Local MSP Maree Todd, SNP, has welcomed the passing of the Fuel Poverty Bill in the Scottish Parliament. The Bill which still has to be approved by the UK Parliament before it can be enacted was subjected to several amendments before being passed on 11th of June. (It has been pointed out that the Bill only requires Royal Assent not the approval of the UK Parliament – see comments – this is technically partially correct – any Bill from the Scottish Parliament can be objected to and delayed/stopped by the UK Parliament where ultimate power lies – not in the monarch e.g. The Continuity Bill which would have allowed continuity for Scotland and avoided some of the worst effects of when the UK leaves the EU.)
Orkney has the highest rate of fuel poverty and as originally framed the Bill would have disadvantaged the islands. The amendments have improved the Bill.
The Bill has set the target that by 2040 , as far as reasonably possible no household in
Scotland is in fuel poverty and if that is not possible :-
- no more than 5% of households in Scotland are in fuel poverty
- no more than 1% of households in Scotland are in extreme fuel poverty
Interim targets were also set so that in 10 years time no more than 15% of households will be in fuel poverty and 5% in extreme fuel poverty
Maree Todd said:
“The SNP is fully committed to tackling fuel poverty across Scotland – this world-leading legislation will go a long way in helping to support low income households here in Highlands and Islands.
“This bill is designed to work for everyone regardless of where in Scotland they live. Scotland is now among only a handful of European nations to have legally defined fuel poverty – linking the definition to household incomes and the higher cost of living in rural and island areas.
“The SNP’s Fuel Poverty Bill is a massive step in tackling fuel poverty and will help make a real difference to the lives of thousands of people in Highlands and Islands.”
Ministers in the Scottish Government must now prepare a fuel poverty strategy in how to meet the targets set.
You can watch the whole debate here:
The Bill dies not need approval of the UK Parliament, no Bill passed in the Scottush Parliament needs that. It needs Royal Assent.
Royal Assent is required for a bill to become an Act of the Scottish Parliament.
The monarch must give their consent for a bill to become a law. It is a final check in a constitutional monarchy that Parliament is doing a proper job in passing laws that will be suitable for the country. Nowadays, it is considered a formality, as the monarch very rarely withholds royal assent.
How does Royal Assent happen?
The day after the Bill is passed in the Scottish Parliament letters are sent to the law officers (Advocate General for Scotland, the Lord Advocate and the Attorney General) advising them of the four week period in which they can raise legal objection to the Bill.
If no objection is made by the law officers, or the four week period has passed, the Presiding Officer writes to Her Majesty The Queen enclosing the Bill and a Royal Warrant for signature – these are then delivered to Buckingham Palace.
When the Bill and Royal Warrant are returned to the Scottish Parliament, the Warrant is hand-stitched together.
The documents are then delivered to Registers of Scotland, followed by the National Records of Scotland, in Edinburgh, where the Great Seal of Scotland is applied.
Notices are then placed in the official journals of record: the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes signalling that Royal Assent has been given.
And this…Under this system of devolution Scotland is still part of the United Kingdom and the UK Parliament in Westminster is sovereign (has ultimate power).
The UK Parliament at Westminster retains power to legislate on any matter, but the convention of devolution is that the UK Parliament will not normally legislate on devolved matters without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.
When royal assent has been given, an announcement is made in both Houses – by the Lord Speaker in the Lords and the Speaker in the Commons.
The Bill does not need approval of the UK Parliament, no Bill passed in the Scottish Parliament needs that. It needs Royal Assent.