Reform Scotland bulletin on 'Devo Plus' and opinion poll28.12.2011

Please download the attached document to view the bulletin in full including the tables of figures.

On 13 September Reform Scotland published Devolution Plus, which set out our proposal for Scotland’s constitutional future.  The proposal was based on the principle that each layer of government should be responsible for what it spends.  As a result, we came up with a model that saw the majority of revenue powers transferred to Holyrood, leaving Westminster primarily with VAT and National Insurance.   With many areas associated with alleviating poverty devolved to Holyrood, Devolution Plus also set out proposals to transfer additional powers over social protection to enable a more coherent and effective approach to this policy area. 

Following our publication, Reform Scotland undertook an online opinion poll asking respondents’ views on the proposed referendum, Devolution Plus and the principle of raising what you spend.  We do not claim that this poll is totally scientific as it was self selecting. However, the responses, particularly those broken down by party affiliation, are very interesting, in particular:

  • A clear overall majority in each of the party groupings believes that the Scottish Parliament should be responsible for raising the majority of the money it spends.
  • However, there is not the same enthusiasm for the same principle in relation to local government with councils being responsible for raising their own income, with only the Conservatives and Lib Dems, as well as the ‘other’ grouping, having an outright majority in favour.
  • There was some enthusiasm across all party groups for a transfer of some additional welfare powers.

Commenting on the ‘devo plus’ and the findings of the survey, Reform Scotland’s chairman Ben Thomson said:

From a number of surveys and polls it is becoming increasing obvious that the general public want a greater ability for Holyrood to raise revenues to better match it’s spending responsibility whilst at the same time many still value the relationship with the rest of the UK.  Reform Scotland’s proposal, Devo Plus, sets out in detail how revenues could be raised both by Westminster and Holyrood for both levels of Government to fund their costs within the current constitutional framework of devolution.  This would give real incentives for politicians at both levels of government to be more accountable for the money they spend

"Whilst Reform Scotland accepts that this survey is not scientific it does present some interesting findings which we hope will stimulate debate on the constitutional future of Scotland.”

The Figures
The questions and the results have been reproduced below.  854 people completed the survey.  To try and display the figures in a more balanced manner the responses to each of the questions has been broken down by party affiliation.  As 43 individuals chose to skip this question, the total for the results shown is 811.