English resentment against devolved Scotland exaggerated claims study


By a Newsnet reporter
A study of English attitudes to Scottish devolution has found no significant increase in resentment amongst English people to Scotland’s devolved position.
The social attitudes survey, carried out by NatCen Social Research, found that English people harboured no deep resentment to Scotland and there was no apparent increase in demand for an English Parliament, despite the forthcoming independence referendum.

The survey of 2589 English residents was carried out between June and October 2011, some questions were asked of only one-third of the sample.

The survey found that whilst English voters were comfortable with the current constitutional settlement, there were signs of increased frustration with some aspects of Scotland’s current position within the Union.

Although a majority of people in England have long felt that Scottish MPs should not be able to vote on English laws, the proportion that ‘strongly agree’ has now reached 31%, compared with just 18% ten years ago.

There was a minority of English people who felt Scotland got more than its fair share of public spending, but the number had risen from 32% in 2007 and now it stands at 44%.

The study also showed the proportion of English people who now support independence for Scotland was at an all time high, although still a minority at 26%

Rachel Ormston, a Research Director at NatCen Social Research and author of today’s report, said, “Although public opinion in England has been affected by debates about devolution in the UK, this does not appear so far to have translated into either a majority demand for a change to the way England is governed, or to a widespread call for Scotland to leave the Union.”

The SNP have welcomed findings which they say indicates understanding and fairness towards the people of Scotland from England as Scotland gears-up for the independence referendum campaign.

Humza Yousaf, SNP MSP for Glasgow, said:

“People from England and the rest of the UK are increasingly comfortable with the possibility of political and economic independence for Scotland.  Independence for Scotland makes sense for all the people of Scotland and England.

“The idea that Scotland gets more than its fair share of UK Government spending is not only factually wrong it is one that people in England do not subscribe to.  Hopefully this latest survey’s findings can go some way to putting this anti-independence myth to bed.

“The momentum is with independence so much so that support for independence for Scotland amongst the people of England is at an all-time high.

“As the debate takes centre stage this support will only increase as people choose to look at the facts as opposed to anti-independence scaremongering.

“Post-independence the social union between England and Scotland will be harnessed by strong trade links and increased cultural ties which will make for a successful partnership of equals.”