Devolved and reserved powers

The powers of the Scottish Parliament have been devolved from the UK Parliament. These were listed in the Scotland Act (1998). However, the UK Parliament still takes decisions for Scotland in some areas.

How the scottish government works within the uk government

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 powers over top-up benefits
  • Taxation – control over part of Scotland's income tax and VAT

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

Scotland Act 2012

As a result of the Scotland Act 2012, the Scottish Parliament can vary the rate of Scottish tax by 10% and has borrowing powers of up to £5 billion.

Scotland Act 2016

Following the 2014 independence referendum the Westminster parties agreed to give the Scottish Parliament yet more powers over and above those already devolved from the Scotland Act 2012. The new powers include control over all rates and bands for Scottish Income Tax, VAT receipts, welfare and benefits.