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Chamber and committees

Rural Affairs and Islands Committee

Good Food Nation (Scotland) Bill - response from Cabinet Secretary in relation to specified functions

Letter to the Convener from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, 29 December 2021

Dear Finlay,

Thank you for your letter of 7 December regarding examples of specified functions that will be set out in regulations in accordance with section 4 of the Good Food Nation (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill contains requirements for the Scottish Ministers and relevant authorities to have regard to their respective good food nation plans when exercising certain “specified functions or a function falling within a specified description”.

Specified functions will be set out in secondary legislation and the specification will primarily be by reference to subject areas e.g. “functions in relation to the provision of food in schools” but the intention is that certain legislation could also be specified. This hybrid approach best supports a flexible approach to the specified functions.

The subject areas that are to be set out in the specified functions relate to considerations we would already expect the Scottish Ministers to have regard to when developing and delivering policies in relation to food. The difference is that there would be a statutory requirement for Ministers to have considered the good food nation plan – and therefore the wider policy environment – in the exercise of the functions.

As you note, Scottish Government officials have previously provided the RAINE Committee with some information illustrating this concept through reference to the function of provision of food in schools. Further to this, I attach a fuller explanation of that function, along with a second example relating to food-growing strategies. I hope that these examples will help to clarify matters. My officials will be happy to provide further worked examples in due course if necessary.

Mairi Gougeon

Annexe A

Links between GFN plans and specified functions

Associated bill

Good Food Nation (Scotland) Bill - Stage 1

Related correspondences

Rural Affairs and Islands Committee

Good Food Nation (Scotland) Bill - Scottish Government view on protected subject matter

Letter to the Convener from the Minister for Parliamentary Business, George Adam, 22 November 2021