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. Examples of the powers of the Scottish and UK Parliaments include:
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.
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
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 Bill 2015
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.