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Scottish Parliament & Local Government

Until 1707, Scotland was governed by its own Parliament; in that year the Act of Union was passed that meant the Parliaments of Scotland and England merged to become the Parliament of Great Britain. In 1997, the Scots voted in favour of setting up a devolved Parliament in Scotland with tax-varying powers. The new Scottish Parliament, which sat for the first time in 1999, was originally based in the Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament building situated at the eastern end of the Old Town in Edinburgh, facing the Palace of Holyroodhouse, opened in 2004; this was built, at considerable cost, on the former site of a brewery. Queensberry House, situated in Canongate at the eastern end of the Royal Mile, has been included as part of the complex.

The Scottish Government, which was known as the Scottish Executive until 2007, is the executive arm of the Scottish Parliament; it 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. Local government in Scotland is currently covered by 32 council areas; from 1975 to 1996 Scotland had been split into nine mainland regions and three island authorities; before 1975, the country was split in to 33 council areas.

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