Scotland Act 2016

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Scotland Act 2016
Act of Parliament
Long title An Act to amend the Scotland Act 1998 and make provision about the functions of the Scottish Ministers; and for connected purposes.
Introduced by David Mundell
Territorial extent United Kingdom
Royal assent 23 March 2016
Other legislation
Relates to Scotland Act 1998, Scotland Act 2012, Income Tax Act 2007
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted
Constitutional documents and events (present & historical) relevant to the status of the United Kingdom and legislative unions of its constituent countries
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Treaty of Union 1706
Acts of Union 1707
Wales and Berwick Act 1746
Irish Constitution 1782
Acts of Union 1800
Parliament Act 1911
Government of Ireland Act 1920
Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921
Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927
Statute of Westminster 1931
United Nations Act 1946
Parliament Act 1949
EC Treaty of Accession 1972
NI (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972
European Communities Act 1972
Local Government Act 1972
Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973
NI Border Poll 1973
NI Constitution Act 1973
Referendum Act 1975
EC Membership Referendum 1975
Scotland Act 1978
Wales Act 1978
Scottish Devolution Referendum 1979
Welsh Devolution Referendum 1979
Local Government (Wales) Act 1994
Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994
Referendums (Scotland & Wales) Act 1997
Scottish Devolution Referendum 1997
Welsh Devolution Referendum 1997
Good Friday Agreement 1998
Northern Ireland Act 1998
Government of Wales Act 1998
Human Rights Act 1998
Scotland Act 1998
Government of Wales Act 2006
Northern Ireland Act 2009
Welsh Devolution Referendum 2011
European Union Act 2011
Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011
Scotland Act 2012
Edinburgh Agreement 2012
Scottish Independence Referendum 2014
Wales Act 2014
European Union Referendum Act 2015
EU Membership Referendum 2016
Scotland Act 2016
Wales Act 2017
EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017
Invocation of Article 50 2017
European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

The Scotland Act 2016 is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It sets out amendments to the Scotland Act 1998 and devolves further powers to Scotland. The legislation is based on recommendations given by the report of the Smith Commission, which was established on 19 September 2014 in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum.

Main provisions[edit]

The act gives extra powers to the Scottish Parliament and a Scottish Government,[1] most notably:[2]

This Act recognises the Scottish Parliament and a Scottish Government as permanent among UK's constitutional arrangements, with a referendum required before either can be abolished. However, according to some commentators, the act institutes a weak statutory mechanism, which does not stipulate provisions or guarantees for such a referendum, or makes duties of Crown Ministers in this respect publicly answerable to the Scottish electorate.[3]


The UK Conservative government introduced around 80 amendments to the bill aimed at clarifying and strengthening some sections of it, and the House of Commons approved these. They included:

  • Control over abortion laws is no longer being "reserved matter" outside of control of Scottish Government.
  • Enhanced powers over welfare, including the ability to top-up any cuts to tax credits made by the UK.

About 120 amendments and new clauses were lodged on the bill by opposition parties but these were rejected by the Commons.[4]

Fiscal framework[edit]

During the passage of the bill, almost a full year of negotiations took place between the Scottish and UK Governments concerning the fiscal framework that accompanied it. This was necessary because of the intention to reduce the block grant given to the Scottish government by HM Treasury to take account of the additional income the Scottish government will receive through retaining a portion of the revenues from income tax and VAT that are generated in Scotland.

The Smith Commission said that there should be “no detriment” to either government in this context, something which is technically difficult to achieve. A Scottish government proposal was that future adjustment to the block grant should be based on the “per capita index”, which takes into account the growth in tax receipts across the UK, not just Scotland. This is significant because Scotland’s economy and population are not growing as fast as the UK’s. However, the Treasury position was that this would be unfair to the rest of the UK.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Scotland Act 2016". 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "Holyrood gives approval to devolved powers Scotland Bill". BBC News. 16 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Dr Mike Gordon (30 September 2015). "Mike Gordon: The Permanence of Devolution: Parliamentary Sovereignty and Referendum Requirements". Scottish Constitutional Futures Forum. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Scotland Bill: Scottish powers bill backed by Commons". BBC News. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Record View: It's time for Cameron and Sturgeon to bang heads together and deliver what Scots voters were promised". Daily Record. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2016.