New powers to set drink drive and speed limits along with the control of airguns will be transferred to the Scottish Parliament this week. The Scottish Government will consult in the coming weeks on proposed changes to drink drive limits.
Over the summer, Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill will also chair a meeting of the Scottish Firearms Consultative Panel, established to develop plans for firearms reform in Scotland.
Welcoming the new powers Cabinet Secretary for Government Strategy Bruce Crawford said: “We welcome additional responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament and are moving quickly to make use of the new powers we will gain next week to benefit the people of Scotland.
“On speed limits, these powers will enable the Scottish Government to make the right decisions for Scottish roads rather than have any changes imposed by Westminster. Road safety is our first priority and we have no current plans to increase speed limits.
“Work is already underway on airguns reform through the work of the Scottish Firearms Consultative Panel. Another meeting will be chaired by Mr MacAskill over the summer. And a consultation will begin in the coming weeks on proposed changes to drink drive limits.”
Mr Crawford continued: “But this limited transfer of powers under the Scotland Act is a missed opportunity. I believe in particular the Act’s limited taxation and borrowing powers will be out of date long before they actually have any effect. This Act will be remembered for what it did not do.
"The recent Scottish Attitudes Survey findings show that there is a clear public appetite for Scotland to have greater control over its own affairs – and that is exactly what independence offers.
“Four times as many people in Scotland trust the Scottish Government to act in Scotland’s best interests than trust the UK Government to do so, new research shows. Trust in the Scottish Government has leapt from 61 per cent to 71 per cent over the past year, according to the latest annual Scottish Social Attitudes survey. Trust in the UK Government is at just 18 per cent.
“The people of Scotland no longer trust the UK Government to act in their best interests. Their trust lies with the Scottish Government, as they know we will listen to their views and act fairly.”
On July 3, powers over airguns, drink drive and speed limits will transfer to the Scottish Parliament along with a role in public appointments to the BBC Trust. The term ‘Scottish Executive’ will be replaced by ‘Scottish Government’ for all purposes.
Limited taxation powers over income tax, land transaction and landfill taxes, some powers to borrow for capital purposes as well as new procedures for Scottish criminal cases to be considered by the UK Supreme Court will be commenced at a later date.