Referendums BBC Devolution Scotland Wales

An Introduction

At the time of the 1979 Referendum the make up of local government and hence the method of counting the votes was very different. At this time there were two levels of local government in the majority of areas. The top level of local government was the Regional Council, responsible for education, health, social work, the police and roads etc. There were 11 of these altogether ranging from the small, single level, council of Shetland to the virtual mini-state of Strathclyde. The larger Regional Councils were made up of a number of district councils, which held responsibility for such things as housing, cleansing and leisure and recreation. In 1979 the famous image of the count result was the counting officer standing in front of the very 1970's coloured board with the names of the eleven Regional councils on it. At this Referendum count the board will be a lot longer.

On April 1, 1996 the Conservative government implemented its plans for the re-organisation of local government in Scotland. The Regional and District Council structure that existed in most areas was abolished and in its place 32 Unitary Authorities (UAs) were introduced. These new authorities operate on a similar or smaller geographical scale than the old Regional councils yet hold all the powers of the old Regional and District councils combined. The election will be counted on the basis of the new UA boundaries.

The old Regional Councils were:

Dumfies and Galloway
Western Isles

Map of the New Local Authorities


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