A report examined issues of social justice in the context of the debates around Scottish independence and the forthcoming referendum in September 2014. The report drew together arguments regarding: a post-independence Scottish currency; economic development; the empowerment and security of wealth producers; fiscal powers to redistribute income; public services; and issues of democracy, human rights, and equalities. It concluded that key parties to the referendum debates had not been willing to challenge consistently the orthodoxies that had created the prevailing conditions of inequality, and offered critiques of the independence debates.
Source: A Just Scotland 3, Scottish Trades Union Congress
A journal issue published a range of articles on the topic of small country independence, including a number of articles on Scotland.
Source: Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Volume 30 Number 2
Links: Table of contents
Notes: Articles included:
David Comerford and David Eiser, 'Constitutional change and inequality in Scotland'
David Bell, Allan Findlay, David McCollum, and Robert Wright, 'Labour migration policy and constitutional change in Scotland'
Angus Armstrong and Monique Ebell, 'Assets and liabilities and Scottish independence'
A report examined how local councils in Scotland could adequately consider social and community risks when making cuts to services, considered barriers to better risk assessment and how to overcome these, and examined opportunities to promote risk assessment through new policies on joint working.
Source: Darinka Asenova and Bill Stein, Assessing the Social and Community Risks of Council Spending Cuts in Scotland, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A new book examined sixteen questions that were considered to be central to the debates regarding Scottish independence from the United Kingdom.
Source: Charlie Jeffery and Ray Perman (eds), Scotland's Decision: 16 questions to think about for the referendum on 18 September, Birlinn
A paper examined the future of human rights in Scotland, in the context of debates leading up to the 2014 independence referendum. Building on an earlier paper, it identified three priorities for action: the implementation of Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights; continued and concerted efforts to embed a culture for human rights into everyday life, including in public services; and the incorporation of all international human rights into Scotland's own laws.
Source: Human Rights in Scotland's Future, Scottish Human Rights Commission
A report outlined the Scottish Government's views on European Union reform and outlined its assessment of the impact on Scotland of the balance of competences between the European Union and the member states. It said that the Scottish Government valued Scotland's position within the EU and was committed to influencing the future direction of union. It said that the restoration of public confidence should be a key priority for the incoming European Commission and European Parliament, and should inform the strategic work programme of both institutions.
Source: Scotland's Agenda for EU Reform, Scottish Government
A report by a committee of MPs said that the forthcoming referendum on Scottish Independence would have an impact on all United Kingdom citizens and businesses, and concluded that the economic interests of Scotland would best be served by remaining part of the UK. The committee had taken evidence on issues within the business area of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and said: that there was no certainty that breaking up the UK single market would have economic benefits; that the United Kingdom and Scottish governments should publish their legal advice on the status of Scotland and the European Union; that there was uncertainty about the provisions for a Scottish currency and that, given the UK government's views on currency union, the Scottish government should now set out its plans for an alternative system; and that charging non-domiciled United Kingdom students attending Scottish universities would be incompatible with European Union membership. The report also discussed research funding, and raised a number of questions about proposals for Scottish postal services.
Source: The Implications of Scottish Independence on Business; Higher Education and Research; and Postal Services, Fourth Report (Session 2014 15), HC 504, House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, TSO
A report by a committee of MPs said that the Scottish Government had not properly costed its post-independence proposals for public and private pensions, and that, in the event of a vote in favour of independence, there was doubt over whether a new benefits system could be set up by the proposed implementation deadline of 2018.
Source: The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Implications for pensions and benefits, First Report (Session 201415), HC 498, House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee, TSO
A report examined the costs and transition processes involved in establishing independence in Scotland. The report said that there would be immediate set-up costs of up to £200 million in creating new administrative structures that duplicated those of United Kingdom institutions, but that the new administration could also streamline many public bodies. It considered the possibility of sharing back office support systems with London for functions such as taxation, benefits systems, and defence, and said that, although Scotland would need to create its own information technology infrastructure, with associated costs, this would have the technical benefits of a modern system and some costs could be offset by policy savings. The report said that the nature of negotiations between Scotland and the rest of the UK government would influence the level of costs, and that some existing uncertainties arose from the currently low level of engagement in transition planning.
Source: Patrick Dunleavy, with Sean Kippin and Joel Suss, Transitioning to a New Scottish State: Immediate set-up costs, how the handover would work, and the long-run viability of Scottish government, Democratic Audit/LSE Politics and Policy
A report examined how Scottish devolution should change if the referendum in September 2014 did not lead to Scottish independence.
