Election 2015 Scotland

Election 2015: Survey examines attitudes to more Scottish powers

Collage: EU flag, Smith Commission, UK Border, Trident Image copyright PA

Voters appear to want more powers for the Scottish Parliament - beyond the proposals currently on offer, according to a new poll commissioned by BBC Scotland.

However, the nation seems divided over whether there should be another referendum on independence in the near future.

Pollsters Ipsos Mori asked voters to give a score out of 10 to a range of policies which could be implemented by the next UK government.

A ranking of one meant it should not be implemented, while 10 meant it should be implemented immediately.

Ipsos Mori surveyed more than 1,000 adults between 19 and 25 March.

Click here to see the full results.

Many of those questioned seemed to favour going beyond the Smith Commission proposals, which suggested that Holyrood should control income tax rates and bands as well as some welfare benefits.

Voter views

What's the score out of 10?

  • Give Holyrood full control of income tax 6.8

  • Increase top rate of tax to 50p 7.2

  • Increase minimum wage to £7.85 8.2

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The most popular of the policy statements in this category was that of giving Holyrood the power to increase benefits and old age pensions, which scored 7.3 out of 10 on the scale.

Close behind was the notion that the Scottish Parliament should have full control of welfare benefits, with a score of 7.1.


Analysis

Mark Diffley, Ipsos Mori Scotland

Scots appear to place a greater emphasis on embedding and extending powers at Holyrood parliament than on holding a second independence referendum.

When asked to give a score of between 1 and 10, where 10 is an important priority and should be done quickly, each of the four issues relating to additional powers for the Scottish Parliament achieved high average scores.

Giving Holyrood power to increase benefits and pensions achieved an average score of 7.3 out of 10, a little higher than devolving full control of welfare benefits (7.1), full control of income tax (6.8) and full control of all policy other than defence and foreign affairs (6.5).

Interestingly, analysis shows that, for each of these issues, support is higher among groups who are more likely to have voted 'Yes' in last year's referendum.

Read Mark's analysis of the poll.


The idea that Holyrood should have full control of income tax was given a score of 6.8.

Still popular, but a bit further down the ranking with a score of 6.5, was the suggestion that Holyrood should control all areas of policy apart from defence and foreign affairs - what most analysts call full fiscal autonomy.

The results of the poll suggested that voters would rather have a referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union than another referendum on Scottish independence.

Voters gave the policy statement "hold another referendum on Scottish independence within the next five years" a score of 5.6 out of 10.

Voter views

What's the score out of 10?

  • Cap amount paid in welfare to a household 6.3

  • Limit numbers coming to live in UK 6.3

  • Give Holyrood full control of welfare 7.1

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The policy statement "hold a referendum to ask people whether they wish to stay in or leave the European Union" was slightly more popular, with a score of 6.1 out of 10.

The idea of stopping immigrants from the rest of the European Union from claiming welfare benefits until they have been in the UK for four years scored 6.8.

The policy of putting a limit on the number of people coming to live in the UK was less popular, with a score of 6.3.


Analysis

John Curtice, Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

As ever, how much the next government should spend and how much it should tax is proving to be one of the central issues of the UK general election campaign.

And there seems to be little doubt as to where the majority of Scots stand on this issue, at least if the evidence of BBC Scotland's issues poll is to be believed.

The poll strongly suggests that:

  • Scots want spending increases more than they do tax cuts
  • are relatively unconcerned about eliminating the deficit
  • are happy to see the rich pay more in tax.

Read Professor Curtice's analysis of the poll


Increasing the amount spent on the armed forces was scored 6.2.

However, renewing and upgrading the Trident nuclear deterrent, came joint last in the poll of priorities, with a score of 4.0.

The poll also indicated some support for bringing the railways back into public ownership - this scored 6.5 out of 10.

"Ensuring authorities cannot access personal data unless an individual is suspected of taking part in an illegal activity" was among the most popular policy statements tested, with a score of 7.6.


Full results of poll, ranked from highest to lowest:

  1. Increase the minimum wage for those aged 21 and over from £6.50 to £7.85 per hour (8.2)
  2. Guarantee that old age pensions will rise over the next five years (7.9)
  3. Stop energy companies from increasing prices for 20 months (7.7)
  4. Ensure authorities cannot access personal data unless an individual is suspected of taking part in an illegal activity (7.6)
  5. Introduce a tax on homes worth more than two million pounds, commonly known as the Mansion Tax (7.4)
  6. Give the Scottish Parliament the power to increase benefits and old age pensions (7.3)
  7. Increase the top rate of tax to 50p in the pound for those earning more than £150,000 a year (7.2)
  8. Give the Scottish Parliament full control of welfare benefits (7.1)
  9. Stop immigrants from the rest of the European Union from claiming welfare benefits until they have been in the UK for at least four years (6.8)
  10. Give the Scottish Parliament full control of income tax (6.8)
  11. Give the Scottish Parliament control of all areas of policy apart from Defence and Foreign Affairs (6.5)
  12. Bring the railways into public ownership (6.5)
  13. Increase spending on public services even if that means the deficit doesn't get eliminated by the end of the next Parliament in 2020 (6.3)
  14. Put a cap on the total amount paid in welfare benefits to a household (6.3)
  15. Impose a limit on the number of people coming to live in the UK (6.3)
  16. Increase the amount spent on the armed forces (6.2)
  17. Hold a referendum to ask people whether they wish to stay in or leave the European Union (6.1)
  18. Reduce the amount the government borrows by cutting spending rather than by increasing taxes (5.7)
  19. Hold another referendum on Scottish independence within the next five years (5.6)
  20. Charge better-off older people for some things which are currently free to all older people (5.2)
  21. Eliminate the deficit by the end of the next Parliament in 2020 even if that means reduced spending on public services (4.6)
  22. Reduce taxes even if that means cutting public services (4.0)
  23. Renew and upgrade Trident, Britain's nuclear deterrent (4.0)

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