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Queen's Speech 2016: What it means for Scotland

Yesterday Her Majesty The Queen announced the UK Government’s legislative programme for the year ahead.

It has three aims: to deliver economic security for working people across our country; to increase life chances for the most disadvantaged; and to strengthen our national security.

Some of the Bills announced yesterday apply across the UK, while others cover areas where responsibility is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The following Bills will apply in Scotland, in full or in part:

  • Better Markets Bill
  • Criminal Finances Bill
  • Lifetime Savings Bill
  • Modern Transport Bill
  • Overseas Electors Bill
  • Pensions Bill
  • Small Charitable Donations Bill
  • Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill
  • Digital Economy Bill
  • Higher Education and Research Bill (includes UK-wide proposals on research councils)
  • Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill (includes UK wide proposals on a National Infrastructure Commission)
  • Bill of Rights

Key points on some of the Bills applying to Scotland in full or in part:

Better Markets Bill

This Bill will make economic regulators work better, open up markets, boost competition and give consumers more power and choice.

Digital Economy Bill

The focus of this Bill is to help to make the UK a world leader in digital provision by enabling the building of world-class digital infrastructure including fast broadband and mobile networks.

Higher Education and Research Bill

This Bill will cement the UK’s position as a world leader on the research and innovation stage and maximise the Government’s investment of more than £6bn a year on research and innovation. It will include UK-wide proposals on research councils.

Planning and Infrastructure Bill

This Bill will establish the independent National Infrastructure Commission on a UK-wide statutory basis. The Commission will provide the Government with expert, independent advice on infrastructure issues, by setting out a clear, strategic vision on the future infrastructure that is needed to ensure the UK economy is fit for 2050.

Bill of Rights

The purpose of this bill will be to reform the UK human rights framework in a way that continues to protect fundamental human rights, while also better protecting against abuse of the system and misuse of human rights laws. The Government will fully consult on the proposals when they are published in due course.

More information on the legislative programme is available here.

Commenting on the Queen’s speech, Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said:

“A year on from the announcement of the Scotland Bill in last year’s Queen’s speech, Holyrood is now poised to become one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world, following the passage of the Scotland Act 2016. Ensuring the smooth transfer of those new powers will be a major priority for the UK Government over the next Parliamentary session and beyond.

“The UK Government’s legislative programme has three clear aims; to deliver economic security for working people across our country, to increase the life chances for the most disadvantaged, and to strengthen our national security. Some of the bills announced today apply across the UK, while others cover areas where responsibility is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

“As we start a new parliamentary session at Westminster, I repeat my offer to the incoming Scottish Government: let’s put our political disagreements aside where we can, work together to achieve our common aims, and focus on delivering a better future for Scotland.”