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Lord Smith is due to present his report on proposed additional powers for the Scottish Parliament on 27 November. In the first of a series of blogs taken from our upcoming e-book, Beyond Smith: Contributions to the continuing process of Scottish devolution, Professor Charlie Jeffery considers how the politics of fifteen years of devolution will determine the outcome. He argues that, while there is clearly room for compromise between the parties, each sees Smith as a staging post on very different journeys.

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Professor Kirstein Rummery discusses the opportunity provided to Scotland when on the 9th Oct the Finance Cabinet Secretary John Swinney delivered the 2015-16 budget to the Scottish Parliament. For the first time since 1707, Scotland had the opportunity to start raising its own taxes.  A chance for the Secretary to start flexing his muscles and demonstrate would Scotland could do to achieve its goal of a fairer, more prosperous society ahead of the Smith Commission’s recommendations for further devolved powers.

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Opinion polls have consistently suggested strong support for the Scottish parliament to have powers over social security. Over the next 6 weeks, the Smith commission now has an opportunity to consider, as part of its broader process, whether agreement can be reached over welfare devolution.

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One of the questions not asked in the Referendum debate on the 5th of August was what the result might mean for childcare. A key issue for many families, survey evidence suggests that this is an area where people think independence could help (McAngus 2014). And it might well have formed part of the discussion on how public spending can be maintained as the working age population decreases. So what questions should be asked of the two campaigns?

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