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Second coronavirus bill put before the Scottish Parliament

Scottish Parliament - Image credit: Anita Gould

Second coronavirus bill put before the Scottish Parliament

A second coronavirus bill has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament for MSPs, which MSPs will consider this week.

Key elements of the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill include a proposed additional £19.2m for the Carer’s Allowance Supplement to increase payments by £230 from April to September, the introduction of notice to leave periods for students in purpose-built student accommodation and additional protections for those facing bankruptcy.

If passed, the bill will raise the minimum debt level that a person must owe before a creditor can make them bankrupt to £10,000, while the upper limit for the simpler minimal asset process bankruptcy will be raised to £25,000, which will help people pushed into debt by the pandemic.

The introduction of notice periods will allow students who are no longer able to use their rooms in halls of residence during lockdown to end the contract early.

There are also proposed changes in areas of local government, non-domestic rates relief, proceeds of crime and the running of court cases.

Stage one of the bill will be consider by the COVID-19 Committee this morning, with evidence to be taken from constitution secretary Mike Russell and the Law Society of Scotland, with MSPs also being asked to approve the bill being treated as emergency legislation.

A stage one debate is expected on Wednesday, with stages two and three to follow next week.

Russell said: “The Scottish Government is determined to do all we can to help individuals and businesses who are facing hardship as a result of this unprecedented crisis.

“The bill will help many people facing bankruptcy, adding to emergency measures which the Scottish Parliament has already approved.

“It will also provide Scottish ministers with the power to introduce reductions in non-domestic rates payable during 2020-21, and a wide range of changes necessary to support public services to continue to operate as they were intended during what are exceptional circumstances.

“Throughout this crisis we have tried to achieve consensus and will continue to work on a cross-party basis to enable the government to take the steps necessary to help Scotland get through these extraordinary times.” 

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