Programme for Government 2019 to 2020

Sets out action for protecting Scotland's future.

This document is part of a collection

The Legislative Programme 2019-20

This year, we will bring forward legislation to promote fairness and wellbeing in our communities, address the global climate emergency and legislate for the conduct of future referendums.

As was the case last year, it is possible that the chaotic handling of Brexit by the UK Government may require changes to this Legislative Programme but we continue to work to avoid that where we can.

We commit in this Programme for Government that the Bill to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots Law will be the key Bill in the final year of this Parliament and will be passed before the next election. We will also set out the timetable for a Gender Recognition Bill following consultation on the detail of the draft provisions.

We will also continue work to bring forward a Bill on Restricting Foods Promotions for introduction in next year's Legislative Programme.

Bills for introduction in 2019-20

Animal Health and Welfare (Amendment) Bill
Budget Bill
Circular Economy Bill
Civil Partnership Bill
Continuity Bill
Defamation and Malicious Publication Bill
UEFA European Championship Bill
Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) Bill
Good Food Nation Bill
Hate Crime Bill
Heat Networks Bill
Redress (Survivors of In Care Abuse) Bill
Rural Support Bill
Transient Visitor Levy Bill

Bills already announced

Children and Young People (Information Sharing) Bill
Children Bill
Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) Bill
Consumer Scotland Bill
Disclosure Bill
Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) Bill
Non-Domestic Rates Bill
Referendums Bill
Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill
Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill
Scottish Elections (Reform) Bill
Scottish National Investment Bank Bill
Transport Bill

Bills passed since 2018-19 Programme for Government

Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill
Budget Bill
Census (Amendment) Bill
Damages (Investment Returns and Periodical Payments) Bill
Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) Bill
Health and Care (Staffing) Bill
Human Tissue (Authorisation) Bill
Management of Offenders Bill
Planning Bill
Prescription Bill
Scottish Crown Estate Bill
South of Scotland Enterprise Bill
Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) Bill

Animal Health and Welfare (Amendment)

This Bill will increase the maximum penalties for the most serious animal welfare offences to five years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine and also make changes to the maximum penalties for various wildlife offences. It will increase the protection for service animals by implementing 'Finn's Law'. The Bill will also provide powers to make regulations for fixed penalty notices in relation to animal welfare offences and provides a new process to allow animals that have been taken into possession on welfare grounds to be sold or rehomed without the need for a court order.


The annual Budget Bill provides parliamentary approval for the Scottish Government's spending plans, allocation of resources to our strategic objectives and supporting progress towards our vision of a more successful country, through increasing inclusive and sustainable economic growth and improving wellbeing.

Circular Economy

The Bill will continue to advance Scotland's ambitions for the circular economy through measures which will encourage the re-use of products and reduce waste. It will enable further action to tackle our reliance on single use products.

Civil Partnership

The Bill will make civil partnership available to mixed sex couples. This is in line with equality and human rights principles. It also reflects the UK Supreme Court judgement made last year on civil partnership in England and Wales.


The Bill will provide for the ability to maintain alignment with EU law in devolved areas after EU exit, in particular by providing a 'keeping pace' power and will replace, where necessary, powers in connection with existing EU law lost in consequence of the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972. The Bill will also make provision to maintain the role of environmental principles and effective and proportionate environmental governance after EU exit.

Defamation and Malicious Publication

The Bill will take forward the recommendations of the Scottish Law Commission and will simplify and modernise the law of defamation. The reforms will ensure that a more appropriate balance is struck between protecting reputation and freedom of expression. Amongst other changes, the Bill will recognise a defence of publication on a matter of public interest and ensure that no proceedings can be brought where a defamatory statement is made only to the person who is the subject of it.

UEFA European Championship

The Bill will prohibit ticket touting and make provisions to protect commercial interests in connection with Glasgow's participation as one of 12 host cities of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championships.

Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences)

The Bill will underpin the ongoing work of the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland's Rape and Sexual Assault Taskforce. Amongst other things the Bill will establish a national self-referral model for victims of sexual crime who wish to have a forensic medical examination without first reporting to the police.

Good Food Nation

This Bill will underpin the significant work already being done – or planned – to deliver the Good Food Nation ambition in Scotland. It places responsibilities on Scottish Ministers and selected public bodies to set out statements of policy on food and to have regard to these statements in the exercise of relevant functions.

Hate Crime

Following on from Lord Bracadale's independent review of hate crime legislation in Scotland and our consultation, the Bill will take forward the consolidation and updating of hate crime legislation. It will extend the characteristics to which hate crime statutory aggravations apply and will also introduce 'stirring up' offences for all relevant characteristics.

Heat Networks

The Bill will introduce regulation of the heat network sector to support, facilitate and create controls in respect of the development of district and communal heating infrastructure in Scotland. Accelerating the deployment of heat networks will help Scotland to decarbonise its heat supply and will contribute to our climate change targets.

Redress (Survivors of In Care Abuse)

The Bill will establish a financial redress scheme for survivors of historical child abuse whilst in care in Scotland. It will provide for the detailed aspects of the scheme such as eligibility, how decisions are made and the making of payments.

Rural Support

The Bill will create regulation-making powers for the Scottish Ministers to amend or replace the EU Common Agricultural Policy elements of retained EU law and provide new powers for the collection of agricultural data. The retained EU law powers are needed if Scotland has to leave the EU, when we would seek to simplify and improve CAP legislation for its operation beyond 2020.

Transient Visitor Levy

The Bill will create a discretionary power for local authorities to apply a tax or levy on overnight visitor stays. The decision to implement any tax or levy created will be entirely at the discretion of individual local authorities and receipts will be to fund local authority expenditure on tourism.

Bill Summaries



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