Majority think Holyrood has improved NHS and education, new poll finds

The amount MSPs can claim to pay staff increased in May last year. PIcture: Andrew Cowan
The amount MSPs can claim to pay staff increased in May last year. PIcture: Andrew Cowan
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A poll on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Scottish devolution referendum has revealed a majority of Scots believe the Scottish Parliament has improved the health service and education.

The Panelbase survey of more than 1,000 adults in Scotland for the Sunday Times Scotland found 45 per cent believe the health service has improved since Holyrood took power while 20 per cent believe it has worsened and 35 per cent think it has not made much a difference.

READ MORE - 20 years on: The day a parliament returned to Scotland

Questioned on schools, 35 per cent believed they had improved in the past two decades, while 33 per cent believe there was not much difference and 32 per cent think schools are worse now.

Respondents were tied on whether the economy had strengthened or there had been little difference in economic performance, with 37 per cent for each, while 26 per cent believed Scottish Parliament has weakened the economy.

Almost one in five (19 per cent) of those surveyed wanted to get rid of the Scottish Parliament and have Scotland governed solely by Westminster, while 43 per cent favoured retaining devolution inside the union and 38 per cent wanted Scotland to become independent.

Asked how they would vote if a second Scottish independence referendum were held tomorrow, more than half (53 per cent) said they would vote no, 40 per cent yes and 6 per cent did not know.

Support for holding a second Scottish independence ballot during the Brexit negotiations, ruled out by Nicola Sturgeon, has fallen to the lowest level yet at 17 per cent, compared to 28 per cent in May and 32 per cent in April.

Around a quarter (26 per cent) of those surveyed favoured holding a Scottish independence referendum when Brexit negotiations are over while 58 per cent said there should not be another independence vote in the next few years.

Ms Sturgeon proved more popular than her predecessor Alex Salmond, with 33 per cent saying she was better in the role compared to 16 per cent favouring Mr Salmond and 50 per cent who said they didn’t know.

The poll found if Holyrood elections were held tomorrow the SNP drop 5 per cent of the constituency vote from the 2016 election, to 42 per cent, with the Tories on 28 per cent (+6 per cent), Labour on 22 per cent (-1 per cent), Lib Dems on 6 per cent (-2 per cent) and the Greens at 2 per cent (+1 per cent).

• Panelbase surveyed 1,021 adults online between August 31 and September 7.