Select Committee on the Constitution
The Union and devolution

10th Report of Session 2015-16 - published 25 May 2016 - HL Paper 149



Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: What is the Union?

The evolution of the Union

The Unions creating the United Kingdom

Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Union

Administrative devolution within Great Britain

The creation of the devolved institutions

Ongoing diversity in the Union and devolution

Table 1: Devolution across the UK

Support for the Union

Defining the Union

British and national identity

Key elements of the Union

Economic union

Social union

Political union

Cultural union

Security and Defence union


Are all these elements necessary?

Core values of the Union

Chapter 3: Risks to the Union

The cumulative impact of devolution on the Union

The allocation of resources within the United Kingdom

The economic union: fiscal devolution

The social union: Shared welfare resources

Minimum standards of welfare provision

Minimum provision in other policy areas

Diverging policy and service delivery choices

Risks to the political union

The European Union referendum and a British Bill of Rights

The cultural union and emotional affinity

Chapter 4: Principles underlying the Union and devolution

Principles of the Union and devolution







Chapter 5: Strengthening the Union

Taking into account the needs of the Union

Identifying the core functions of the Union

A draw down model of powers?

A proper process for considering any proposals for devolution

Public information, engagement, consultation and consent

Chapter 6: Other recent proposals

A new Charter or Act of Union

A Charter of the Union

A new Act of Union

Common features and difficulties

Full fiscal autonomy


Chapter 7: Adapting to devolution

Promoting the Union

Inter-governmental relations: A new mindset

Formal structures of inter-governmental relations

The working of central government

Transparency and parliamentary scrutiny

Providing clarity over the role of the UK Government

The Civil Service

The Government’s approach to the process of constitutional

Secession referendums and Parliament

Chapter 8: England

The English Question and the governance of England

Principal options for the governance of England

English votes for English laws

An English Parliament

English regional assemblies

Local Government and ‘devolution deals’

Devolution assessment process

An answer to the English Question?

Summary of conclusions and recommendations

Annex A: The development of devolution in the UK since 1922

Annex B: Draft Charter of the Union from the Bingham Centre
for the Rule of Law

Appendix 1: List of Members and declarations of interest

Appendix 2: List of witnesses

Appendix 3: Call for evidence

Evidence is published online at and available for inspection at the Parliamentary Archives (020 7129 3074).

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence

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