A Scottish Government Bill which will extend some coronavirus measures for at least six months and end others has been introduced to Holyrood.
The Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill, announced by Covid Recovery Secretary John Swinney earlier this month, will see the extension of some parts of the emergency coronavirus Acts passed last year, including allowing courts and tribunals to continue to act remotely and the increased notice period for evictions in the private and social rented sectors.
Meanwhile measures to ensure marriages and civil partnerships could take place during the pandemic and emergency measures to protect children’s rights will be ended.
The Bill also allows for a further extension of the measures, if agreed by Holyrood, by another six months – meaning the Acts could be in place more than two years after they were passed.
MSPs will consider the Bill as part of an accelerated timetable over next week, with one debate to take place each sitting day before the summer recess.
Upon publication of the Bill, Mr Swinney said: “The Scottish Coronavirus Acts contain provisions which make temporary adjustments to respond to the pandemic, and protect the health of people living in Scotland.
“We have already suspended or expired many provisions that are now redundant as restrictions have eased. However, to ensure those still required to protect the public and maintain essential public services can continue beyond September 30, we have brought legislation forward to enable parliamentary scrutiny before the summer recess.
“This timeframe is necessary to give public services like the courts certainty ahead of the Acts’ original expiry date, taking into account the time needed for this legislation to come into effect.
“We will continue to report to Parliament every two months on the use of these emergency powers, and remain committed to expiring or suspending any provisions that are no longer necessary.”