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by Jack Thomson
17 August 2021
Scottish Government seeks public opinion on keeping some measures made under COVID laws

Picture: Alamy

Scottish Government seeks public opinion on keeping some measures made under COVID laws

The Scottish Government has asked for the public's views as it considers keeping some temporary measures made under Scottish and UK COVID laws. 

A new consultation has launched setting out a range of proposals on legislative reform relating to the country's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Members of the public have 12 weeks until the consultation period ends on 9 November to share their views on suggestions.

The proposals include maintaining provisions in the UK Coronavirus Act that enable Scottish ministers to enact measures via public health regulations for any future public health threats.

A number of other reforms have been suggested, such as a change in the law that would allow a wider range of health professionals - such as nurses, midwives and paramedics - to give vaccinations and immunisations and maintaining pre-eviction protocols relating to rent arrears in the private rented sector to ensure that tenants have all the information they need about their rights.

It has also been proposed that the extended statutory time-limits for criminal proceedings should temporarily remain in place to help the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service manage the backlog of cases from the pandemic.

The consultation asks people to suggest any additional measures or legislation not covered in the consultation that could support recovery.

John Swinney, COVID recovery secretary, said: "This consultation focuses on reviewing the legislative powers that have supported our response to COVID-19. We want to ensure we remove measures no longer needed in order to respond to the pandemic whilst keeping those where there is demonstrable benefit to the people of Scotland.

"This is an opportunity to maintain changes that have been welcomed by people who now don’t want to lose transformations that have been innovative, beneficial, and increased access to services.

"While the pandemic has been incredibly disruptive, its urgency has forced the public services we rely on to adapt and continue and still deliver, driving the pace of digital adoption, and in some cases more efficient ways of working. 

"As we enter the recovery phase, we now have a unique opportunity to reimagine how health and social care, learning and justice services can be designed and delivered around the lives and needs of the people who use them.

"I invite everyone to have their say on what this future should look like to support a fair, safe and secure recovery. Your views on these proposals will inform any future legislation to be brought forward on these topics for full scrutiny and debate in parliament.

"We remain committed to expiring or suspending any existing provisions that are no longer necessary, and will continue to report to parliament every two months on the use of any temporary powers."

Read the most recent article written by Jack Thomson - Leader of the flock: 25 years on from Dolly the Sheep

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