Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2011: Core Module - Attitudes to Government, the Economy and Public Services in Scotland - Research Findings

The report uses SSA data from 1999 onwards to explore changing attitudes to government, the economy and public services. It also discusses findings on who people think should be responsible for providing and paying for particular public services.

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Changing views of responsibility and influence

The proportion of people in Scotland who think the Scottish Government is the body with most influence over how Scotland is run continues to lag behind the proportion that think it ought to have most influence (38% compared with 73%). However, there has been a steady increase in the proportion saying the Scottish Government has most influence, from 13% in 2000 to 38% in 2011.

In terms of where people attribute responsibility for the performance of specific public services, the public remains divided over whether the performance of the health service reflects UK Government policies (31%) or Scottish Government policies (31%). In contrast, since 2004/2005 more people have attributed standards in education and public transport in Scotland to the Scottish Government than believe these reflect UK Government policies.

Perhaps surprisingly, perceptions of who has most influence overall over how Scotland is run and beliefs about who is responsible for the performance of particular public services, the economy and the standard of living do not appear to be particularly closely related. Rather, beliefs about who has most influence over Scotland as a whole appear to be more closely associated with general political beliefs and impressions of the efficacy of the Scottish political institutions in promoting Scotland's interests.

The 2011 survey confirms a long-standing pattern showing that the Scottish public tend to 'blame' the UK Government when they believe standards are falling but 'credit' the Scottish Government when they think standards are increasing. In relation to the economy, this uneven pattern of credit and blame was even more marked in 2011 compared with 2010. 69% of the minority who felt that the economy had improved in the last year attributed this to Scottish Government policies, while 54% of the majority who felt the economy had got weaker felt this was the result of UK Government policy.


Email: Linzie Liddell

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