SUPPORT for Scottish independence has risen among Labour voters and people living in England over the past decade, a major new survey has found.

The 39th annual British Social Attitudes (BSA) Survey sparked headlines last week as it recorded the highest level of support for independence north of the Border at 52% and an increase in support for Irish re-unification.

Here we delve into other results from the study, carried out by the National Centre for Social Research in 2021, to find out what else it has uncovered about how attitudes to various social and political issues have changed.

How devolution fell out of favour with SNP supporters THE SNP campaign for an independent Scotland, but have historically seen debate between those who wanted to concentrate on leaving the UK and those who backed a more gradual move to self-governing through policies such as devolution.

The survey shows that in 2010 – before the first referendum – just over half of SNP voters supported independence at 56%, compared to 40% who backed devolution.

In 2014, there was a surge, with 73% backing leaving the UK, which has risen to 82%, according to the 2021 result.

Now, just 17% of SNP supporters say they believe devolution is how Scotland should be governed.

Perhaps surprisingly, 1% still think there should be no Scottish Parliament at all.

More Labour supporters are backing independence

THE survey showed backing for Scotland leaving the UK has risen to a record high north of the Border, at 52% in 2021 – and it’s not just as a result of SNP support.

According to the research, in 2010, 18% of Labour voters north of the Border said independence was the best way for Scotland to be governed, while 69% backed devolution and 9% did not believe there should be any Scottish Parliament.

However, by the time of the independence referendum, support for leaving the UK had risen to 23%. Devolution saw a slight dip at 60% while the “no parliament” figure remained the same.

The latest survey shows that nearly four out of 10 – 38% – of Labour voters backed independence, while the proportion supporting devolution as the best way to govern had fallen to 53%. Eight per cent still thought Holyrood should not exist.

The views of Conservatives have changed little over that time, with 7% backing independence in 2010 compared to 5% in 2021.

Support for devolution has risen slightly among Tories, from 63% to 69% – while one in four believe there should be no Scottish Parliament.

Support for Scottish independence is up in England

THERE’S also been an increase in support for independence over the years south of the Border.

In 1997, just 14% of those surveyed believed Scotland should be independent – while the figure has varied over the past couple of decades, around one in four now have that view, with 24% recorded in 2020 and 25% in 2021.

Just over half of people – 54% – back the status quo of Scotland having its own parliament, which has remained largely the same since Holyrood was established.

And there is little sign of opposition to devolution, with only around one in six saying Scotland should not have its own parliament – again around the same as in 1999.

Do people in England think Scotland gets too much money?

ONE claim often put forward by Unionists is that Scotland cannot afford to go it alone as it receives more than it gives in terms of funding from the UK Government.

Around four out of 10 people in England said in 2021 they believe it gets “pretty much its fair share” of government spending compared with other parts of the UK – a figure that is around the same as in 2000.

Between 2003 and 2011, the proportion who believe that Scotland secures more than its fair share of spending doubled from 22% to 44%. But that has since fallen back again to 34% in the most recent survey.

Tory supporters are the most likely to agree Scotland gets too much funding, with 50% backing the statement, compared to 25% for Labour voters and 34% for the LibDems.

The view on English votes for English laws

THE issue of whether Scottish MPs should be able to vote in the House of Commons on matters only affecting England has long been a contentious one. English votes for English laws – known as Evel – was introduced in 2015 by former prime minister David Cameron following the 2014 independence referendum. But this system which gave English MPs a veto over laws only affecting England was scrapped in 2021.

The BSA survey has asked since 2000 whether people in England think that Scottish MPs should no longer be allowed to vote in the Commons on laws that only affect England.

In that year, nearly two-thirds – 63% – agreed with that statement, while 9% disagreed and 19% were neutral on the issue.

The figures were around the same last year, with 61% agreeing, 12% disagreeing and 23% neutral on the issue.

Attitudes towards accessing healthcare

PEOPLE in Scotland are “somewhat more social democratic” in their attitudes towards health and social justice, the survey found.

Nearly two-thirds – 64% – of people north of the Border said it is unfair that wealthier people can afford better healthcare, compared with 54% in England.

And 60% of Scots say poverty is a major cause of poor health, compared with 51% in England.

On the issue of funding the NHS, people in Scotland are slightly more likely to be “very” or “fairly” willing to pay higher taxes to improve the level of health care, at 55% compared to 51% in England.

Trust in government after the pandemic THERE is also slightly greater support among people in Scotland for imposing tough restrictions in times of pandemic compared to England, the survey found.

In Scotland, 46% “definitely” back the right to shut downs schools and businesses, while in England the figure is 41%.

Twice as many people in Scotland said the handling of the Covid pandemic had increased their confidence in their government. Just over one in three – 37% – agreed it had increased “a little” or “a lot”, compared with only one in five – 20% – in England.

In England, more than half – 57% – said their confidence in government had decreased either “a lot” or “a little” due to the way Covid was handled across Britain, whereas 40% had that view about the handling of the pandemic in Scotland.