While the UK Tory Government’s domestic agenda has ground to a halt, Holyrood has passed a host of legislation over the past two months to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country.
The Scottish Parliament has passed nine SNP Government Bills over the last two months, including new measures to promote economic development, justice reforms and action on fuel poverty.
In contrast, Westminster has been consumed by Brexit infighting and a Tory leadership election running down the clock towards a No Deal Brexit, with no meaningful legislation in the pipeline and no Queen’s Speech since 2017.
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“The SNP Government is determined to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country and is taking the action needed to improve people’s lives.
“In the past two months alone, we have passed a vast range of new laws – from the Human Tissue (Authorisation), which introduces a ‘soft’ opt-out system of organ and tissue donation, to the Fuel Poverty Bill, which sets a new statutory fuel poverty target to tackle fuel poverty and to improve energy efficiency in Scottish homes, to the reform of our justice system through the Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill, the Vulnerable Witnesses & Pre-Recorded Evidence and the Management of Offenders, we are constantly working towards making Scotland a better place to live.
“That’s in stark contrast to Westminster, where the UK government has abandoned any pretence of a domestic agenda and descended into Brexit farce and Tory circus. The SNP Government has achieved more in the past two months than Westminster has achieved in the past two years of Brexit negotiations.”
The full list of bills passed by the Scottish Parliament from 02 May to 25 June 2019 can be viewed below.
Health and Care (Staffing)
Passed 2 May 2019
The Health and Care (Staffing) Bill will deliver on the commitment to enshrine in law the principles of safe staffing in the NHS, starting with nursing and midwifery workforce planning. The Bill will ensure nationally agreed, evidence-based workload and workforce planning is applied and that key principles relating to professional judgement, local context and quality measures underpin workload and workforce planning.
Age of Criminal Responsibility
Passed 7 May 2019
This Bill will increase the age from which a child can be held criminally responsible from 8 to 12 years old; aligning it with the current minimum age of prosecution and reflecting Scotland’s commitment to international human rights standards. It will ensure harmful behaviours can still be investigated and responded to, contain appropriate safeguards for the gravest cases, and retain victims’ rights to information and support.
Vulnerable Witnesses & Pre-Recorded Evidence
Passed 9 May 2019
The Bill will build on the work of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service’s ‘Evidence and Procedure Review’. It will remove legislative barriers to the greater use of pre-recorded evidence for child and vulnerable adult witnesses. These changes will help move our criminal justice system much closer to achieving our vision that children, wherever possible, should not have to give evidence in court during a criminal trial.
South of Scotland Enterprise Agency
Passed 5 June 2019
Following on from the Enterprise and Skills Review, this Bill will establish a new enterprise agency for the South of Scotland, to drive inclusive growth and ensure that the region benefits from a new approach that supports a diverse and resilient economy, sustains and grows communities, and harnesses the potential of people and resources.
Human Tissue (Authorisation)
Passed 11 June 2019
To further increase the number of cases where organ and tissue donation is authorised, this Bill will introduce a ‘soft’ opt-out system of organ and tissue donation, enabling donations to proceed where a person had not opted-out. It will also include safeguards to minimise the risk of a person becoming a donor if they would not have wished to donate.
Passed 11 June 2019
We are committed to tackling fuel poverty and improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s buildings. As part of our long-term Fuel Poverty Strategy, the Fuel Poverty Bill will set a new statutory fuel poverty target to help ensure that progress is made on these issues, and support is given to those who are most in need of help to heat their homes.
Passed 12 June 2019
The Bill will permit National Records of Scotland to ask voluntary questions on sexual orientation and transgender status/history in the 2021 census and future censuses. An individual’s sex at birth will continue to be recorded as male or female.
20 June 2019
Responding to the independent review of the planning system, the Bill will ensure a greater focus on delivering the development Scotland needs with the infrastructure to support it. There will be a simpler, more effective system of development plans, to set a clear view of how areas will develop in future. Procedures for preparing plans will be improved and communities will have better opportunities to influence the future of their areas.
Management of Offenders
25 June 2019
In keeping with our commitment to prevent and reduce offending, this Bill will deliver on recommendations made by the Expert Working Group on Electronic Monitoring and improve the existing law on the rehabilitation of offenders. In particular, it will:
Enable new technologies to be used for electronic monitoring
Allow electronic monitoring to be used as part of more community sentences, court and prison orders
Reduce the length of time for which many people will be required to self-disclose previous offending behaviour
Make the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 more accessible for individuals and employers using the legislation.