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Report explores Scotland\'s future in the United Kingdom

Posted 02/11/2012

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The issue of Scottish independence is one of the biggest constitutional issues facing the UK, with far-reaching consequences for all UK citizens. The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) and British Academy Policy Centre (BA) have released a report outlining Scotland’s past, present and future relationship with the rest of the United Kingdom.

The new report – Scotland and the United Kingdom – explores the options for further devolution and the potential consequences for the UK, including issues such as tax and spending, the English response and relations with the European Union.

Professor Sir Adam Roberts, President of the British Academy said: ““Our two organisations chose to work together because the Scottish referendum planned for autumn 2014 has implications for all citizens in all parts of the United Kingdom. We see it as our joint responsibility to ensure that academic expertise and independent perspectives are brought to bear on matters of historic importance such as the UK's constitutional future.”

Scotland and the United Kingdom summarises presentations made at a joint conference organised by the RSE and BA earlier this year (2012). The report provides expert analysis from academics and policy advisors in the fields of constitutional law, politics and government, economics, international relations and history. The purpose of Scotland and the United Kingdom is not to influence the referendum process in a particular way but to encourage rich and informed debate.

Sir John Arbuthnott, President of the RSE, said: “The constitutional future of Scotland has been a central issue of Scottish politics and civic life for many decades. As Scotland’s National Academy the RSE sees itself as being pivotal in providing non-partisan information to the people of Scotland on what the constitutional options may mean for their lives, the economy of Scotland and the place of Scotland in the world. The RSE and British Academy will continue to hold events and provide expert advice to help the people of Scotland make an informed decision. I hope that the political parties and civic Scotland will welcome and embrace this initiative.”

The British Academy and Royal Society of Edinburgh hope that that the decision taken by the people of Scotland in 2014 will be informed by the best available evidence and analysis of what the constitutional options mean to citizens of Scotland and other countries in the UK, as well as the differing views that exist on questions of national identity.

The report is a record of the views expressed by the speakers and attendees at those events and does not represent an established position of either the British Academy or The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Editor’s notes:

For more information or interviews, please contact Kate Rosser Frost, Press & PR Manager at the British Academy on or 020 7969 5263/07931 227 451, or Bristow Muldoon at the RSE 0131 240 2787 or 07766 915218.

The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, is the national body that champions and supports the humanities and social sciences. It aims to inspire, recognise and support excellence and high achievement across the UK and internationally. For more information, please visit

The British Academy Policy Centre, draws on funding from ESRC and AHRC, oversees a programme of activity, engaging the expertise within the humanities and social sciences to shed light on policy issues, and commissioning experts to draw up reports to help improve understanding of issues of topical concern. This report has been peer reviewed to ensure its academic quality.

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