Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament powers

The powers of the Scottish Parliament have been devolved from the UK Parliament. These were listed in the Scotland Act (1998). The Scottish Government is given an annual budget of around £30 billion and has the power to make laws on a range of ‘devolved’ issues. However, the UK Parliament still takes decisions for Scotland in some areas.

Powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament

  • Health - the NHS in Scotland (hospitals, GP services etc)
  • Education – Nurseries, schools, colleges and universities
  • Local Government – responsibility for 32 local councils to deliver services such as cleansing, roads and social care
  • Law and Home Affairs – criminal law, civil law, the police, court and prison services, the fire service
  • Environment – environmental protection, flood prevention etc
  • Sports and the Arts – promotion of sports, museums, historic buildings etc
  • Social security – some power to top-up welfare benefits
  • Taxation – control over some forms of tax in Scotland, including a portion of income tax

Powers reserved to the UK Parliament

  • Constitutional Affairs – decisions on devolution for Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland
  • Defence – the army, navy and air force
  • Foreign Affairs – relations with other countries eg the EU or the USA
  • Central Economic Policy – some taxes including business taxes
  • Social Security – control of reserved benefits: universal credit, tax credit and child benefit
  • Other – immigration, and drug control

How the scottish government works within the uk government

Scotland Acts 2012 and 2016

In recent years there has been an expansion of the Scottish Parliament's power in response to the independence referendum. The Scottish Parliament has been given new powers to set income tax rates, to borrow up to £5 billion and to control welfare and social security benefits.