The Scottish Government

The devolved government for Scotland is responsible for most of the issues of day-to-day concern to the people of Scotland, including health, education, justice, rural affairs and transport.

The Scottish Parliament with 129 MSPs now sits at Holyrood in Edinburgh. It was reconvened in 1999, almost 300 years after it was adjourned as a result of the Act of Union in 1707. The Scottish Government is the executive arm of the Parliament. The current administration was formed after elections in May 2016.

Road to referendum

On October 15, 2012, the Edinburgh Agreement was signed by First Minister Alex Salmond and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. It paved the way for a once in a generation referendum on Scottish independence in 2014 by confirming the Scottish Parliament’s power to hold a vote that will be respected by both governments.

In March 2013, it was announced that the independence referendum will take place on Thursday, September 18, 2014. The question to be asked is: Should Scotland be an independent country. Yes or No.

On November 26, 2013, the Scottish Government published its detailed prospectus, Scotland’s Future, making the case for independence. Find out more about the referendum.

On the 18 September 2014, the people of Scotland voted. In response to the question, 'Should Scotland be an independent country', 1,617,989 (45%) voted Yes and 2,001,926 (55%) voted No. Read full statement by the First Minister on the outcome of the vote.

Scotland's Constitutional History

Click on the years in the timeline below to navigate through Scotland's constitutional history. Use the timeline's slider to find out more:

The Government's Purpose

To focus government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.

Background on the Scottish Government

Visit the official First Minister of Scotland website