Full fiscal autonomy for Scotland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Devo-Plus" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Devo Plus.
Not to be confused with Calman Plus, Home Rule, or Asymmetric federalism.
Flag of Scotland.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Full fiscal autonomy (sometimes referred to as devolution max,[1] devo-max,[2] fiscal federalism,[3] independence lite,[4] or independence-minus,[5]) is a particular form of far-reaching devolution proposed for Scotland. The term has come to describe a constitutional arrangement in which instead of receiving a block grant from the UK Exchequer as at present, the Scottish Parliament would receive all taxation levied in Scotland; it would be responsible for most spending in Scotland, but would make payments to the UK government to cover Scotland's share of the cost of providing certain UK-wide services, including, at a minimum, defence and the conduct of foreign relations. Scottish fiscal autonomy, stopping short of full political independence, is usually promoted by advocates of a federal or confederal constitution for the United Kingdom.

It was once proposed that a greater percentage of those who support further moves towards Scottish independence support a move to greater fiscal autonomy while a greater percentage of those who wish to retain the Union between Scotland and the rest of the UK would be opposed. However, as the debate unfolds a move towards fiscal autonomy could be considered as a compromise by advocates of both sides. As early as July 2001, former Conservative Party chancellor Kenneth Clarke, said he believed fiscal autonomy would be "disastrous for the Scottish economy".[6] On the other hand, Robert Crawford, the former head of Scottish Enterprise, said in February 2004 that the Scottish economy "could be improved" by fiscal autonomy.[7]

David Cameron, the present leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister, stated in 2005 that he would not stand in the way of handing full taxation powers to the Scottish Parliament if the idea was supported by the Scottish Conservative Party.[8]

The 2011 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey core finding was that while 32% of respondents supported Scottish independence,[9] 43% supported greater autonomy within the UK. 29% of respondents supported devo-max, while only 21% supported the status quo.[10]

Since the 2011 election of a SNP majority government[edit]

The election of a majority Scottish National Party Government in May 2011, committed to holding an independence referendum, also brought the possibility that Fiscal Autonomy could be an extra option in the vote.[11] Some senior Labour Party figures have also suggested that they would support devo max, including Malcolm Chisholm MSP,[12] Mark Lazarowicz MP,[13] and former First Minister Henry McLeish.[1] The "devo-max" option was not included in the 2014 independence referendum, however, as the Edinburgh Agreement stipulated that the referendum had to be a clear binary choice between independence or the existing devolution arrangements.[14]

A public opinion poll carried out at the end of October 2011 for the BBC Politics Show indicated that devo-max was the most popular option with Scottish voters: 33% backed devo-max, 28% supported independence and 29% backed no further constitutional change.[15] A public opinion poll carried out in March 2013 for the SNP, however, indicated that 52% of respondents believed the Scottish Government should be responsible for all tax and spending decisions in Scotland. 53% of respondents also believed that the Scottish Government would be best suited to decide welfare and pensions policy for Scotland.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McLeish reiterates support for devo-max www.holyrood.com, accessed 23 October 2011
  2. ^ "Embrace devo-max, Labour told". The Scotsman. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  3. ^ MacDonald, Ronald; Hallwood, Paul (Jul 2004). "The Economic Case for Fiscal Federalism in Scotland". Working papers. Stamford: University of Connecticut, Department of Economics. p. 95. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Maddox, David (16 December 2011). "Scotland Bill: Devo-max would be Alex Salmond’s poll tax and result in a policy mess, says finance expert". The Scotsman (Edinburgh: Johnston Publishing Ltd.). Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  5. ^ Freedland, Jonathan (28 December 2011). "Alex Salmond's spell could swing it for Scottish independence". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Clarke warns on Scots freedom
  7. ^ Crawford backs fiscal autonomy
  8. ^ "Cameron says Scotland can have fiscal autonomy if Tories want it". The Scotsman (Johnston Publishing). 21 December 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Dinwoodie, Robbie (5 December 2011). "Independence support climbs to six-year high". The Herald (Glasgow). Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Carrell, Severin (5 December 2011). "Scots back independence – but at a price, survey finds". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Scotland independence vote could contain 'financial autonomy' option www.guardian.co.uk, 8 May 2011
  12. ^ Malcolm Chisholm: Labour must support Devo-Max and abandon Calman newsnetscotland.com, accessed 23 October 2011
  13. ^ Salmond gives backing to ‘devo max’ ballot choice www.scotsman.com, 23 October 2011
  14. ^ Black, Andrew (15 October 2012). "Scottish independence: Cameron and Salmond strike referendum deal". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "BBC survey indicates support for Scottish 'devo-max'". BBC News. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Poll: Majority want all decisions made in Scotland". 23 March 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 

External links[edit]