COVID-19: Changes to Scottish Government legislative programme
Date: 9th April 2020
Various changes to Scottish Government’s legislative programme have been announced in light of COVID-19, including some Bills being delayed or “paused”.
Graeme Dey MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans made the announcement on 1st April 2020, clarifying that Scottish Government would focus its efforts on tackling the COVID-19 crisis and would be unable to deliver on all legislation as originally intended.
Legislation not viewed as “essential” or time-bound will be deprioritised in order to free up Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament capacity. Essential and time-bound legislation will continue but may be subject to some delay. Specific changes include:
- Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill Scottish Government will seek an extension of the stage 1 deadline.
- Good Food Nation Bill: will no longer be introduced within the current Parliamentary session.
- Hate Crime Bill: Scottish Government will delay the Bill’s introduction, although intends it will continue and be completed within the current Parliamentary session.
- Social Security Bill: Scottish Government will delay the Bill’s introduction, although intends it will continue and be completed within the current Parliamentary session.
- Disclosure (Scotland) Bill: Scottish Government proposes to conclude Stage 3 “as soon as it is practical to do so”
- Gender Recognition Act 2004: work on reform is being temporarily halted.
Further changes may be necessary and the Minister confirmed these would be confirmed in due course, adding: “I understand that the need to pause or delay aspects of our legislative programme will be deeply disappointing, and that those who have waited a long time for the reforms will be frustrated that we can no longer achieve all that we wanted to achieve. However, this is a challenging time for us all, and there will be many more challenges ahead. The Government is taking a pragmatic but essential approach.”
A number of bills were not mentioned in the announcement, including the planned bill on incorporating the UNCRC into Scots law. The Minister noted “I did not mention a number of bills, because they are not in the category of being paused.”