THE Scottish public’s passion for politics has increased since the high engagement of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, making Scots far more knowledgeable about and interested in politics than their counterparts south of the border, a report reveals today.

The annual audit of public attitudes to politics, compiled by the Hansard Society, the independent charity that promotes democratic engagement, also shows that Scottish voters are the least convinced that the UK Parliament works best for them and have the highest conviction that Britain’s political system needs improving.

The society’s 13th yearly review was based on an opinion poll carried out in December 2015 by Ipsos Mori, which conducted more than 1200 face-to-face interviews with British adults in their own homes, including nearly 200 in Scotland.

Its review noted that last year’s audit showed that following the independence referendum Scots were “considerably more interested in and knowledgeable about politics than in previous years and significantly more engaged than the British population overall”.

It went on: “This situation has not just been maintained but has improved still further this year; knowledge levels in Scotland have grown a further nine points and interest levels have increased by 14 points.”

This meant people in Scotland, compared to the British population overall, had a higher degree of claimed knowledge of politics – 65 per cent versus 55 per cent - and a much higher claimed interest in politics – 74 per cent versus 57 per cent.

The audit noted: “The referendum effect recorded in last year’s audit thus appears to have been augmented by the general election bounce in this audit. It is, therefore, likely but not certain that engagement levels in Scotland will be maintained at these relatively high levels in next year’s audit, given that in the intervening months there will be elections to the Scottish Parliament and the EU referendum.”

The respected psephologist John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said: “We have had some hard evidence that the referendum left a legacy shown in the General Election turnout in Scotland, which was 71 per cent while in England and Wales it was around 66 per cent. It was up one per cent across the UK but up six or seven points in Scotland.”

Asked about the suggestion Scots’ interest in politics was even higher now than in 2014, Prof Curtice said there was a health warning given the comparatively low poll sample compared to England but added the “proof of the pudding will be the turnout for the Holyrood elections”.

The society said that one of the most striking aspects of its review was the level of people’s satisfaction with the political system. The audit showed the further away geographically people were from Westminster, the greater the level of dissatisfaction with how politics worked.

Overall as with last year, only a third of Britons expressed general satisfaction with the way the UK was being governed with three in five people saying it needed improvement. But the review showed a large geographical difference.

Just over a third of Scots, 34 per cent, thought the system needed a “great deal of improvement”; 29 per cent of people in northern England felt the same as did 26 per cent in Wales but only 17 per cent in London.

Conversely, four in 10 Londoners, 43 per cent, thought the British political system mainly worked well and could be improved only in small ways compared to roughly a quarter of Scots, 25 per cent, who thought so, and 26 per cent of people living in northern England and Wales, who felt the same.

In terms of gender, the audit showed women were less likely to be satisfied with Britain's political system than men with respective net satisfaction rates of -36 per cent and -26 per cent.

In terms of age, those most likely to be dissatisfied were older people with those aged 55 to 64 having a net satisfaction score of -44 per cent while those in their 20s and 30s had one of -22 per cent.