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|
|Relates to||Scotland Act 1998, Scotland Act 2012, Income Tax Act 2007|
Status: Current legislation
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
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.
- The ability to amend sections of the Scotland Act 1998 which relate to the operation of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government within the United Kingdom including control of its electoral system (subject to a two-thirds majority within the parliament for any proposed change)
- Legislative control over areas such as onshore oil and gas extraction, rail franchising, consumer advocacy and advice amongst others by devolution of powers in relation to these fields to the Ministers of the Scottish Parliament
- Management of the Crown Estate and the British Transport Police in Scotland
- Control over certain removable taxes including Air Passenger Duty.
- Full control over income tax including Income Tax rates and bands on non-savings and non-dividend income.
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.
- 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.
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.
- for the Scotland Bill 1977–78, see Scotland Act 1978 (subsequently repealed)
- for the Scotland Bill 1997–98, see Scotland Act 1998
- for the Scotland Bill 2011–12, see Scotland Act 2012
- Constitution of the United Kingdom
- History of Scottish devolution
- Politics of the United Kingdom
- "Scotland Act 2016". legislation.gov.uk. 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
- "Holyrood gives approval to devolved powers Scotland Bill". BBC News. 16 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- Dr Mike Gordon (30 September 2015). "Mike Gordon: The Permanence of Devolution: Parliamentary Sovereignty and Referendum Requirements". scottishconstitutionalfutures.org. Scottish Constitutional Futures Forum. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
- "Scotland Bill: Scottish powers bill backed by Commons". BBC News. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "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.