SCOTS are four times more likely to trust Nicola Sturgeon’s government than Westminster politicians to work for their interests, a new independent study has found.
The research, carried out between August 2019 and March 2020 and doesn’t take the handling of the Covid-19 lockdown into account, found that four times as many people trust the Scottish Government to work in the country’s best interests.
The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey revealed that only 15 per cent of Scots trust the UK Government to work in Scotland’s best interests.
The SNP claimed the research was proof the UK Government has “spent years ignoring Scotland’s interests”.
The study has been conducted by the independent research organisation, ScotCen Social Research, almost every year since devolution in 1999. Levels of trust in the Scottish Government to act in Scotland’s best interests and to make fair decisions have been consistently higher than trust in the UK Government since the survey began.
Views were evently split on which government has the most influence over how Scotland is run – but almost three-quarters, 73 per cent, thought the Scottish Government should have the most influence over how Scotland is governed, compared with just 15 per cent who thought the UK Government ought to have the most influence.
The proportions of people who think the Scottish Government is good at listening to people before taking decisions, and that the Scottish Parliament gives ordinary people more say in how Scotland is governed, have increased by 19 and 25 per cent respectively since 2004.
Those asked said that the Scottish Government’s priorities should be economic growth (23 per cent), improve standards of education (18 per cent) and improve people’s health (17 per cent).
Before the coronavirus lockdown, 42 per cent thought the economy had weakened a little or a lot in the past 12 months, down from 50 per cent in 2017 – while 17 per cent of those asked thought the economy had strengthened. Of those who said the economy had weakened, 54 per cent thought this was as a result of UK Government policies, while 19 per cent thought the Scottish Government was to blame.
Almost 50 per cent of Scots said that general living standards have fallen a lot or a little over the last year – while only 16 per cent said the situation has improvement. Of those who claimed standards had fallen, 57 per cent blamed the drop on UK Government policies and 17 per cent thought the Scottish Government was to blame.
More than half of people in Scotland thought the government should increase taxes and spend more on health, education and social benefits, while 37 per cent said taxation and spending should be kept the same and four per cent thought taxation and spending should be reduced.
SNP depute leader, Keith Brown, said: “This survey is an extraordinary endorsement of the SNP’s record in government, which is delivering the best public services anywhere in the UK and investing record amounts into our schools, police and our economy.
“Meanwhile, the Brexit fiasco that has engulfed Westminster and threatened our economy for years now has steadily eroded almost all faith in the UK Government.”
He added: “None of this should come as any surprise to the Tories – they have spent years ignoring Scotland’s interests and clear democratic wishes so can have no complaints when trust in them evaporates. Frankly, you reap what you sow.
“And let’s remember that this survey was taken before the Dominic Cummings scandal.
“We will continue to work tirelessly in the best interests of Scotland and will stand on our record in government in next May’s election.”
A UK Government spokesperson said: “The UK Government works for people in all parts of Scotland.
“The value of that support, and the importance of the Union, has never been more important than over the past few months. UK Government schemes have supported more than 930,000 jobs in Scotland, a third of the workforce, and given crucial support to Scottish businesses.
“The UK Government is providing mass covid testing across the country and we have given the Scottish Government an additional £6.5 billion to cope with the pressures of the pandemic.
“We will continue to work to support the economic recovery of all parts of the UK, to protect jobs and help businesses through the uncertain months ahead.”