A major study on political opinions and the constitution by the Scottish Social Attitudes survey, published by ScotCen, shows that the majority of people in Scotland want welfare and taxation decided by the Scottish Parliament.

The findings show that of the constitutional options on offer, independence is the most popular option with support at 35%. Devo-Max is 32%, and the status quo 24%.

It also shows that left-centre voters believe most strongly in Holyrood having responsibility for welfare and tax powers.

In the week that Labour turn their back on universalism, the SNP has highlighted how the research shows people are recognising that Westminster isn’t working for Scotland.

Linda Fabiani, member of the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee, said:

“This survey confirms that independence is the most popular option, and the only way to achieve more powers for Scotland is to vote Yes in the referendum.

“This study also highlights that Labour are out of step with their own potential supporters on the issue of transferring welfare and tax powers from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament.

“Labour have joined with the Tories in supporting cuts and abandoning the principle of universal benefits – and the only way to safeguard the welfare state in Scotland is by voting Yes next September.

“Scotland has paid more tax per head than the UK average in every one of the last 30 years – and official figures show that Scotland subsidises the rest of the UK, not the other way round – yet Labour are now talking about having lower welfare payments in Scotland than the south of England.

“Already, a majority of people in Scotland believe that welfare and pensions policy and taxation should be decided by Holyrood not Westminster – and the Tory-Labour alliance on welfare cuts shows why having control in Scotland is essential.”



Find attached extract from The Scottish Social Attitudes survey, published by ScotCen.

Unionist support for devolving welfare/taxes

“Meanwhile, although at the elite level the Unionist parties are not currently considering devolving welfare benefits, the public appears to draw little distinction between benefits and areas like health and schools where powers are already devolved. Almost the same proportion (64%) think Holyrood should make most of the decisions for Scotland about benefits as think it should decide on the Health Service (66%) and schools (63%).”

“The immediate reaction at least of most people in Scotland is that more or less all of the country’s domestic affairs, including taxation and welfare benefits that are still primarily Westminster’s preserve, should be determined by Holyrood.”

“Union for social justice”

“Those who are politically furthest to the left in terms of their general beliefs are, if anything, more likely to think the Scottish Parliament should decide on taxes (68%, compared with 45% of those furthest to the right) and are no less likely than those further to the right to feel that Holyrood should decide benefits (67%, compared with 52-70% of those further to the right). Thus arguments from left-leaning Unionist parties against devolving welfare in order to maintain solidarity of shared rights and resources across the UK do not necessarily appear to resonate with left-leaning members of the public.”

Independence most popular constitutional option

“The findings (Figure 1) show that the Scottish public divides into three not quite even groups in terms of its constitutional preferences. In 2012, around a third (35%) supported independence (the Scottish Parliament making all decisions), a similar proportion (32%) supported ‘devo max’ (Holyrood responsible for all decisions except defence and foreign affairs), and a quarter (24%) favoured the status quo (defence, foreign affairs, taxes and benefits remain reserved to Westminster).

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