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date: 08 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Devolution is a peculiarly British term and it was introduced in the nineteenth century to resolve a problem that is characteristically (but not uniquely) British. It is also a response to the spatial rescaling of economic and social systems; to shifting responsibilities of government and the need for new governing instruments; and to pressures for territorial autonomy. Since devolution is a general term covering a range of constitutional arrangements, it is difficult to break it down into specific models, yet two broad types can be discerned. The division of powers is described. Scotland possesses a high degree of legislative devolution with the full set of parliamentary, executive, and administrative institutions and a broad set of responsibilities as a general-purpose government. Its relationship with the United Kingdom is a quasi-federal one, like the Spanish autonomous communities. The devolution settlement in the United Kingdom is unstable.

Keywords: European devolution, powers, Scotland, United Kingdom, Spain, legislative devolution, territorial autonomy

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