Holyrood approves expiration of certain Covid measures
Measures no longer necessary to support the ongoing public health response will be removed from the Scottish Coronavirus Acts after Holyrood approved their expiration.
The Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill was voted for by MSPs after three days of scrutiny.
Measures that will expire under the legislation include:
- emergency operational measures in respect of Children’s Hearings and child protection to ensure that children’s rights have been protected throughout this period
- ‘stop the clock’ measures on the duration of guardianship orders and certificates authorising medical treatment for adults with incapacity, as the normal systems for processing these resume
- power to accelerate scrutiny of regulations
- power to prevent the public attending in person local authority meetings and alcohol licensing hearings
admissibility of evidence by statement
The legislation extends other measures beyond the original expiry date of 30 September 2021 to 31 March 2022 to enable public authorities to continue to operate.
Temporary measures to enable the court system to operate in these challenging times, measures to keep businesses and public services running and temporary changes to the law for debtors and tenants facing financial hardship will be continued.
It adds reporting on evictions and tenants’ rights to existing bi-monthly requirements on the Scottish government. A one-off reporting requirement has also been added on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, support to help business, social security support to carers and social care services one month after Royal Assent.
Deputy First Minister and Covid Recovery Secretary John Swinney said: “Having the bill agreed today by the Parliament leaves appropriate time for the bill to receive Royal Assent early in August and my officials will use that time to make sure all necessary guidance is updated and made available to stakeholders and the public more widely so it is clear to all which provisions Parliament has decided should remain available beyond the end of September and which ones will be expiring at that time.
“I thank members of Parliament for the way in which they have engaged in the process to enhance the legislation, to advance issues that were of importance to members, and to ensure that we have the correct statutory framework in place to deal with what is an ongoing threat that we face from coronavirus.”