Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the The University of Edinburgh & Cardiff University's online course, Scotland and Wales Vote 2016: Understanding the Devolved Elections. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds So before we begin to look specifically at the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016, we thought it might be quite helpful to begin by looking at some of the history and the timeline of events since the Scottish Parliament was founded in 1999. So we begin that story in 1999 with the founding of the Scottish Parliament. And in the first four-year term of the Scottish Parliament, there was a coalition government between the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party. And then we move forward into 2003, which was the second set of elections to the Scottish Parliament. And again, after the elections a coalition government was formed between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds Moving forward to the 2007 elections to the Scottish Parliament, we see the first big change in the government. And in this election, the Labour Party suffered losses and an SNP minority administration was formed in the Scottish Parliament. After the election of the SNP minority government, the Unionist parties in the Scottish Parliament decided to set up a commission to look at the experience of the first few years of the Parliament and to recommend how the powers of the Scottish Parliament should be taken forward. So a commission was set up under the chairmanship of Sir Kenneth Calman to look into these issues.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 seconds The commission reported in 2009 and recommended that the Scottish Parliament should have further powers over raising some of the taxes that it spent, and in particular the Scottish Parliament should have the power to raise 10 pence of income tax. We then move on to perhaps the biggest event in post-evolution Scottish history, the referendum in September 2014 in which a majority of Scots voted to remain in the United Kingdom. However, before that referendum, the leaders of the main UK parties promised in what became known as the Vow that if Scottish voters voted ‘no’ to independence, then there would be further powers granted to the Scottish Parliament. These ideas were taken forward in 2015 by what became known as the Smith Commission.

Skip to 2 minutes and 29 seconds The Smith Commission reached agreement on how to implement the powers promised in the Vow and then new Scotland Bill to implement those powers was introduced by the majority Conservative government in London. And so we move right up to date into 2016, where the Scottish and UK governments have recently agreed what has been called the fiscal framework. The plan outlines by how much Scotland’s block grant will be reduced to cover the new revenue raising powers that the Scottish Parliament has been given under the Smith Commission process. In particular, the Scottish Parliament will now have the power of all of income tax in Scotland.

Skip to 3 minutes and 13 seconds So we can see that the journey from 1999 to the present elections that are coming up has seen evolution of the Scottish Parliament’s powers, and in particular the Scottish Parliament has gained much more power over fiscal matters than it had when it was first established.

A Brief History of Scottish Devolution

What has happened since the Scottish Parliament was set up in 1999? How did we reach this point? Alan Convery provides some of the background to Scottish devolution.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Scotland and Wales Vote 2016: Understanding the Devolved Elections

The University of Edinburgh