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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Legislative programme at-a-glance
Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, has announced his minority SNP government's first legislative programme, which includes 11 bills for reforms in several areas.

Here is a breakdown of what was announced.

Budget Bill

The legislation gives the Scottish Government authority to spend money from the Scottish consolidated fund in 2008/09.

It aims to show how the government is using its resources for the benefit of Scotland and its population when it is introduced to parliament in January 2008, coming into force at the start of the next financial year.

Abolition of Bridge Tolls Bill

The bill will scrap charges on the Forth and Tay bridges, one of the SNP's "100 days" commitments, while removing the debt repayment deadline of 2016 in respect of the Tay Bridge.

The Scottish Government has stated it was unacceptable to leave the only two road bridges in and out of Fife as the only remaining toll bridges in Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament agreed to remove the tolls in May.

Rape and Sexual Offences Bill

Ministers have expressed a determination to tackle Scotland's "low" rape conviction rate.

The precise contents of the bill will come after the government receives a report from the Scottish Law Commission into the issue.

However, the organisation is expected to recommend introducing an "active" model of consent, placing a responsibility on all parties to ensure that any sexual activity is fully consensual as well as widening the definition of rape.

It is also thought the commission will recommend introducing an offence of "sexual assault" as well as general reform of the legal framework on sexual offences.

Public Health Bill

A raft of measures to improve public health protection will be brought in, while giving officials more powers to respond to threats.

The legislation will extend current laws to include action for protection against biological, chemical and radiological contamination, including more powers of quarantine.

The responsibility of health boards to provide mortuaries will also be placed on a statutory footing.

Judiciary Bill

The bill aims to modernise the organisation and leadership of Scotland's judiciary by giving it greater power over the Scottish Court Service and putting arrangements for the Judicial Appointments Board on a statutory footing.

Under the legislation, the Lord President will preside over a unified judiciary, with powers to dispose of business in upper and lower courts, and over training and welfare.

Arrangements for the removal of judges and sheriffs will also be revised and the grounds of eligibility for appointment as a Court of Session judge expanded.

Interest Bill

This aims to develop fair rules for the application of interest rates to payments of debt and damages by bringing in a right to claim interest, from the time when a sum of money becomes due by one person to another.

It was announced following a Scottish Law Commission report, which stated that current laws lacked principle and consistency.

The bill will allow Scottish ministers to exempt certain categories of debt from interest. The current government believes this should be the case for utility debts and rent arrears to public sector landlords.

Local Healthcare Bill

Patients and the public will be encouraged to have a greater involvement in the delivery of local healthcare services by introducing direct elections to NHS boards.

A consultation on the bill is to be launched in the autumn which will shape its contents.

Graduate Endowment (Abolition) Bill

A total of 50,000 current students, including those graduating this year, will not have to pay the 2,000 graduate endowment fee when it is scrapped under this planned legislation.

Net income from the graduate endowment fee, which is reinvested into the student support system and not general higher education funding, stood at about 15m in 2006.

The SNP government said the fee was an inefficient way to raise money, as most students added it to their loan.

Flooding Bill

Ministers said they wanted to update existing laws to cover all aspects of flood management in Scotland.

A consultation will be held on several issues, including how to fund small-scale defences locally, improve flood risk information and ensure that management plans are produced for all high-risk areas.

Culture Bill

The Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen will be merged to form a new cultural development body, Creative Scotland.

The legislation will bring in a statutory remit to promote an understanding and enjoyment of the arts and culture.

Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill

New legislation will be required to support the 2014 commonwealth games, should the Glasgow bid be successful, and to protect the event from ambush marketing.

This is a strategy where brands attach themselves to major sporting events without paying sponsorship fees, while at the same time creating a sense that they are somehow connected to the tournament.

It will also ban the sale of tickets at more than their value and give councils the power to issue compulsory purchase orders for land they believe to be important to the event.


SEE ALSO
Salmond outlines government plans
05 Sep 07 |  Scotland

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