Survey finds ‘devo-anxiety’ among voters in England

The research identified 'continued unhappiness with England's place in the UK and perceived advantages enjoyed by Scots'. Picture: PA
The research identified 'continued unhappiness with England's place in the UK and perceived advantages enjoyed by Scots'. Picture: PA
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English people feel unfairly disadvantaged by constitutional change within the UK, according to new academic research.

The study uncovered ‘devo-anxiety’ among voters related to how England is treated compared with other UK nations.

Its findings were presented during a fringe event at the SNP conference in Aberdeen.

The research, which involved YouGov surveys of 2,741 English people, identified “continued unhappiness with England’s place in the UK and perceived advantages enjoyed by Scots”.

It also found a “clear sense Scotland is getting more than its fair share of government spending”.

Professor Richard Wyn-Jones of Cardiff University, who carried out the study alongside Professor Ailsa Henderson of the University of Edinburgh, said: “There is a pervasive idea that constitutional change in the UK has disadvantaged England unfairly, in particular vis-a-vis Scotland.

“The key point here is that these attitudes are linked - so those people who tend to be Eurosceptic tend to be devo-anxious - and the key point is that these are strongly linked to English identity.

“So the more English you feel the more Eurosceptic you are and the more that you think that England has been disadvantaged within the union by devolution and by constitutional reform.”

Brexit minister Michael Russell said the research, taken alongside recent opinion polls, suggested a “loosening of the bonds undoutedly” in terms of the union.