What are the powers of the Scottish Parliament?

Since the Scottish Parliament reconvened in 1999, decision making power is now split between MPs in London and MSPs in Edinburgh. Issues decided at Westminster are said to be ‘reserved’ while issues decided by the Scottish Parliament are ‘devolved’.

A limited level of further devolution has taken place since 1999, following the Scotland Acts  2012 and 2016. This has given Scotland some limited powers over taxation, social security, elections in Scotland and some employment services.

We are using these new powers to better serve the interests of all of Scotland: expanding our economy and lifting people out of poverty.

The following table outlines devolved and reserved powers:



Agriculture, forestry and fisheries

Benefits and social security (amounting to around 85 per cent of the Scottish benefit bill)

Education and training

Taxes (amounting to around 70 per cent of the total raised in Scotland)



Health and social services




Income Tax

Foreign policy

Law and order


Local government

Broadcasting and telecommunications (including broadband)

Sport and the arts

Trade and industry

Tourism and economic development

Nuclear energy, oil, coal, gas and electricity

Many aspects of transport

Consumer rights

Air Passenger Duty, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Landfill Tax

Data protection

Some aspects of social security, including: disability benefits, Carer’s Allowance and Winter Fuel Allowance.

The Constitution