| 12°C Belfast

Emergency coronavirus legislation could be extended into next year

Constitution Secretary Mike Russell told MSPs ‘vital protections’ on issues such as housing are still needed.

Close

MIke Russell told the Scottish Parliament that ministers will seek to extend the legislation from its expiry date of September 30 to March 31 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

MIke Russell told the Scottish Parliament that ministers will seek to extend the legislation from its expiry date of September 30 to March 31 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

MIke Russell told the Scottish Parliament that ministers will seek to extend the legislation from its expiry date of September 30 to March 31 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Scottish Government will seek to extend emergency coronavirus legislation until March, Constitution Secretary Mike Russell has said.

He told MSPs on Tuesday that the laws passed by Holyrood have provided “vital protections” on issues such as housing and are still needed.

Mr Russell told the Scottish Parliament that ministers will seek to extend the legislation from its expiry date of September 30 to March 31, although some provisions may not be renewed.

Close

Mike Russell said careful consideration is being given to the details of the extension (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

Mike Russell said careful consideration is being given to the details of the extension (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

PA

Mike Russell said careful consideration is being given to the details of the extension (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

He said: “We are now two-thirds of the way through the life of the Scottish Acts and there is considerable interest from stakeholders regarding the possible extension of the Scottish Acts beyond their current expiry point on September 30.

“We’re giving very careful consideration to the details of such an extension.

“We’re mindful of the call from stakeholders that provisions of the legislation in its areas such as housing have provided vital protections for individuals throughout the pandemic and that there is a continuing need for them.

“But we’re equally mindful of the commitments we’ve made – and which I have regularly reiterated – that such legislation must not be in place for a moment longer than is necessary.”

He added: “On the overall question, I can now confirm that before the end of this month we will lay regulations which will with Parliament’s agreement seek to extend the Scottish Acts from September 30 to March 31.

“However, we will also lay at the same time regulations which will expire certain provision within the legislation which we deem are no longer needed.”

The Acts are intended to provide relief during the coronavirus outbreak and to mitigate the disruption caused.

Mr Russell also told Holyrood, after a question from Murdo Fraser MSP, that Police Scotland has used the emergency powers to issue 3,310 fines, make 349 forceful dispersals and 268 arrests between March 27 and July 21.

He said 94% of the 61,593 officer interventions have been peaceful dispersals.

PA