bank roll smallThis is a video released by the Scottish Government (5th January 2016) that briefly explains the mechanism behind Scotland's funding from the UK Government.

This is a good introduction (although very brief) to the various components of the funding, who decides what sums are allocated and where that allocation should go.

The video begins with a reference to how the collected taxes are distributed via the Block Grant (roughly £30 Billion) and goes on to explain how this is derived via the Barnett Formula. Following on from this, there is an explanation of the various factors that influence the amount of money that is available and what areas these amounts will address.

The video is short and concise and as such, presents a useful introduction to this very important source of funding. We will have numerous in-depth articles and presentations on funding in the Knowledgebase in due course.

named person smallThe following information relates to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill - Part 4 (Provision of Named Persons)

Background Information

There has been a lot of debate surrounding this provision. The views of parents, guardians, health care professionals and charities have been voiced at many levels. Misinformation and misconceptions have been at the heart of most of the criticism levelled at the new provision. In reality, it is really just an enhancement of what already existed - the only real difference is, it enshrines the right to a Named Person in law.

The updated provision relies on the "Getting it right for Every Child" (GIRFEC) approach which improves the way services are delivered to children and young people. This approach has received welcome cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament and in local authorities.

Access to a Named Person is an entitlement for children and young people from birth to 18 years, or beyond if still in school. A form of the Named Person service is already operating across much of Scotland and this is planned to be available nationally by 31 August 2016.

voting papers small

There are 73 constituency seats and 56 regional seats in the Scottish voting system. Combined, these return 129 Members to the Scottish Parliament(MSPs).

Each elector(voter) has two votes.

The first vote is used to select a candidate who is standing in a constituency. This relies on the First Past The Post (FPTP) system where the candidate with the highest number of votes will become elected as the MSP for that constituency. The Political Party represented by the winning candidate adds to the number of seats won by that party.

The second vote is used to select a party as opposed to an individual candidate and is known as the Additional Member System (AMS). Eight regions (comprising of 8 to 10 constituencies) have a list of 7 parliamentary seats allocated to them. Which party wins which seat is determined by votes cast and processed through the D'Hondt system - a mathematical process to score the votes over a number of rounds. In each round, the highest scoring party is allocated a seat. There are 7 seats available, so the process lasts for 7 rounds.

40 Years ago, oil was discovered in the North Sea. The fields lay predominantly in the Scottish and Norwegian Territorial waters.

In 1974, Professor Gavin McCrone was commissioned by the Government of the day (Conservatives under Ted Heath) to deliver an urgent report, focused on the likely effects of North Sea oil revenue on the economic viability of an independent Scotland.

This came at a time when Scottish nationalism was begining to grow in popularity, largely due to the efforts of the SNP. The SNP knew the oil would be a huge asset for an independent Scotland and many Scots also shared this view.

mandy rhodes smallMandy Rhodes interviews Denis Healey.

The interview appeared in Holyrood Magazine on the 19th May 2013. The final part of the interview is presented here, an extremely interesting section concerning his recollections (and truthful opinions) of the previous referendum of 1979, the McCrone report, oil and the recent referendum of 18th September 2014.

If only the 'Better Together' camp had adopted the same attitude...