MSPs may soon need to decide if they are going to ban air weapons and cut the drink drive limit in Scotland.
Following the unanimous vote by the Scottish Parliament to support the Scotland Bill on 18 April, the Scotland Office Minister David Mundell confirmed that these new policy powers could be transferred to Holyrood as early as this Summer.
If, as expected, the Bill receives final approval by the UK Parliament and Royal Assent next week, the transfer of policy powers to Holyrood could happen two months after Royal Assent.
The Scotland Bill contains the largest ever transfer of powers to the Scottish Parliament. The multi-billion pound tax and borrowing powers will start to be phased in from 2013 onwards when new capital borrowing powers take effect. Policy powers can be transferred from Westminster to Holyrood as early as this summer.
Scotland Office Minister David Mundell said:
“Next week should see the UK Parliament approve the largest ever transfer of powers to Holyrood, and follows the unanimous vote on the legislation in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.
“This Government committed itself to giving more powers to the Scottish Parliament and we are on the verge of fulfilling that commitment to the people of Scotland.
“That would mean that instead of debating what new powers Holyrood could have or should have that MSPs will need to debate what they are actually going to do with these new powers. That will be a refreshing change. The new policy powers can be transferred as early as this summer so Holyrood will need to make some important decisions in the near future.
“Are we going to have the drink drive limit cut in Scotland? What will this mean for drivers? How soon should this happen?
“Will air weapons be banned in Scotland? Will legislation be brought forward at the earliest opportunity?
“I expect the Scottish Government have already been working on these policy areas and we will see evidence of that shortly.
“If our Bill is approved by both Parliaments in the next two weeks then it will be rewarding for all those involved to see Holyrood getting on with using the new powers that so many argued for.”