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71% feel Holyrood should blame Westminster less with arrival of new powers

The new powers will see MSPs take responsibility for income tax and some benefits.
The new powers will see MSPs take responsibility for income tax and some benefits.

Nearly three-quarters of Scots believe Holyrood politicians should blame Westminster less when new powers are devolved to Edinburgh.

A new opinion poll found 71% of voters agreed the changes, which will see MSPs take responsibility for income tax and some benefits, will mean the Scottish Parliament will be more accountable than ever before.

The same proportion believed the move “means that Scottish politicians should blame Westminster politicians less about issues that Scotland now has more power to change”.

Polling firm Survation asked more than 2,000 people a series of questions about the transfer of additional powers to Holyrood.

The research, which was carried out for the campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, found 58% of those understood the Scottish Parliament will have more powers next year than it does at the present.

But more than a quarter of voters (29%) believed there would be no change, while 5% said Holyrood would have fewer powers than it currently does, with 9% saying they did not know.

Fewer than two-fifths (37%) of those questioned thought political parties had shown the “right level of ambition” in how they plan to use the new tax and welfare powers – with 28% saying they had not been ambitious enough.

Meanwhile, just over a fifth (22%) said the parties’ plans are “too ambitious” , with 14% of voters saying they did not know.

38 Degrees runs campaigns on a number of issues which are chosen by its members. Its website states it sets out to “hold the most powerful to account and stand up for a fairer society”.

Stewart Kirkpatrick, head of 38 Degrees in Scotland said: “This polls shows the huge public appetite for more ambitious plans for Scotland than any of the political parties have to offer.

“In our thousands, 38 Degrees members across Scotland are telling candidates what we want to see from them – whether that’s securing and improving our NHS services, helping put a stop to the dodgy trade deal TTIP or saying a permanent ‘no’ to fracking in Scotland.

“They can be sure that our energies and expectations will only rise after May 5.”

Julie Watt, an environmental campaigner from Edinburgh who is a member of the group, said: “Climate change is a big issue for me.

“I know I’ll vote but all political parties seem to be saying the same thing on this particular issue – they’re just not being ambitious enough.

“In the new parliament, 38 Degrees members can question political parties about their actions on this and, most importantly, hold them to account.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “The new powers mean we can do things differently. The Scottish Parliament doesn’t have to be a conveyor belt for Tory cuts.

“There is a different way but only Labour has a plan to end austerity. The SNP and the Tories would impose billions of pounds more cuts.

“Labour’s manifesto set out how we will use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to tax the richest 1%, invest in education and stop the cuts to our NHS and other public services.”

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