chapter  1
19 Pages

Understanding British politics

This chapter evaluates the character and the prospects of the post-devolution state. The creation of devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has added a new tier of government to the UKs multi-level polity. Labour's devolution settlement was asymmetric: each of the devolved institutions was given different powers and distinctive features. The Scottish Parliament initially had legislative and tax-varying powers, whereas the Welsh Assembly had only secondary legislative powers. Post-devolution politics in Scotland and Wales has been more consensual, inclusive and transparent. There is a different atmosphere in the devolved assemblies: they have different procedures and most politicians have no experience of Westminster. The devolution of some tax and welfare competences is in the pipeline, but this may not be enough to satisfy Scottish demands for greater autonomy. Wales is set to move to a reserved powers model and hold a referendum on the devolution of powers over income tax.