The text of Scottish Parliament members' motions supported by Rhoda
Blackhillock to Kintore Transmission Line
That the Parliament notes the concern that has been expressed by communities in proximity to Scottish and Southern Electricity Network’s proposed Blackhillock to Kintore transmission reinforcement regarding the development’s potential visual impact; understands that the National Assembly for Wales unanimously passed a motion on 18 January 2017 endorsing the use of underground cables and alternatives to pylons where feasible, with a view to minimising the visual impact of such infrastructure; reiterates what it sees as the need for effective community consultation and the importance of incorporating feedback as a means for addressing such concerns; believes that the outstanding natural beauty of this countryside, for example the area around Bennachie, must be protected, and notes what it considers are the communities’ urgent calls for the existing plans to be the subject of substantial change and mitigation action in order for this to be achieved.
Joint Statement on Just Transition
That the Parliament welcomes the Joint Statement on Just Transition, which has been supported by Friends of the Earth Scotland, the STUC, Unite Scotland, UNISON Scotland, Public and Commercial Services Union Scotland, Communication Workers Union Scotland, University and College Union Scotland and WWF Scotland; believes that close co-operation between the environmental and trade union movements is essential to securing social, economic and environmental justice; agrees with the signatories that Scotland requires a just transition, which is a planned shift to a modern low-carbon economy that "protects workers’ livelihoods, creates a new industrial base and delivers a fairer Scotland", and calls on the Scottish Government to maximise what it sees as the opportunities afforded by the development of Scotland’s energy strategy and the climate change plan and bill to deliver a just transition.
Opposition to Cuts to North Lanarkshire Council
That the Parliament understands that North Lanarkshire Council has been subjected to £34 million of cuts; believes these cuts to be grossly unfair and an outright attack on jobs, workers and communities across North Lanarkshire; understands that public services are already under significant pressure; congratulates Unite the Union, UCATT, Unison, the GMB and the wider trade union movement on organising a series of public protests; condemns the SNP administration’s decision to pass these cuts onto communities, and calls on the Scottish Government to halt the cuts to local authorities and protect local public services.
NPD Funding : Call for an Inquiry
That the Parliament welcomes the work by The Guardian newspaper and The Ferret online investigative journalism site, and the news that Audit Scotland and the Accounts Commission are to investigate the Scottish Government’s non-profit distribution (NPD) model of financing public infrastructure projects; understands that an error made by the Scottish Government in interpreting EU rules has resulted in £932 million of expenditure that will now have to found from its own borrowing; considers that NPD projects are very poor value for money with, for example, the new Dumfries Hospital earning investors £100 million in interest on borrowing of £218 million, with loan rates of up to 11.3% being charged by private lenders as opposed to a public works loan board rate of 1.6%; understands that, under some of these contracts, public sector staff are seeing their jobs taken out of, for example, the NHS and transferred to the private sector with no TUPE protection, and that maintenance services at sites such as the new Royal Edinburgh Hospital will see charges levied by private contractors, which are triple the rate currently paid; believes that these projects are bad for taxpayers and bad for workers, and encourages the Parliament, through its committees, to hold an inquiry into the NPD model of financing public services.
The text of Scottish Parliament motions lodged by Rhoda
HIE Board to be Disbanded
That the Parliament condemns the Scottish Government for disbanding the board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE); believes that this decision will be deeply damaging to communities throughout the Highlands and Islands; further believes that there will be no local Highlands and Islands focus on the overarching board but instead there will be top-down centralised control; deplores the removal of any associated jobs from the Highlands and Islands, and notes calls for the Scottish Government to reverse what it considers to be one of the most retrograde steps in the history of the Highlands and Islands.
That the Parliament welcomes the agreement by the Rio Tinto aluminium smelter to sell its assets in Lochaber to SIMEC, with the intention that it will be operated by the Liberty House Group, SIMEC's sister company within the international GFG Alliance; also welcomes the announcement that it increases the chance of the site having a viable, long-term future and that, subject to all necessary agreed processes, the deal implemented will safeguard 150 jobs; notes that the sale is subject to certain conditions and consultation with employees and is expected to close in mid-December 2016, and congratulates Highlands and Islands Enterprise on its role in helping to close the deal.
As an amendment to motion S5M-02686 in the name of Humza Yousaf (Supporting and Strengthening Scotland's Island Communities), insert at end "; recognises that more must be done to address issues that can lead to depopulation, including fuel poverty, high living costs and poor access to essential services, which disproportionately have an impact on the islands; believes that island communities should be involved in decision-making with regard to transport links and that there should be full and meaningful consultation with local people and businesses, for example, communities in Arran and Ardrossan must be involved in any changes to their ferry services, and further believes that powers being removed from local government will impact disproportionately on islands and their ability to make decisions and that the disempowering of Highlands and Islands Enterprise will impact on home-grown solutions to boost islands’ economies