Source: Commission on the Future Governance of Scotland, Scottish Conservatives
The Scottish Government began consultation on the Scottish Independence Bill, which (subject to the outcome of the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence) would provide for Scotland to become an independent state in March 2016, and which set out a draft interim constitution. The consultation would close on 20 October 2014.
Source: The Scottish Independence Bill: A consultation on an interim constitution for Scotland, Scottish Government
A report examined options for creating a new welfare system in an independent Scotland, building on an earlier report that had considered the costs, delivery and transition, and priorities for welfare reform in the event of constitutional change. The report made recommendations for the short-term that included: re-establishing a link between benefits and the cost of living, with benefits and tax credits increased each year by inflation; for the national minimum wage to rise in stages to equal the living wage (subject to certain economic conditions having been met); the abolition of the size criteria (commonly referred to as the 'bedroom tax'), and the replacement of benefit sanctions with a new system; a new social security allowance, to merge existing benefits (except housing benefit) into a single payment; an increased carer's allowance; new employment initiatives to replace the work programme; and a new assessment system for people with disabilities, together with a new social security benefit to replace disability living allowance and the personal independence payment. In the medium term, the report recommended focusing on supporting people with long-term disability and illness into work, a more supportive housing market, a more personalized approach to welfare, and the renewal of trust.
Source: Re-thinking Welfare: Fair, personal and simple, The Expert Working Group on Welfare
A special issue of a journal examined a range of issues relating to the Scottish referendum on independence that was due to take place in September 2014.
Source: Scottish Affairs, Volume 23 Issue 3
Links: Table of contents
Notes: Articles included:
Keith Shaw, '"Our friends in the north": responses to the independence debate in the North East and Cumbria'
Meryl Kenny, 'Engendering the independence debate'
Daniel Kenealy, 'Much ado about (Scotland in) Europe'
The United Kingdom Government published its final report in the Scotland analysis programme, outlining its case for Scotland to remain part of the UK.
Source: United Kingdom, United Future: Conclusions of the Scotland analysis programme, Cm 8869, HM Treasury, TSO
The Scottish Government published a prospectus for Scotland's islands, to be implemented subject to the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum, and to be followed then by formal consultation and any necessary legislation. The proposals included: a Bill for an Islands Act to place a duty on the Scottish Government and other public bodies to 'island-proof' their functions and decisions, and create a post of 'Minister for Island Communities'; the extension of enterprise areas at Arnish, Lyness, and Hatston to 2020; support for the establishment of island innovation zones; allocation of 100 per cent of the net income from the islands' sea bed leasing revenues to island communities rather than to central government, and commitments regarding the development of aquaculture; and commitments regarding the impact of oil and gas activities.
Source: Island Areas Ministerial Working Group, Empowering Scotland's Island Communities, Scottish Government
An article examined whether an independent Scotland would set a different poverty standard compared with the rest of the United Kingdom, based on a consensual or democratic poverty measure (defined by majority views of the 'necessities of life'). The article said that attitudes were similar in Scotland to the rest of the United Kingdom, and the analysis suggested that, at least in the short term, Scotland would be unlikely to set a different social minimum.
Source: Maria Gannon and Nick Bailey, 'Attitudes to the "necessities of life": would an independent Scotland set a different poverty standard to the rest of the UK?', Social Policy and Society, Volume 13 Issue 3
A think-tank paper said that the Scottish National Party's proposals for Scottish independence were 'unrealistic' in key areas of currency, fiscal and monetary policy, and European Union membership.
Source: Toby Fenwick, Scottish Independence: A political and economic appraisal, CentreForum
A report examined economic, social, and political motivations in the Scottish referendum debate. Drawing on a survey of people in Scotland, it said that support for independence was related to a wide variety of economic beliefs and preferences, including beliefs that independence would bring better debt and inflation outcomes, but risk aversion shaped voting intentions. The report said that males had higher levels of support for independence than females, older age groups showed lower levels of support, and those born in Scotland were twice as likely to support independence than residents who were born elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
Source: David Bell, Liam Delaney, and Michael McGoldrick, Citizen Preferences for Constitutional Change in Scotland, University of Stirling
A survey of Scottish businesses examined views on the independence debate, including views on: the issues that firms found important; their perceptions of potential risks and opportunities; options regarding currency arrangements and European Union membership; and views on whether the Scottish Parliament should be given greater powers. The report said that the independence issue was important to businesses, but that the quality of the debate was considered poor. There was a strong preference to retain both sterling and European Union membership and, in the event of a 'no' vote, for the Scottish Government to be given greater powers.
