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Scotland Act 1998

Purpose and Effect

This section confers a power on Her Majesty, by Order in Council, to make provision for the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to make payments, out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund, to any opposition registered political party represented in the Scottish Parliament to assist their MSPs in performing their parliamentary duties.

The power is intended to make provision similar to that made in the House of Commons for the payment of “Short Money”.  Short money is generally applied to the opposition parties to obtain research and support facilities for Opposition Front Bench spokesmen, assistance in the Opposition Whips Office and other staff for the Leader of the Opposition.  It is intended to counterbalance the facilities available to the Government through the Civil Service.

The power conferred by this section was exercised in making the Scottish Parliament (Assistance for Registered Political Parties) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1745).

Paragraph 6 of Part 1 of Schedule 5 reserves the registration and funding of political parties. However, that paragraph was modified by the Scotland Act 1998 (Modifications of Schedules 4 and 5) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1749) so that “making payments to any political party for the purpose of assisting members of the Parliament who are connected with the party to perform their Parliamentary duties” is excepted from the reservation.  That order also provided that section 97 is not to be among the provisions of the Scotland Act which is protected by paragraph 4 of Schedule 4 from modification by the Scottish Parliament.

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