By a Newsnet reporter
A new survey of Scottish voters has indicated that most people in Scotland want a minimum of Devo-Max following the independence referendum.
According to the latest Scottish Social Attitudes survey, almost two thirds of people want the Scottish Government to make all decisions, or all with the exception of foreign affairs and defence, against only 25% who want minimal extra powers.
The survey interviewed 1,497 adults face to face between 25th June and 23rd October last year and found:
– The Scottish Parliament should make all the decisions for Scotland – 31%
– The UK government should make decisions about defence and foreign affairs; the Scottish Parliament should decide everything else – 32%
– The UK government should make decisions about taxes, benefits and defence and foreign affairs; the Scottish Parliament should decide the rest – 25%
– The UK government should make all decisions for Scotland – 8%
– (Don’t know) – 3%
Commenting on the results, SNP MSP Bruce Crawford – who chairs the Scottish Parliament’s Referendum Bill Committee – said:
“These figures show that there is a strong majority for key areas such as pensions, welfare, taxation and the financial powers needed to transform childcare to be decided in the Scottish Parliament rather than by Westminster – and the only way to gain these powers is to vote Yes in September.
“Sixty-three per cent of people in Scotland want either ‘devo-max’ – which would decide everything in Scotland apart from defence and foreign affairs – or independence. And independence is already six-points more popular than the status quo.
“Westminster refused point-blank to include ‘devo-max’ on the referendum ballot paper – so the only way to achieve the powers over pensions, welfare and tax which the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland want is to vote Yes for an independent Scotland.
“Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has already said that the anti-independence parties will not agree on a ‘more powers’ offer. And Labour MPs and other senior figures are fighting tooth and nail to stop the Scottish Parliament getting any more powers.”
The poll, which took place over four months ago, was carried out before a string of polls showed the Yes campaign increasing support.
It also took place prior to the damaging split within Scottish Labour that saw several senior figures refuse to back plans from Johann Lamont for income tax to be fully devolved. The row led to threats by some Scottish Labour MPs to boycott their own party conference.
Mr Crawford added: “Scottish Labour MPs are threatening to boycott their party conference, further undermining Johann Lamont’s leadership. This followed senior figures Ian Davidson MP, Ken Macintosh MSP, and a member of Labour’s own Devolution Commission, Willie Young, coming out in favour of maintaining the status quo.
“It is only with a Yes vote this September that we can achieve the powers Scotland needs to succeed, including better pensions and tranforming childcare.”
The survey will pile pressure on all three Unionist parties to come up with a clearly defined package of extra powers prior to the referendum, should Scots vote No. However as yet this looks unlikely, with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson last week ruling out such a consensus.