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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Meeting of the Parliament 01 April 2020

Agenda: Point of Order, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill (Emergency Bill), Business Motions, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Deputy Presiding Officer, Scottish Government Legislation Programme, Covid-19 (Social Security), Covid-19, Business Motion, Committee of the Whole Parliament, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Stage 2, Meeting of the Parliament, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time


Decision Time

The first question is, that motion S5M-21368, in the name of Graeme Dey, on approval of a Scottish statutory instrument, be agreed to.

Motion agreed to,

That the Parliament agrees that the Public Appointments and Public Bodies etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 (Treatment of Non-executive Directors of the Scottish National Investment Bank p.l.c. as Specified Authorities) Order 2020 [draft] be approved.

I propose to ask a single question on the five Parliamentary Bureau motions, if no member objects. The question is, that motions S5M-21372 to S5M-21375 and S5M-21380 be agreed to.

Motions agreed to,

That the Parliament agrees that the Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 [draft] be approved.

That the Parliament agrees that the Scottish Landfill Tax (Standard Rate and Lower Rate) Order 2020 (SSI 2020/105) be approved.

That the Parliament agrees that the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (SSI 2020/103) be approved.

That the Parliament agrees that the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Modification No.2) Amendment Order 2020 [draft] be approved

That the Parliament agrees that the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 (SSI 2020/106) be approved.

I am conscious of members’ forbearance throughout this long day but, before we conclude, I want to say a few words about the importance of maintaining our democracy in the face of the public health crisis.

I assure members and, indeed, the wider public that the Parliament is exploring, with colleagues from all parties, every avenue to determine how members in the chamber and committees can continue to undertake their crucial scrutiny role at this unprecedented time. The Parliamentary Bureau and the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body have been meeting online and the Conveners Group has been discussing issues remotely, and they will continue to do so over the recess to look at the most effective options for the chamber and committees.

The Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans assured the bureau earlier, and I am sure that many members will have heard the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, Mr Russell, indicate at the end of the stage 2 amendment period for the emergency bill, that the Government is looking again at how members’ written questions can be answered as promptly as possible over this period and at further steps that ministers might take to adapt to the current circumstances. I trust that the Government will use all the methods that are available to inform the Parliament of key decisions and activities to full effect during this time, including writing to committees and Government-initiated questions.

I know that we all recognise the need for the Parliament to continue to be able to hold the Government to account. I also draw members’ attention to the service that the Scottish Parliament information centre provides. It provides an authoritative, accurate and up-to-date source of information on all matters to do with coronavirus. I am very grateful to colleagues for their assistance.

I do not want to cast a pall over members, but I have powers of recall, should they be required. We are keeping the situation under daily review, and I hope that I can assure you that we will be prepared to respond however the situation resolves.

On that note, I close the meeting. We will meet again on Tuesday 21 April.

Meeting closed at 20:01.