Queen's Speech 2010: How it affects Scotland


The new UK government's first legislative programme has been unveiled with a list of 20 bills - more than three quarters of which apply to Scotland, either in part or in full.

Here is a look at how the proposals affect Scotland.

Scotland Bill

The most significant area for Scotland in the Queen's Speech. This piece of legislation, likely to be brought forward in the autumn, will provide new powers for the Scottish Parliament, as recommended by the Calman Commission review of devolution.

The Calman Commission, established with the support of Labour, Tory and Lib Dem MSPs, recommended new powers should be devolved from Westminster to Holyrood, including responsibility for raising half of Scotland's income tax.

It also recommended the Scottish Parliament should control national speed limits, drink-driving laws and airguns legislation.

But First Minister Alex Salmond, who has called for full fiscal powers for Scotland, said the proposals had been overtaken by the UK government's plan to pay for a rise in the income tax allowance with personal increases in National Insurance, under which money would go straight to the Treasury.

Budget Responsibility Bill

Will provide a "statutory underpinning" to a new Office of Budget Responsibility, which will provide borrowing and economic growth forecasts for the Treasury.

The main elements of the proposed bill "have yet to be decided upon" and there has been no mention of reforming the remit of the National Audit Office, which was predicted in advance media coverage.

Energy Security and Green Economy Bill

The Scottish government has forged ahead with its own programme to boost renewable energy and set emission-cutting targets, while continuing its opposition to new nuclear power stations.

Energy policy is essentially a matter for Westminster, and this bill aims to promote enhanced energy efficiency and the roll-out of smart meters.

Equitable Life Payments Scheme Bill

Will secure compensation for nearly a million policy holders hit by the near collapse of the insurer Equitable Life.

European Communities (Amendment) Referendum Lock Bill

Will mean a referendum must be held to approve any future treaties handing powers to the European Union.

Financial Services Regulation Bill

The banking crisis hit some of Scotland's most successful businesses, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS and the Dunfermline Building Society.

This bill will shift responsibility for macro-regulation of the banking system from the Financial Services Authority to the Bank of England.

Despite earlier reports, there is no mention of a levy on the profits of UK banks.

Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill

Will adopt the system on DNA introduced in Scotland and will limit the amount of time that DNA profiles of innocent people can be held on a national database.

The bill also tightens regulation on the use of CCTV cameras and removes limits on right to peaceful protest.

Identity Documents Bill

The Scottish Parliament has previously voted to symbolically reject ID cards, and the UK government has now brought forward a bill to do exactly that, as well as scrap the National Identity Register introduced by Labour.

The next generation of biometric passports will also go.

National Insurance Contributions Bill

Will block next year's 1% rise in NI contributions by employers. UK-wide.

Parliamentary Reform Bill

Measures will be introduced to establish fixed-term elections for the UK parliament, held every five years.

Will require 55% of MPs to vote for a dissolution of parliament between scheduled elections, under which 59 members have Scottish seats, and will give constituents the right to "recall" corrupt MPs between elections.

The bill will also cut the number of MPs by about 50. Review of reform of the House of Lords may be included in a separate draft bill later in the year. A bill will also be introduced for a referendum on changing the voting system to the Alternative Vote.

Pensions and Savings Bill

Will legislate for the phasing out of the default retirement age and set a timetable for raising the state pension age, depending on the outcome of a review. Will also restore the link between earnings and the state pension from 2012.

Postal Services Bill

Will allow injection of private capital into the Royal Mail, address its pension deficit, guarantee the post office network remains in public hands and seek to improve staff relations with management.

Welfare Reform Bill

Will create a single welfare-to-work programme and make benefit payments more conditional on willingness to accept work.

Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

Policing is wholly devolved to Scotland, but the bill plans to establish a dedicated border police force, as part of a refocused Serious and Organised Crime Agency, which would be a matter for Westminster.

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