Source: David Bell and Michael McGoldrick, Business Attitudes to Constitutional Change, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
A report by a committee of MSPs examined issues relating to Scotland's membership of the European Union following independence. The report examined evidence on three themes: an independent Scotland in the European Union; the road to membership and Scotland's representation in the EU; and small states in the EU. The committee concluded that the balance of evidence supported the principle of post-independence membership, and the evidence on the value to small states had, overall, been positive. It said that, although the debate had been furthered by the report, the committee also recognized the concerns of some witnesses regarding the lack of certainty about the process for membership, the complexity of the process, and the demanding timescales, as well as the contrasting views of some regarding the use of Article 48 as a legal route to membership, and the idea that membership could be agreed within eighteen months.
Source: Report on the Scottish Government's Proposals for an Independent Scotland: Membership of the European Union, 2nd Report 2014, SP Paper 530, Scottish Parliament European and External Relations Committee
An article examined strategic partnerships in Scotland. It discussed the historical contingency of 'joined-up government', and the practices and meanings of 'strategic' and 'partnerships'. It said that strategic partnership working created barriers to community empowerment and engagement.
Source: Peter Matthews, 'Being strategic in partnership interpreting local knowledge of modern local government', Local Government Studies, Volume 40 Issue 3
A report by a committee of peers said that in the event of a vote in favour of Scottish independence, the United Kingdom would retain its existing international status and institutions, and that an independent Scotland would be a new 'successor' state. The committee said that this would have significant implications for negotiations about independence following a 'yes' vote and would affect how assets and liabilities would be apportioned, with certain assets apportioned in accordance with legal principles and other assets and liabilities subject to political negotiations. The report discussed arrangements for the period between the vote and subsequent independence, and the need for United Kingdom legislation to end the United Kingdom's jurisdiction over Scotland. It said that there would be no constitutional or legal necessity to adhere to the Scottish Government's proposed timetable of independence in March 2016.
Source: Scottish Independence: Constitutional implications of the referendum, 8th Report (Session 201314), HL 188, House of Lords Constitution Select Committee, TSO
A report by a committee of MPs said that an independent Scotland was unlikely to have its application to join the European Union accepted within the timetable, or with the terms, that the Scottish Government was proposing. It said that Scotland would have an interim period outside the European Union, with uncertain interim arrangements. The committee said that the Scottish Government's view that Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union could be used to provide for Scottish membership was not supported by any other EU state, senior EU figures, or the United Kingdom Government (which would, under this process, have to initiate it). The report warned of possible consequences in policy areas such as student fees, criminal justice, and VAT, and the loss to Scotland of the UK's EU budget rebate. It said that the Scottish Government needed to provide Scottish voters with a more realistic alternative perspective of how joining the European Union would be achieved, and what its likely terms and timetable would be.
Source: The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Scotland's membership of the EU, Twelfth Report (Session 201314), HC 1241, House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee, TSO
A report examined the potential impact of Scottish independence on energy markets and energy bills.
Source: Scotland Analysis: Energy, Cm 8826, Department for Energy and Climate Change, TSO
A report examined the implications of Scottish independence for businesses. It set out a number of benefits, costs and risks for Scottish businesses in four areas: funding costs; corporation tax; trade; and private pensions. It concluded that, although an independent Scottish economy could thrive, and the overall impact would vary by sector and size of business, there would be one off and ongoing costs and uncertainties and fewer, more uncertain, benefits.
Source: The Potential Implications of Independence for Businesses in Scotland, Oxford Economics
A paper examined the implications of Scottish independence for social security – including state, private and public sector pensions – and supporting people into work. It said that Scotland saw current benefits from some areas of devolved policy, but there was mutual benefit for people and employers from United Kingdom-wide aspects such as uniformity of benefits, a single job market, pooling of risks, and an established social security infrastructure that would be costly to reproduce and run in Scotland. It said that expenditure on pensioners would rise more over the next 20 years in Scotland compared with the UK as a whole, and outlined the potential consequences for spending, taxation, and benefits levels.
Source: Scotland Analysis: Work and pensions, Cm 8849, Department for Work and Pensions, TSO
A report provided the interim findings from the Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy, which was established to 'identify a route map to deliver the full benefits of a shift in power towards local democracy for people in Scotland'. It said that local democracy was ailing because its institutional base was perceived to be large scale, remote, depowered, and lacking capacity to respond flexibly to communities. The report outlined a range of recommendations regarding community empowerment and fiscal decentralization. The work of the commission would continue, to establish how the recommendations could be put into practice, and would be due to report in late summer 2014.
Source: Interim Report, Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy in Scotland
The Scottish Government began consultation on proposals to make changes that aimed to strengthen and improve electoral processes and encourage wider democratic engagement. The consultation would close on 11 July 2014.
