we do not amend the bill in a way that leads to unintended consequences.

My interpretation of the drafting of my amendments is that they remove Scottish ministers’ ability to overrule a decision by a local authority to revoke. My understanding of the cabinet secretary’s response is that he would like to retain the power to overrule, but I do not think that he has given a sensible argument for why he would like to retain that power.

As I have said, it is important that the local authority concerned goes through due process in coming to an arrangement. However, once it has done that, it should be for the local authority, which is, ultimately, financially responsible for operating the scheme, to take the decision to close it down. We could end up in a scenario in which the Government says no to the revocation of a scheme that has perhaps proven to be financially onerous for the local authority, which may have struggled to meet the zone’s operational costs. The minister could still say that that does not fit in with the national objectives, so the zone will have to be kept. I do not want local authorities to be in that scenario. That was the premise behind my proposal.