Subtest length: 44 questions (11 sets of 4 questions)
Subtest timing: 21 minutes (2 minutes per set)
Sample length: 4 questions
Sample timing: 2 minutes
In September 1997, Scotland held a referendum on the question of devolution. Over 60 per cent of eligible voters went to the polls, and they voted in favour of both questions on the ballot-paper. On the first question, asking whether there should be a Scottish Parliament, 74.3 per cent of voters agreed, including a majority in favour in every Scottish local authority area. On the second question, asking whether that Parliament should have tax-varying powers, 63.5 per cent of voters agreed, including a majority in favour in every Scottish local authority area except Orkney and Dumfries & Galloway. In response to the results of this referendum, the UK Parliament passed the 1998 Scotland Act, which was given Royal Assent on 19 November 1998. The first members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) were elected on 6 May 1999, and the Queen formally opened the Scottish Parliament on 1 July 1999, at which time it took up its full powers.
Under the terms of the 1998 Scotland Act, the Scottish Parliament has the authority to pass laws that affect Scotland on a range of issues. These issues are known as ‘devolved matters’, as power in these matters has been transferred (or ‘devolved’) from a national body (the UK Parliament at Westminster) to regional bodies (the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly). Education, Agriculture, Justice, and Health (including NHS issues in Scotland) are among the issues devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament also has the power to set the basic rate of income tax, as high as 3 pence to the pound.
The 1998 Scotland Act also provides for ‘reserved matters’, which Scots must take up through their MPs at Westminster rather than through their MSPs. Such reserved matters, on which the Scottish Parliament cannot pass legislation, include Foreign Affairs, Defence, and National Security.
In Scottish parliamentary elections, each voter has two votes: one vote for the MSP for their local constituency, and one vote for the candidate or party to represent their Scottish Parliamentary Region. There are 73 local constituencies, and 8 Scottish Parliamentary Regions; each local constituency is represented by one local MSP, and each region is represented by 7 regional MSPs. These local and regional MSPs account for the total membership of the Scottish Parliament. Thus, every Scotsman or Scotswoman is represented by a total of 8 MSPs (1 local and 7 regional).
In the 1997 referendum, more voters in Dumfries & Galloway were in favour of a Scottish Parliament than were in favour of tax-varying powers for a Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish Parliament can raise the basic rate of income tax by 3 pence to the pound.
NHS issues in Wales are among the issues devolved to the National Assembly for Wales.
There are a total of 129 MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.
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