The SNP won a majority in the 2011 elections. The leader of the party – Alex Salmond – claimed that this meant the Scottish people should be able to decide if Scotland should be independent.
The UK Government agreed to ask this question in a referendum. It took place on the 18th September 2014.
The people of Scotland were given the opportunity to have their say on whether or not Scotland should become an independent country.
The results were counted by council area. The final result was:
The turnout was 85%. This was higher than any election to the Scottish Parliament.
The biggest impact was that Scotland would stay as part of the UK. Another was the extra powers given to the parliament in the Scotland Act 2012 and the Scotland Act 2016.
In the lead-up to the referendum vote, the leaders of the three main UK political parties promised that should Scotland vote to remain part of the UK, the Scottish Parliament would be given additional extra powers. This promise became known as ‘the Vow’.
As the result of the Scottish independence referendum was a vote against leaving the UK, the UK Parliament set up the Smith Commission to look at further devolution for Scotland. The commission’s report led to the Scotland Act (2016) which gives the Scottish Parliament new powers over income tax, VAT receipts, welfare and benefits.