British & Scottish Politics

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Scotland’s First Minster suggested recently that the Scottish Rate of Income Tax is ‘anything but progressive’, but, says David Eiser, this is not strictly true.
 
In December’s Budget, John Swinney chose not to raise the Scottish Rate of Income Tax (SRIT). His reason for not doing so is that it would not have been possible to protect those on the lowest incomes and would thus have been unfair.
 
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John Swinney's final budget before the 2016 Holyrood elections was billed as a Scottish alternative to austerity but, says David Eiser, it may have been Scottish but it wasn't very alternative. 
 
We knew a lot of the context before John Swinney stood up to deliver his Draft Budget on Wednesday. The Scottish Government’s grant from Westminster for day-to-day spending would be 1 per cent smaller in 2016/17 as it was 2015/16. Its grant for capital spending on the other hand would increase by almost 5 per cent.
 
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Will England or Scotland determine the outcome of the UK referendum on our European Union membership? Scotland, together with Northern Ireland and Wales, might keep a reluctant England in. Equally, a strong 'leave' vote in England could drag the other nations out of the EU.

When the real referendum campaign takes off, not the current 'phony war', watch out for a few key issues:

Complacency and turn out:

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Voter’s attitudes to constitutional relationships are not the only determinant for success or failure for ‘regionalist and nationalist parties’ such as the SNP and Plaid Cymru, says Anwen Elias.

Territory - and the question of who has political control over it - continues to be an important, and often highly contentious, issue in multinational states. And yet the electoral fortunes of the regionalist and nationalist parties (RNPs) that challenge the state's political authority varies substantially from place to place.

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Throughout most of its history, Labour has been a unitary party with authority located in London-based institutions corresponding, in this instance, to the organisation of the UK state. All this altered with devolution from which has stemmed a constitutional distinction between devolved powers (under the remit of the devolved bodies) and reserved ones (left to Westminster). 
 
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