UK Government policies treat the Scots as second class citizens

Having considered the impact that UK economic policy has had, and continues to have, on the Scottish economy, it is important to consider the impact of broader UK Government policies on Scotland. Many of these broader policies have a direct impact on Scottish prosperity and the ability to develop the Scottish economy. The worrying conclusion is that many national policies being adopted by the UK Government appear to be contributing to the decline of Scotland and damaging the Scottish economy rather than supporting and developing it. An even more damning conclusion is that in many ways it appears that the Scots are being treated as second class citizens by the decision makers in London.

There are a number of recent examples that clearly indicate this lack of consideration and support for Scotland, and the damage that is being done:

  • The UK Government has only just approved the creation of the High Speed 2 rail link between London and Birmingham that will link the West Midlands into the European high speed rail network by 2026. It is expected that this link will be extended as far as Manchester and Leeds by about 2033. So how long will it be before the major cities of Scotland get connected to the high speed European rail network? At the pace the UK Government is moving, this is highly unlikely to occur before the middle of this century, if it ever occurs at all. Would this situation be different if there was a Scottish administration that had full control over all transport and fiscal matters? It has to be admitted that a Scottish administration would be unable to force the creation of a rail link through northern England, but it would certainly be able to exert pressure (possibly with EU support) for a speedier implementation timetable, and to ensure that the necessary infrastructure was being planned and created in Scotland.


  • A similar situation exists with UK national airport policy. There is continual debate about securing the role of Heathrow as an international hub and providing Heathrow with a third runway, or possibly creating yet another London airport. But what consideration has ever been given to adopting a dispersed approach to the location of international air hubs in the UK? By dispersing international air hubs across the UK the congestion on the ground and in the air around Heathrow would be significantly reduced. The inconvenience and discomfort experienced by millions of travellers, forced to travel through Heathrow and Gatwick today, would also be reduced dramatically. Creating one of the international air hubs in Scotland would remove the inconvenience experienced by most Scots having to use connecting flights to travel to major destinations. Both this, and the development of a high speed rail link, would be major boosts to the Scottish economy. It would provide substantially improved access to and from Europe and the rest of the world, and it would bring short term development investment as well as long term infrastructure, services, and employment.


Neither of these policies appears to give the slightest concern to the development or prosperity of Scotland. They appear to be developed with a myopic view of the UK that is focused on the south and is unable to see the north. Is it really beyond the wit of London based policy makers to view the UK from north to south? Should the first question regarding the creation of High Speed 2 not have been “how quickly can we connect Glasgow and Edinburgh to the high speed rail network?”, and then develop the route from north to south. All of these inequitable policy decisions suggest that the needs of Scotland are just not taken into account by UK Government. Or could it really just be that in the minds of the UK policy makers Scotland does not really matter, the Scots are just second class citizens?