Page last updated at 08:55 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009
Guide to where power lies


Westminster is responsible for the wider economy, but Holyrood agrees a separate Budget for Scotland to cover all devolved policy areas, based on the three-year settlement received from the Treasury under the Barnett funding formula.

It also sets inward investment and job creation goals for Scotland.

Scottish ministers oversee main economic development agencies - Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise - and the voluntary sector.

Tax is largely an issue for the Westminster government, but Holyrood now has powers to vary income tax and borrowing powers worth £5bn as a result of the Scotland Act 2012.

The legislation also devolves stamp duty, land tax and landfill tax.

Scotland has responsibility for administering European Structural Funds.


Holyrood is responsible for funding culture and the arts in Scotland, largely via quangos.

Science policy is reserved to Westminster, except where it relates directly to educational establishments - oversight of schools and universities is devolved.

The Scottish Government sets policy on sports administration independently of Westminster, for instance overseeing the successful bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.


Policy-making on defence and international relations is not devolved.


Holyrood is responsible for overseeing and funding the education system in Scotland, including nurseries/childcare, primary and secondary schools and colleges and universities.

MSPs voted to scrap the "graduate endowment", paid by Scots students at the end of their higher education courses. This was after tuition fees were previously scrapped.

Scotland has its own Scottish Qualifications Authority to deal with school exam system.


Widely devolved to Scotland, including water quality regulation and climate change.

Although environment policy is devolved, the Westminster-based Climate Change Bill will apply in Scotland. This is only achieved with the consent of Holyrood. MSPs have passed a "Sewel Motion" to enable this to happen.

However, the Scottish Parliament has also passed a supplementary Scotland-only Climate Change Bill.


Holyrood manages rural development, agriculture, forestry, and natural heritage.

The Scottish government also aims to influence the UK government in Europe on issues such as fisheries, although it has no formal role in international negotiations.


Holyrood oversees the performance of the NHS in Scotland.

It is also responsible for public health issues such as drink and drug abuse, dentistry, pharmaceutical services and mental health.

The Scottish Parliament led the way in the UK with a public smoking ban and the current government is cutting prescription charges ahead of their abolition in 2011.

But some aspects of health policy, such as abortion and embryology, are not devolved.


Holyrood has control over the planning system, land use, and building standards in Scotland.

It also oversees housing and regeneration projects.

Although energy policy is reserved to Westminster, the current SNP government has said it would use devolved planning powers to block new nuclear power stations in Scotland.


Scotland has its own, distinct legal and justice system; as such Holyrood has powers to oversee and legislate on police, prisons, the court system, civil and criminal law.

It also controls youth justice and sentencing, legal aid and oversight of the legal profession.

The Scottish government has its own law officers - the lord advocate and solicitor general.

Liquor licensing, drugs policy and crime reduction are also devolved in Scotland.

The current Scottish government wants firearms control, currently reserved, to be devolved to Scotland.

The Scotland Act 2012 did hand powers over air guns, drink-driving and speeding limits to Holyrood.


The Scottish government is responsible for overseeing and funding the work of Scotland's 32 local councils, including social services.

Scottish ministers have signed a "concordat" with councils, giving them more freedom to spend money in return for a council tax freeze.


MPs in Westminster set the levels of benefits payments and tax credits in Scotland.


There are several devolved issues under this brief, namely public transport, roads and rail services.

Responsibility for ferry services includes state-funded "lifeline" ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne.

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