MSPs have agreed the general principles of the Damages (Investment Returns and Periodical Payments ) (Scotland) Bill.

The bill provides for a new method of setting the discount rate used in calculating long term future awards of damages, and enables a court to award damages in the form of periodical payments rather than a lump sum even where parties are not agreed on this course.

After the stage 1 debate in Holyrood yesterday, the general principles of the bill were agreed without a vote.

Minister Ash Denham said in concluding the debate: "The bill seeks to remove the exercise of determining the [discount] rate from the political arena, where there is the potential of pressure from external interests to attempt to influence the outcome. The review of the discount rate will be firmly focused on ensuring that those who have suffered loss and are awarded damages for future pecuniary loss receive the full compensation – neither more nor less. That should provide fairness to all parties that are involved."

Click here to view the debate.