Other useful information
Scotland's official languages are English, Gaelic, and Scots. Around 87,000 people speak Gaelic and more than a million people speak Scots. There are six standalone Gaelic schools including in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and Gaelic is taught in over 50 other schools across Scotland. More information on Gaelic and Scots culture can be found at www.visitscotland.com/about/uniquely-scottish/gaelic/
The Scottish Parliament deals with devolved issues. Devolution is a system of government which allows decisions to be made at a more local level. In the UK there are several examples of devolved government including: the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Scottish Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). Members are elected for five-year terms under the mixed member proportional representation system.
The Scottish Government is led by the First Minister and is responsible for implementing laws and policy in Scotland which are not explicitly reserved to the United Kingdom Government (such as defence and foreign policy). These devolved matters include health, education, justice and policing, rural affairs, economic development and transport.
Local government is organised through 32 unitary authorities designated as councils which consist of councillors elected every five years by registered voters in each of the council areas. You can find the contact details for your local authority at www.cosla.gov.uk/councils
You can find out who your local MSP, MP and Councillor is by entering your postcode at www.writetothem.com/
Serving personnel, along with their spouses or partners, can take part in elections and referendums. You can find out more information about how you can register to vote in Scotland at www.mygov.scot/register-to-vote-scotland/
Police Scotland works within communities to tackle crime and keep people safe.
The Scottish Government is committed to keeping Scotland safe. Crimes reported to the police have fallen by over 20% since 2008 and are at their lowest levels in over 40 years. During this time, surveys have also shown a consistent improvement in perceptions of police effectiveness throughout the country.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation at any time, dial 999 free from any phone to get help. This connects you to ambulance, fire and rescue, coastguard services and the police.
To report a crime dial 101.
Scots law is the legal system in Scotland, and although elements in the Scottish legal system are similar to those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are important differences between Scots law, English law and Northern Irish law. You can find out more about Scots law on the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (Scotland's prosecution service) website at www.copfs.gov.uk/
Scottish Income Tax
For everyone living in Scotland, income tax rates (on non-savings and non-dividend income) are set each year by the Scottish Parliament. This means that income tax paid in Scotland is invested in Scotland, supporting vital public services and investing in Scotland's economy and communities. Income tax will continue to be collected and managed by HMRC, offering Scottish customers the same service as taxpayers across the rest of the UK.
- You can find out more about the policy for Scottish Income Tax at www.gov.scot/incometax
- You can find more information on how the Scottish Income Tax affects you, for example if you move to or from Scotland or live in more than one home at www.gov.uk/scottish-rate-income-tax
You will find more general information regarding living in Scotland at www.scotland.org/about-scotland