The Scottish Parliament and law making
The Scottish Parliament and law making

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3 The Scotland Act 2016

In September 2014, following a Scottish referendum on independence, the people of Scotland voted to remain part of a United Kingdom. The Scottish Government had campaigned for independence. Following the referendum Lord Smith of Kelvin was tasked with overseeing and delivering a cross-party agreement on the shape of improved and enhanced devolution for Scotland.

The Smith Commission
Figure 4 The Smith Commission

On 27 November 2014 Lord Smith delivered an agreement. This had been agreed by all five of the main Scottish political parties and outlined further powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Box 4 Comment on the Scotland Bill leading to the 2016 Scotland Act.

The Bill will make the Scottish Parliament one of the world’s most powerful devolved parliaments and allow more decisions affecting Scotland to be taken in Scotland. It will increase the financial responsibility of the Scottish Parliament, and its accountability to the Scottish public.

The package contains significant financial powers, including over income tax and VAT, the devolution of substantial elements of the welfare system and a range of other powers, including constitutional powers and powers in areas such as oil and gas and transport.

Along with a more powerful and accountable Scottish Parliament, Scotland will also retain the huge benefits of being part of a strong United Kingdom with a large UK economy, a UK pound, UK pensions and UK armed forces – just as the Scottish people made clear they wanted in last year’s referendum.

Scotland Office and Mundell (2015a).

The explanatory note to the Bill indicates that it delivers the Smith Commission Agreement.

Box 5 Overview of the Bill

  1. The Scotland Bill will deliver the Smith Commission Agreement, which was published in November 2014 having gained all-party agreement in Scotland.
  2. The Bill is an enabling Bill and the majority of the provisions in the Bill set out the powers that are being transferred to the Scottish Parliament and or Scottish Ministers. In particular the Scotland Bill amends sections of the Scotland Act 1998 and rebalances the devolved and reserved responsibilities between the administrations. The Bill also includes provisions which set out the constitutional relationship of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government within the United Kingdom's constitutional arrangements. It does not amend this relationship.
Scotland Office and Mundell (2015b).

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371