11 September 1997: Scotland votes for devolution

In a referendum held on this day in 1997, Scotland voted for a devolved assembly, and greater tax-raising powers.

Many Scots opposed the decision to unite with England and Wales in 1707. But the retention of separate legal systems and religious arrangements greatly reduced opposition, and after the failure of the Jacobite Rising of 1745-1746, it was not until the late-19th century that demands for Irish Home Rule led to demands for a similar process in Scotland. In 1913, a bill for Scottish devolution progressed through the House of Commons, but the start of World War I forced it to be dropped.

After the war, all the major parties opposed devolution. In 1969, the discovery of North Sea oil put it back on the agenda. The Labour government held a referendum in March 1979. Voters voted (narrowly) for devolution, but the poll failed to win the backing of 40% of Scotland's population. The Scottish National Party (SNP) lost all but two seats at the June general election.

During the 1980s, support for devolution gradually grew. Fearing they would be denied a majority by the SNP, Labour adopted Scottish and Welsh devolution as a policy in 1995. After their landslide victory in 1997, they held simultaneous referendums that September, on the principle of devolution, and whether a devolved assembly should have tax-raising powers. Scots votes backed both ideas with large majorities (though less than 40% of the overall electorate voted for tax-raising powers).

While many hoped that devolution would reduce the demand for full independence, the SNP formed a minority government in Edinburgh after the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. the 2014 independence referendum was won by the "No" camp, but some polls now suggest that a second referendum would result in independence.

Recommended

Bitcoin mania: private currencies are nothing new
Bitcoin

Bitcoin mania: private currencies are nothing new

The idea is gaining ground that bitcoin and the plethora of other new currencies are here to stay. But the existence of private currencies operating p…
15 Apr 2021
Too embarrassed to ask: what’s the difference between producer price inflation and consumer price inflation?
Too embarrassed to ask

Too embarrassed to ask: what’s the difference between producer price inflation and consumer price inflation?

Two of the most important indicators for the economy are “producer price inflation” and “consumer price inflation”. But what are they and what do they…
13 Apr 2021
How the Covid-19 vaccine crisis is putting the EU in danger
EU Economy

How the Covid-19 vaccine crisis is putting the EU in danger

The botched coronavirus vaccine campaign will cause long-term harm to the EU's economy, says Matthew Lynn.
4 Apr 2021
1 April 1999: The minimum wage is introduced in Britain
This day in history

1 April 1999: The minimum wage is introduced in Britain

On this day in 1999, the national minimum wage was introduced in Britain, bringing an instant pay rise to 1.9 million low-paid workers.
1 Apr 2021

Most Popular

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it
Bitcoin

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it

The cryptocurrency’s price has soared far beyond its fundamentals, says Matthew Partridge. Here, he looks at how to short bitcoin.
12 Apr 2021
What does the Coinbase listing mean for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
Bitcoin

What does the Coinbase listing mean for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

As the bitcoin price hit new highs, the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, listed on the stockmarket. John Stepek looks at what that m…
15 Apr 2021
Properties for sale for around £400,000
Houses for sale

Properties for sale for around £400,000

From a converted church in Banffshire with views towards the Cairngorms National Park, to a period property in the Georgian market town of Beverley, e…
2 Apr 2021