Devolution

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In headline terms, the Spending Review looks little different from the public finance forecasts in the summer budget. The Government will achieve a fiscal surplus by the end of this parliament (the first time that this has been achieved since 2001). And total public spending as a percentage of GDP will fall from 40% currently to 36%.
 
But Osborne has managed to achieve this whilst simultaneously being more generous on the spending side.
 
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The Scottish government’s block grant allocation between 2015-16 and 2020-21 was set in the 25th November spending review delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Current spending will increase from £25.9 billion now, to £26.5 billion in 2019-20. This represents a 5% real cut (equivalent to £1.3 billion). In contrast, due to the UK government’s decision to increase capital spending by £12 billion compared with its plans last July, Scotland’s capital budget will increase from £3 billion to £3.5 billion by 2020-21, an increase of around 10% in real terms.
 
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Devolution (Further Powers) Committee guide to Scottish Devolution

The Devolution (Further Powers) Committee has produced a factual and impartial Guide to devolution in Scotland. The Guide has been deliberately designed to be simple and accessible, and sign-post the reader to further sources of information. It contains a short history of devolution to date, an overview of the new powers that may be devolved to Scotland if the Scotland Bill is passed and some facts and figures on the tax and welfare provisions.

David Eiser suggests that we need more comparative studies like the ‘Mind the Gap’ report if we are to benefit from the ‘policy learning’ that devolution is hoped to provide.

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The proposals within the Scotland Bill - as well as the associated fiscal framework currently being worked out by the UK and Scottish Governments - represent big changes to Scotland’s political system, says Nicola McEwen. However, has enough room been left for the public at the negotiating table? 
 
“With great power comes great responsibility” – in Uncle Ben’s memorable last words to Spiderman. But is the reverse also true? Do great responsibilities bring great power?
 
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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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