On Tuesday (24 March), MSPs from across the Scottish Parliament will scrutinise the proposed UK-wide Emergency Coronavirus Bill. A Legislative Consent Memorandum (LCM) has been lodged requesting MSPs consent to the UK Parliament changing laws which affect the devolved powers of Scotland.
The Emergency Coronavirus Bill was laid in Westminster last week in response to the Covid19 pandemic. The Bill introduces temporary measures giving ministers wide-ranging powers to tackle the Covid19 outbreak.
The Scottish Government says in its memorandum that consent is required in a number of areas, including:
• Emergency registration of nurses and other health and care professionals.
• Temporary modification of mental health and mental capacity legislation.
• Indemnity for pandemic-related health service activity.
• Registration of deaths and still births etc and a review of cause of death certifications and cremations in Scotland.
• The temporary closure of educational institutions and childcare premises.
• Powers relating to potentially infected persons; providing public health officers, constables and immigration officers in Scotland with the necessary powers in the event that they need to be used.
• Powers to give directions relating to events, gatherings and premises.
• Vaccination and Immunisation in Scotland developing alternative programmes for vaccination delivery.
• Emergency registration of social workers in Scotland.
• Powers to direct private organisations involved in the death management industry to deal with any emerging issues in relation to the transport, storage and disposal of dead bodies.
• Temporary disapplication of disclosure offences.
• Postponement of Scottish Parliament elections for constituency vacancies and postponement of local authority elections in Scotland for casual vacancies.
• Suspension of restrictions on return to work through NHS pension scheme.
• Emergency arrangements concerning practitioners which would create a limited exception to the requirement to be on a performers list in order to practise as a GP in the NHS in Scotland.
• Appointment of temporary Judicial Commissioners.
At 9am on Tuesday morning, MSPs from the Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee will hear from the Jeane Freeman MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport.
At 10.30am, Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, will give evidence to the Finance and Constitution Committee.
Following committee scrutiny in the morning, the full Parliament will be asked to agree to the consent motion. The motion, which will be lodged by the Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, Europe and External Affairs and supported by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, is:
“That the Parliament agrees that the relevant provisions of the Coronavirus Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 19 March 2020, so far as they fall within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament or alter the executive competence of the Scottish Ministers, should be considered by the UK Parliament.”
Subject to parliamentary agreement, the UK Coronavirus Bill is expected to receive Royal Assent and become law by the end of March.
Watch live online:
You can watch the committee and chamber proceedings live on Tuesday on Scottish Parliament TV.
A SPICe briefing on the Coronavirus Bill LCM is available here.
Full details of the Bill can be found here.
More information on the Scottish Government’s LCM is available here.