Scottish Government Announces Legislative Programme for 2013-2014


The Scottish Government has announced the legislative programme for the next year. The Scottish Government intends to introduce 13 new bills over the course of the next parliamentary session, as well as considering the Referendum (Scotland) Bill in respect of the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence.

The 13 bills which have been announced cover a wide range of topics, as follows:

Bill Proposed Content
Budget Bill To provide Parliamentary approval for the Scottish Government’s spending plans.
Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill To establish Revenue Scotland as the body which will be responsible for collecting the two new devolved taxes (Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax) from 2015, as well as any other taxes which may be devolved or introduced in future. The Bill will also put in place statutory framework regulating Revenue Scotland and its relationship with taxpayers and other tax authorities.
Bankruptcy Consolidation Bill To update Scotland’s bankruptcy legislation and bring it together in one place in order to ensure that Scottish bankruptcy law is "readable, accessible and easier for both practitioners and those affected by the law to use."
Conclusion of Contracts etc. Bill To modernise the conclusion of contracts in Scotland.
The Bill proposes that in the future, companies will be able to formally conclude all contracts using email. The Bill will also allow parties to sign separate copies of a contract to form a binding contract.
Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill To promote improved community engagement by simplifying the community right to buy, providing the community with the opportunity to take ownership of public land and buildings, providing a stronger role in the development and delivery of local services and providing increased transparency in management of Common Good land.
Scottish Welfare Fund Bill To set up a Fund to provide help to vulnerable members of the community in a financial emergency.
Housing Bill To introduce a range of measures including: the introduction of a new Housing Tribunal for resolution of disputes in the private rented sector, the introduction of a regulatory framework for Letting Agents, modernising the licensing of mobile homes and park homes, providing local authorities with greater enforcement powers to improve the quality of houses in the private sector and ending all right to buy entitlements for social housing tenants.
Mental Health Bill To introduce a more efficient legislative system to help treat and care for people with a mental health disorder.
Food Standards Scotland Bill To establish a new body (Food Standards Scotland) to take over the Food Standards Agency's old functions with powers including: making sure that food is safe to eat, making sure food is what it says it is and improving diet and nutrition for consumers.

Courts Reform Bill To implement the proposals from Lord Gill's Scottish Civil Courts Review. These include establishing a new Sheriff Appeal Court and a specialist personal injury Court. New financial limits will also be set in respect of the Courts which actions may be raised in.
Damages Bill To reform key aspects of the law relating to damages for personal injury, following recommendations made by the Scottish Law Commission.
12. Licensing Bill
To introduce new licensing regimes for air weapons as well as improving existing licensing regimes for the sale of alcohol, taxi & private hire vehicles and scrap metal dealers.
RCAHMS & Historic Scotland Merger Bill To merge Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), and to create a new body with responsibility for investigating, recording, caring for, protecting and celebrating the historic environment.

A number of the bills follow on from public consultations on the topics and take account of the responses received to the consultations. Where consultation has not yet taken place, this may be carried out over the coming months.