Scotland gets greater say on Maritime and Coastguard Agency work

The UK and Scottish governments have agreed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which Scottish authorities will have a greater say on the strategic priorities of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in Scotland.

The change was a recommendation of the Smith Commission, which looked at the devolution of more powers to Holyrood ministers, and was brought into effect through the Scotland Act 2016.

UK Maritime and Shipping Minister John Hayes said: “Our Maritime and Coastguard Agency works across the UK, to keep people safe in the waters of our island nation. This is a historic occasion which shows the UK and Scottish governments working together to prevent loss of life and pollution on the coast and at sea.”

The MoU also covers the appointment of a Scottish government representative to the MCA advisory board and confirmation that the MCA will submit reports to and appear before committees of the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish government Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf said: “I welcome the signing of this MoU, which promotes a closer working relationship between the Scottish government and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.”

“It represents an important step forward in implementing the Smith Commission proposals around the maritime sector, requiring UK ministers to consult with the Scottish government on any key changes to the strategic direction of the MCA in relation to its operations in Scotland.”

This MoU represents another transfer of new powers from Westminster to Holyrood under the Scotland Act 2016, which delivered in full the recommendations of the Smith Commission.