UK Parties not trusted to deliver more powers if Scots reject independence


  By a Newsnet reporter
Voters in Scotland do not trust any of the three main UK parties to deliver their promises of more powers in the event of a No vote in September’s independence referendum.
A survey carried out by Panelbase has found that where voters give a view, most do not believe promises of more powers given by Labour, the Conservatives or the Lib Dems.

When asked, “If the UK parties do make pledges regarding further devolution in the event of a No vote, do you trust them to deliver on those pledges?”

  • 42% said they did not trust Labour to honour their more powers promises, 28% trusted the party.  Nearly one third (30%) did not know.
  • 61% said they did not trust the Conservatives, against only 16% who trusted David Cameron’s party to honour its pledge. Less than a quarter (23%) said they did not know.
  • 57% said they did not trust the Lib Dems to deliver more powers against 16% who did.  Just over one quarter (27%) said they did not know.

When asked if they believed the extra powers being offered by the three main Unionist parties would match their own expectations, there was a similar pattern with more people saying they did not believe the new powers would match what they believed the Scottish Parliament should have.

  • Only 13% thought the Conservatives would offer enough new powers, 48% said they would not offer enough and 39% did not know.
  • 23% thought Labour would offer enough new powers, 34% said they would not and 43% did not know.
  • 13% said they believed the Lib Dems would offer enough new powers, 42% said they would not and 44% did not know.

The survey results will prove a sobering reminder to pro-Union strategists as they struggle with just how much to offer Scots in an attempt at luring them away from the increasingly appealing opportunities being offered by a Yes vote.  However there is sure to be concern at the level of distrust felt by many voters who appear simply not to trust London based parties to deliver on their promises.

On Thursday Newsnet Scotland published results of the latest poll on support for independence which showed Yes had closed the gap to just five points.  According to our survey, 40% now backed Yes, 45% backed No and 15% were yet to decide.

Publication of the survey results coincide with this weekend’s Scottish Labour conference and the announcement of new powers by Johann Lamont’s party should Scots vote No in the independence referendum.

However the plans, which Labour has claimed will give Holyrood control over forty per cent of tax powers, has been embroiled in controversy with experts accusing Labour of exaggerating the figure.  Think tank Reform Scotland has produced its own analysis which it says shows Labour’s package will increase the amount of tax controlled by Holyrood to 26% and not the 40% claimed.

In a TV interview on the BBC, when confronted over the dispute between Reform Scotland and her party, the Scottish Labour leader initially appeared to accept her party’s figure of 40% was inaccurate.

Challenged that the figure was “not forty per cent of taxation, it is forty per cent of revenue”, Johann Lamont replied “sure, sure”.  However the MSP later backtracked and insisted the reform Scotland analysis was wrong.

The spat is awkward for Labour MSP Duncan McNeil who is a member of Reform Scotland’s Devo-Plus group, which is calling for extra powers beyond that being offered by his own party.

The row over the extent of her party’s tax proposals follows two shambolic TV appearances by Ms Lamont in which the Scottish Labour leader appeared not to understand some of the key implications contained in her party’s plans for more devolution.

[Newsnet Scotland last night passed our full survey tables to BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland, and its two presenters Isabel Fraser and Bill Whiteford.]