Brits say devolved governments should decide their own lockdown rules

Jemma ConnerPolitical Research Executive
October 20, 2020, 2:36 PM UTC

People in England, Wales and Scotland also support allowing local restrictions for areas where the virus is more prevalent

Last week saw the introduction of an alternative approach to local lockdowns in England with the new three-tier system coming into effect. National rules in Scotland have seen pubs closed, and yesterday Wales announced a 'fire-breaker' national lockdown. As lockdown rules continue to change, new YouGov research looks at who English, Welsh and Scottish adults think should be making the decisions for their country.

Across the three nations, the public tend to favour lockdown decisions being made by the devolved governments. Scots in particular hold this view with 71% saying that the devolved governments should set the lockdown rules for their own region. Only 20% think it should be the UK government making these decisions.

Half of Welsh adults (54%) also think it should be the devolved governments making decisions on coronavirus, as do 53% of English adults. Only around a third (34-38%) support the rules for the whole of the UK being dictated from Westminster.  

When it comes to who should decide if there were to be a second full lockdown, however, English and Welsh adults are split.  In England, 44% back a UK-wide decision and 46% preferring a devolved approach. In Wales, a plurality (47%) would prefer a national lockdown decision to be made by the Welsh government, although 41% think the decision should be UK-wide.

Scottish respondents continue to be more in favour of a devolved approach, at 63%, compared to just 27% saying it should only happen if it is for all of the UK. Unsurprisingly the strongest support for a devolved decision came from SNP supporters, with 91% of respondents who voted for the party in 2019 backing this option.

Across all three nations the majority of respondents are supportive of having different local measures, according to an area's ability to reduce the spread of the virus. Six in ten English adults (62%) think that the lockdown rules should be different in areas where the virus is prevalent; the picture is similar in Scotland (65%). While support is slightly weaker in Wales, more than half (53%) still prefer this approach to having the same rules UK-wide (35%).

See the full results for England, Scotland and Wales