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How has devolved government developed in Scotland

Scotland was historically independent, but in 1707 the separate Scottish Parliament was merged with the English Parliament in Westminster to create a British Parliament, although Scotland maintained a separate legal system, a different Established Church and differences in education and local government. 

Dissatisfaction with control from London developed from the 1960s and, in the October 1974 general election, the SNP had 11 MPs. This led the Labour Government to hold a referendum, in 1979, on a proposal for devolved government for Scotland.  The Scots voted narrowly for devolution but Labour MPs hostile to devolution had inserted a requirement that 40% of registered voters had to vote Yes for the legislation to come into force and the vote failed to pass this hurdle.

During the periods of Conservative Government from 1979 to 1997, the Scottish electorate became increasingly alienated from the policies carried out by a Government dominated by England so that the Conservatives gradually lost seats and had no MPs at all in Scotland in 1997. 

A broad based Convention supported by Scottish interest groups and the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties had developed ideas for a new devolution settlement. 

When Labour came to power in 1997 they immediately held a new referendum and Scottish voters overwhelmingly agreed to set up a Scottish Parliament and give it powers to vary income tax by a small amount.  


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