SNP focus on UK poll and marriage
PLANS to legalise same-sex marriage and to hold a referendum on independence will be at the centre of Alex Salmond’s legislative programme published this week.
MSPs return from their summer break on Tuesday, when the SNP administration is expected to unveil 15 bills for the coming parliamentary year. The marriage bill looks set to ensure that Scotland becomes the first part of the UK to allow same-sex marriages.
The First Minister will also confirm plans to press ahead with the independence referendum, even though there remains disagreement with the UK government on what form it will take.
There will be a Children’s Bill, proposing a legal guarantee of 600 hours free nursery education for three and four-year-olds.
Ministers will also propose a new Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill, setting out revised regulations for the salmon farming industry. However, there is speculation that a tough new regulatory regime – which has roused massive opposition from industry leaders – may be watered down.
Other key business for the Scottish Government includes moves to integrate health and social care services and a legal fight over the law passed this year setting a minimum price on alcohol.
Ministers will also commence plans for a new spending settlement for 2013, amid hints from finance secretary John Swinney that he may be able to secure a modest pay rise for public sector workers.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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