Tracker 5 April 2017

Useful information

Independence referendum

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP wrote to the Prime Minister on 31 March seeking an early start to discussions on a section 30 order to enable a second independence referendum to take place.

Scotland Act 2016 powers

The powers devolved through the Scotland Act 2016 have come into effect in several policy areas.

From 3 April 2017, the transitional services Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland will start to deliver employment support. This is ahead of the full devolved service, Fair Start Scotland, which will begin in 2018.

In terms of social security, the Scottish Government now has control over Discretionary Housing Payments – the benefit used to mitigate the Bedroom Tax.

Powers over the revenue and management of Crown Estate resources in Scotland have also been transferred to the Scottish Government. From 1 April 2017, Scottish Ministers have control over thousands of hectares of rural land, approximately half Scotland’s foreshore and leasing the seabed for rights to renewable energy.

Infected Blood Support Scheme

The new Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme is now operational. It takes over from the existing UK schemes (Eileen Trust, Macfarlane Trust, MFET Ltd, Skipton Fund and Caxton Foundation) in providing support for Scottish beneficiaries.

E-cigarette restrictions

From 1 April 2017, new rules apply to the sale and purchase of tobacco and nicotine vapour products, known as NVPs or e-cigarettes. These changes, introduced under the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016, include making it illegal to sell NVPs to anyone under 18. Restrictions around advertising NVPs and a ban on NVP vending machines will be introduced later this year.


The UK Government has published a white paper on the Great Repeal Bill, setting out its proposals for ensuring a functioning statute book once the UK has left the European Union.

The Exiting the European Union Committee of the House of Commons published its report on the UK Government’s negotiating objectives on 4 April. The recommendations include calls for the UK Government to set out what contingency planning is taking place in case there is no deal by the end of the negotiating period, and to respond formally to the options papers of the devolved administrations as a matter of urgency.

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing summarising the starting-points of the UK and the European Union institutions at the beginning of the Article 50 process.

Mental health strategy

The Scottish Government has launched a mental health strategy for 2017 to 2027. Actions include increasing the mental health workforce and reforming the Adults with Incapacity legislation so it complies with the best international standards.

Scotland Week

The Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, Clare Adamson MSP and Edward Mountain MSP will be representing the Parliament in North America during Scotland Week. They will visit Winnipeg, Ottawa and New York, meeting with parliamentarians, Scottish organisations working in North America and helping to mark Tartan Day in New York on 6 April.

Welsh Assembly powers

New powers relating to the Welsh Assembly came into force on 31 March 2017. These include the power for the Assembly to decide on a new title if Members wish.


Is the Scottish Parliament offering any apprenticeships at the moment?

Not at the moment, however we intend to recruit for our next apprentices in the coming months. You can keep up to date on our website or following us on twitter (@ScotParl or #SPApprentices) or Facebook.


PE01648: Nursery business rates

PE01650: Student Awards Agency for Scotland's post-graduate eligibility criteria

SPICe briefings and resources

SB 17-24 Council Tax Reduction

SB 17-25 Equalities – Subject Profile

SB 17-26i Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 4th Quarter 2016


Budget (Scotland) Act 2017 – received Royal assent on 4 April 2017

Parliamentary questions

Child fares

S5O-00848 Pauline McNeill: To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on extending child fares to the age of 18 for all forms public transport.

Humza Yousaf: The national concessionary travel scheme for young people already provides discounts on bus and rail travel within Scotland for all young people living in Scotland aged 16 to 18. Using the Young Scot smart card, the scheme offers a one-third discount off the adult single fare on any registered bus service in Scotland, one third off most rail journeys in Scotland and a 50 per cent discount on rail season tickets. Eligible island residents also receive vouchers for four free ferry journeys a year. In addition, the Scottish Government will introduce free bus travel for modern apprentices aged under 21 in 2018. We will also be providing three months’ free bus travel for recipients of the job grant aged between 16 and 24 once that benefit comes into force.

Electric vehicle charge points

S5W-08269 Liam McArthur: To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on making the electric vehicle charge point scheme, Charge Place Scotland, a free service when its network experiences problems, and what assessment it has made of what the cost of this would be.

Humza Yousaf: Almost all of the ChargePlace Scotland electric vehicle charge points are currently free to use for drivers. It is a decision for the respective charge point host (for example a local authority or commercial premises) whether they wish to introduce a tariff and the terms of when that tariff is levied.

Irresponsible parking

S5W-08509 Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to address irresponsible parking.

Humza Yousaf: Parking policies form an essential part of a local road authority’s traffic management strategy to help reduce congestion and improve safety. However, irresponsible parking can have a negative impact, particularly when inconsiderate, obstructive or dangerous parking takes place thereby restricting access for emergency services or putting the safety of pedestrians and other motorists in jeopardy by forcing people onto the road amongst moving traffic.

Having obtained new powers through the Scotland Act 2016, the Scottish Government can now undertake a detailed review of parking in Scotland. I am pleased to confirm today that we are launching the “Public Consultation on Improving Parking in Scotland” on the Citizen Space website.

The focus of this consultation paper is to invite views from stakeholders on delivering a consistent approach to managing and enforcing parking on public roads, including trunk roads and thereby improving accessibility for all. The consultation responses will inform our policy on how this can best be achieved, and help to develop provisions for the Transport Bill and supporting guidance, which will then be presented for consideration by the Scottish Parliament.

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