New figures show the clear gains of devolution for people in Scotland and build the compelling case for more powers for Holyrood. Research by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) shows that unemployment has fallen by a remarkable 48% since the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 – with female unemployment falling by 47%, and employment in rural Scotland rising by 6.5%. The number of free childcare hours has risen from 0 to 600 in twenty years – with families seeing a rise of 26% since the SNP was elected in 2007 thanks to its flagship policy. This will be increased further to 1,40 hours by 2021.
In creating a safer Scotland, police officer numbers have soared since devolution under the SNP Government. Despite a £2 billion (7%) cut to Holyrood’s budget by Westminster in the last decade, the SNP Government has managed to increase officer numbers by almost 1,000 and maintained that increase, leading to the lowest level of crime in 42 year. Polls show that Scots believe that the Scottish Parliament has been a “force for improvement” and that Holyrood has given ordinary people more say in how Scotland is run. The Social Attitudes Survey has consistently found that people believe having a Scottish Parliament gives Scotland a stronger voice in the UK. Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“The ability to take positive decisions in a Parliament which is accessible and ready to listen, has made our country a fundamentally better place to live, work and study. “Particularly since the SNP Government took office in 2007 it has delivered the best public services in the UK. “While we’ve taken better decisions in devolved areas, the shambles of Brexit makes the case for independence more compelling than ever, with Westminster ignoring Scotland’s voice and interests and trying to undermine the devolution process. “Westminster is simply not working for us. Only independence will put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.” ENDS