Packed legislative programme awaits MSPs’ attention
First Minister Alex Salmond will set out 15 new bills in parliament today that will form the basis of the Scottish Government’s legislative programme in the year ahead.
As well as the Referendum Bill, moves to legalise gay marriage will also be at the heart of the plans, ensuring Scotland becomes the first part of the UK to allow same-sex marriages. There will be a Children’s Bill, proposing a legal guarantee of 600 hours of free nursery education for three- and four-year-olds.
These plans were first set out by Mr Salmond at the SNP conference this year in Glasgow and will see a 2007 SNP manifesto commitment finally fulfilled.
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 minimum alcohol price law passed this year.
Ministers will also begin 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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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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