A background to devolution

On the 11th September 1997 a referendum was held to establish the level of support for a Scottish Parliament, and for such a Parliament to have powers to vary the rate of income tax.

The vote was counted as 74% voting in favour of a Scottish Parliament and 63% voting for Parliament to have powers to vary the basic rate of income tax.

This led to to the introduction by the UK Government of the “Scotland Bill” which received Royal Assent on the 19th November 1998 and became the Scotland Act 1998. Elections were held on the 6th May 1999 and the powers previously exercised by the Secretary of State for Scotland and other UK ministers were transferred to Scottish ministers on July 1st, 1999. The same day that the Scottish Parliament was officially convened



The Scotland Act 1998 in brief  

The Scotland Act 1998 made provision for a Scottish Parliament and a Scottish Government, who would be accountable to the Scottish Parliament. It is important to note that the Act does not specify, which matters are devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Rather it specifies those matters that are reserved to the UK Parliament

In other words, matters which are reserved. Are matters that the Scottish Parliament cannot debate or amend. i.e have “No Control Over”

The list is as follows:

Reserved Matters

  • The Constitution
  • Foreign Affaires
  • Defence
  • International Development
  • The Civil Service
  • Financial and Economic matters
  • Immigration and Nationality
  • Misuse of drugs
  • Trade and Industry
  • Aspects of energy regulation (e.g electricity, coal, oil and gas and also nuclear energy)
  • Employment
  • Social Security
  • Abortion, Genetics, Surrogacy, Medicines
  • Broadcasting
  • Equal Opportunities

Devolved Matters:

(matters that the Scottish Parliament have jurisdiction on)

  • Health & Social Work
  • Education & Training
  • Local Government & Housing
  • Justice & Policing
  • Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries
  • The Environment
  • Tourism, Sport, & Heritage
  • Economic development & Internal Transport

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