A Short Note on Devolution and the Regulatory State: Issues for the Smith Commission

22 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2014

See all articles by Ewan Sutherland

Ewan Sutherland

University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre

Date Written: October 10, 2014


The Smith Commission is charged with the rapid development of proposals for increased devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament. One area very poorly covered in the past has been the interaction of devolved government with the regulatory state. While further powers will be devolved, there are no proven cases for the devolution of the regulation of economic sectors (e.g., broadcasting, energy, and telecommunications). The single United Kingdom markets could be broken only at unknown cost. It is also part of the single European Union market, in which a further fracture would delay its completion. The Scottish Government, local authorities and communities have tools other than regulation (e.g. state aid) which would allow the achievement of most of their likely objectives. In order to coordinate the political positions of the four nations of the United Kingdom the existing mechanism of the Joint Ministerial Committee could be extended, together with public consultation and impact assessments, to develop common directions to the various regulators. The individual ministers could be held accountable by the parliaments. Where reviews of the multi-level systems were required these could be conducted by a Royal Commission or by the OECD.

Keywords: Telecommunications, Mobile, Broadband, Devolution, Governance, Competition, Regulation, Scotland, United Kingdom

JEL Classification: K20, K21, K23, L40, L50, L80, L90, L96, L97

Suggested Citation

Sutherland, Ewan, A Short Note on Devolution and the Regulatory State: Issues for the Smith Commission (October 10, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2507440 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2507440

Ewan Sutherland (Contact Author)

University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre ( email )

1 Jan Smuts Avenue
Johannesburg, Gauteng 2000
South Africa

HOME PAGE: http://link.wits.ac.za/

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