Six month extension to some temporary provisions made under UK legislation.
Regulations extending some temporary provisions made under UK coronavirus legislation were yesterday laid in Parliament.
The majority of provisions made under the UK Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force on 25 March 2020, and were due to expire this March following a two year period.
Of these, five will be retained for a further six months until 24 September 2022. These include powers to make public health protection regulations, enable a wider range of health professionals to give vaccination, and an allowance for the remote registration of deaths and still-births.
These provisions are also proposed for longer term adoption in the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill introduced to Parliament last week.
The remaining 12 devolved provisions in the UK Act will expire on 24 March, including allowances for the emergency registration of nurses and healthcare professionals, and the temporary registration of social workers.
A number of provisions in the Act have already been expired or suspended as they were considered no longer necessary to deal with the pandemic, including powers to issue directions relating to events, gatherings and premises, which Scottish Ministers expired in December 2021.
Deputy First Minister and COVID Recovery Secretary John Swinney yesterday said:
While we have seen a welcome easing of restrictions, and hope that measures can continue to be eased, it is right that we remain vigilant to protect this hard-won progress.
For that reason we believe some of these provisions remain necessary and proportionate to mitigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our public services, and any future health threats.
Although not required to by law, the Scottish Government has reported to Parliament on the use of these UK Act powers every two months throughout the pandemic to enable parliamentary scrutiny of their use, and will continue to do so.
As set out in the Recovery and Reform Bill, it is our intention that the extended provisions be included in permanent legislation, subject to full parliamentary scrutiny of the Bill.
Further details regarding proposals for extension and expiry of the Scottish Coronavirus Acts, which are due to expire at the end of 31 March 2022, will be confirmed shortly.
Provisions in the UK Coronavirus Act that will be retained from 24 March 2022 to 24 September 2022:
- section 18(2) and Part 2 of schedule 13 (registration of deaths and still-births);
- section 36 (vaccination and immunisation);
- section 37(2) and certain provisions of Part 2 of schedule 16 (temporary closure of educational institutions and childcare premises);
- section 38(2) and Part 2 of schedule 17 (temporary continuity - education, training and childcare);
- section 49 and schedule 19 (health protection regulations).
Provisions in the Act that will expire on 24 March 2022 are:
- section 2 and schedule 1 (emergency registration of nurses and other healthcare professionals)
- section 4 and schedule 3 (emergency arrangements concerning medical practitioners)
- section 7 and schedule 6 (temporary registration of social workers)
- section 22 (appointment of temporary Judicial Commissioners)
- section 10 and schedule 9 (temporary modification of mental health legislation)
- section 16 (duty of local authority to assess needs: Scotland)
- section 20 and schedule 14 (death certification review service and cremations)
- section 34 (disclosure offences)
- section 35 (protection of vulnerable groups)
- section 51 and schedule 21 (powers relating to potentially infectious persons)
- section 58 and schedule 28 (transportation, storage and disposal of dead bodies)
- section 75 (financial assistance for industry (disapplication of limit under Industrial Development Act 1982))