The Impact of Devolution
The impact of devolution is wide ranging and goes much further than just addressing the needs of people who are now benefiting from a devolved Government. There are all sorts of other effects it has, as a knock-on, to every party who is involved in devolved Government at any level. From cost and time involved in setting it up through to the way local authorities are run in devolved areas, the impact of devolution is not always good, and the process has as many negatives as positives, making it a thorny subject.
CostCost is one of the prickliest areas of devolution to address. After all, setting up the devolved Government in the first place, and giving it a budget, costs money. And this money may well have to come from the central Government. While the people who live in the areas to be devolved may well not mind this money being spent, the people who will have no benefit from the devolved government could well resent their money being used to set up a Government which they will not be electing.
As well as the initial set up costs, there is the cost of monitoring and scrutiny to consider. Because a devolved Government is not, by definition, a permanent one, the central Government may still keep an eye on it and scrutinise decisions. Even when it does not do this, there may be continued running costs which need contributing to and these may grow or diminish as the years go by.
IndependenceThe issue of total independence for devolved areas is a political subject and beyond this article’s realm, which is simply to inform. But it is a point worthy mentioning that devolution will almost certainly have an impact on the wishes of the people who live there to see complete independence for their country. Once devolution has been granted, those in favour of complete independence will see an opportunity to point out how good that country is at self-government and lead a renewed push for independence.
The West Lothian QuestionAn oft-referred to point, the West Lothian question is nevertheless a pertinent point to consider when looking at the impact of devolution. The West Lothian question address the fact that once devolution has been granted, MPs for constituencies in the devolved area will still be able to vote on issues affecting those in the non-devolved areas but the same privileges will not be allowed the other way. This can certainly lead to a sense of dissatisfaction for people and MPs in the non-devolved areas who will become increasingly frustrated that people who are allowed to make their own decisions are also contributing to decisions about life in the non-devolved area.
Of course, devolution also has many advantages but it is certain that it is not an issue that will be undertaken lightly by any Government. Because of the impact of devolution on a wide range of people’s lives, the Government must be certain that overall, devolution will bring about a change for the greater good. And because of the very nature of devolution, the Government will also monitor it to make sure it is working well and within its mandate and be prepared to revoke the devolved level of government at any time.