The SNP majority Scottish Government has set out its legislative programme for the coming year 2013/2014. First Minister, Alex Salmond unveiled the programme in the Scottish Parliament yesterday afternoon. Of particular interest will be the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, a new Housing Bill, the RCHAMS and Historic Scotland Merger Bill and a Food Standards Scotland Bill. A total of 13 bills are being brought forward. These also include the annual Budget Bill and a Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill.
More details can be read here:-
- Budget Bill is the annual bill which provides Scottish Parliamentary approval for the Scottish Government’s spending plans.
- RCAHMS and Historic Scotland Merger Bill combines the functions of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.
- Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill seeks to make it easier for communities to take over public sector assets that are not used or underused and to help communities deal more effectively with vacant and derelict property in their areas.
- Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill provides for the establishment of Revenue Scotland as the tax authority which will be responsible for collecting the two new devolved taxes, SDLT and Landfill Tax and any other taxes which may be devolved in future.
- Food Standards Scotland Bill will establish a new body to take over all of the old functions of the Food Standards Agency. Food Standards Scotland's primary concern will be consumer protection - making sure that food is safe to eat, making sure it is what it says it is and improving diet and nutrition for consumers.
- Housing Bill will end allright-to-buy entitlements for social housing tenants. The bill also seeks to protect consumers by creating a new Housing Tribunal to ensure effective and prompt resolution of disputes in the private rented sector. There will be a regulatory framework for Letting Agents and licensing of mobile homes and park homes to tackle any unscrupulous behaviour by site owners.
- Damages Bill seeks to reform the law on key aspects of damages for personal injury, particularly under what circumstances a claim for damages can be brought and also the limitation period within which a claim should usually be made.
- Licensing Bill seeks to improve licensing to preserve public order and safety, reduce crime, and to advance public health with a new licensing regime introduced for air weapons and sexual entertainment venues. Changes will be made to existing licensing for the sale of alcohol, taxi and private hire vehicles and scrap metal dealers.
- Courts Reform Bill seek to remove low value claims from the Court of Session and give it the status it deserves as a senior civil court. Many civil cases including personal injury cases will be redistributed to the sheriff courts and the new personal injury court. New summary sheriffs will relieve sheriffs of some of the work, freeing up sheriffs to concentrate on complex civil cases and solemn crime.
- Bankruptcy Consolidation Bill brings regulatory changes to the Debt Arrangement Scheme, Protected Trust Deeds and the rules for corporate insolvency in Scotland. It seeks to put Scotland's bankruptcy legislation in one place in order to ensure that it is readable, accessible and easier for both practitioners and those affected by the law to use.
- Conclusion of Contracts etc. Bill seeks to modernise Scots law in order to promote business and economic growth. Companies will in future be able to formally conclude all contracts using email. The government hopes it will reduce the cost of signing contract documents, increase the likelihood of contracts being governed by Scots law and help boost cross-border trade.
- Scottish Welfare Fund Bill is to put on a statutory footingthe fund introduced previously to “mitigate” welfare reform. It will establish the fund as discretionary local welfare assistance and describe how the fund will be delivered.
- Mental Health Bill is to ensure that people with a mental health disorder can access effective treatment quickly and easily.