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The Scotland Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 28 May 2015 by the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, and completed its Commons stages on 9 November 2015. During its passage through the Commons, the Bill was subject to four days of committee proceedings on the floor of the House and received a number of substantive amendments by the Government at report stage. The amended Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 10 November 2015, and is due to receive its second reading on 24 November 2015. The Explanatory Notes to the Bill state:

The Scotland Bill will deliver the Smith Commission Agreement, which was published in November 2014 having been agreed by all the political parties in Scotland.

The Bill is intended to be an enabling Bill and the majority of the provisions in the Bill set out the powers that are being transferred to the Scottish Parliament and or the Scottish Ministers. In particular the Scotland Bill amends the Scotland Act 1998 and rebalances the devolved and reserved responsibilities between the administrations. The Bill also includes provisions which set out the constitutional relationship of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government within the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements. It does not amend this relationship.

The Bill, as amended, includes provisions that would:

  • Place the permanence of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government on a statutory footing
  • Devolve certain taxation powers, including the Air Passenger Duty, the Aggregates Levy, the power to set rates and bands of income tax, and the assignment of an apportionment of VAT revenues to the Scottish Government
  • Devolve many aspects of welfare policy, including legislative competence in relation to disability, industrial injuries and carer’s benefits, and the ability to top-up certain benefits or create new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility
  • Provide the Scottish Parliament with legislative competence for abortion laws

This Library Note provides an overview of the key provisions currently contained in the Bill following its amendment at report stage. More detail is then provided through a brief timeline of events leading up to report stage in the House of Commons, and through coverage of the report stage and third reading debates.

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