Source: Scotland's Electoral Future: Delivering improvements in participation and administration, Scottish Government
A new book examined the case for Scottish independence, arguing that a progressive referendum campaign in favour of independence could alter the political landscape, even if a 'no' vote ensued.
Source: Pete Ramand and James Foley, Yes: The radical case for Scottish independence, Pluto Press
A think-tank report examined influences on the political views of young people, drawing on data from a project on the Scottish referendum on independence. It said that young people were not less interested in politics than adults, that they were engaging with the referendum decision, and, while there was a likelihood that parents' views influenced their children, there was no evidence to suggest that children would copy their parents' voting.
Source: Jan Eichhorn, Anne Heyer, and Christine Huebner, Who Influences the Formation of Political Attitudes and Decisions in Young People? Evidence from the referendum on Scottish independence, d | part
A think-tank report examined whether there was a case for transferring further powers regarding welfare benefits to the devolved assemblies of the United Kingdom. It said that devolution of some aspects of welfare would require greater fiscal devolution, but could enable more joined-up policy approaches, reflect local circumstance, and improve social and economic outcomes in the devolved nations. The report suggested devolving housing benefit, the work programme, and responsibility for childcare, with levels of benefits set by the UK government as a minimum level, capable of supplement by the devolved governments.
Source: Guy Lodge and Alan Trench, Devo More and Welfare: Devolving benefits and policy for a stronger union, Institute for Public Policy Research
A report examined the Scottish Government's economic plan for independence. It said that the plan did not offer a coherent economic vision, and did not address issues of deficit reduction. It raised concerns about the uncertainty over Scotland's future relationship with the European Union, a range of potential impacts on Scottish business, and the lack of clarity over the continued use of sterling as currency. It concluded that Scotland would benefit from remaining part of the United Kingdom.
Source: The Scottish Government's Plans for Independence: An analysis from business, Confederation of British Industry
A report provided the findings from the Scottish Labour Devolution Commission on how the present constitutional arrangements for Scottish devolution could be improved. The report argued that the United Kingdom was a union with interconnected economic, social, and political dimensions and said that a number of core matters should remain reserved to the United Kingdom parliament, including: financial and economic matters (monetary policy, the currency, regulation, debt management, and employment law); foreign affairs (including international development) and defence; pensions and the majority of cash benefits; the constitution; and immigration. Areas recommended for further devolution included: new rights to set variable rates of income tax (including setting a new higher rate); some benefits (such as housing benefit and disability benefits); some aspects relating to local government; and administrative control over its own electoral system.
Source: Scottish Labour Devolution Commission, Powers for a Purpose: Strengthening accountability and empowering people, Scottish Labour
A report by a committee of peers said that national parliaments could and should contribute actively to the functioning of the European Union. The report highlighted five areas where effectiveness could be improved: in their scrutiny of their own activities on European Union matters; in dialogue between the national and EU level; in scrutinizing EU legislation (the 'reasoned opinion' procedure); in inter-parliamentary co-operation; and in economic and financial governance.
Source: The Role of National Parliaments in the European Union, Ninth Report (Session 201314), HL 151, House of Lords European Union Select Committee, TSO
A paper examined the implications of Scottish independence for the financial services industry in Scotland.
Source: Referendum on Scottish Independence A briefing paper for members of Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) on the implications for the Scottish financial services industry, Scottish Financial Enterprise
A report from the Scottish government set out its considerations on the balance of competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union, and its priorities for reforming European Union law and policy within the existing framework of the treaties. The report highlighted perceived benefits of Scottish European Union membership in policy areas such as: trade and investment; environment and climate change; and energy. It noted the complexities that arose from a United Kingdom-wide membership of the European Union alongside Scotland's devolved powers, and made recommendations for change.
Source: Scotland's Priorities for EU Reform, Scottish Government
A themed section of a journal examined the economic consequences of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom.
Source: National Institute Economic Review Number 227
Notes: Articles included:
Michael Keating and Malcolm Harvey, 'The political economy of small European states: and lessons for Scotland'
Katerina Lisenkova and Marcel Merette, 'Can an ageing Scotland afford independence?'
David Bell, David Comerford, and David Eiser, 'Funding pensions in Scotland: would independence matter?'
The United Kingdom government published a report (as part of a series of pre-referendum reports) outlining its views on the implications of Scotland's independence for foreign policy, its diplomatic network, and its international relationships, including membership of the European Union.
Source: Scotland Analysis: EU and international issues, Cm 8765, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, TSO
The United Kingdom government published a report (as part of a series of pre-referendum reports) outlining the implications of Scottish independence for borders and citizenship.
Source: Scotland Analysis: Borders and citizenship, Cm 8726, Home Office, TSO