Findings from a study carried out by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) have shown Scots may be more 'left wing' than those south of the border.

53 per cent of people in Scotland agree the UK Government has the greatest responsibility for reducing the pay gap – but only three per cent of Scots believe it has been successful in reducing the divide between high and low earners, according to the research. 

In the same study with people in England, 55 per cent agreed on Government responsibility while a slightly higher 6 per cent felt ministers have been successful.

NatCen used the same questions about social inequality on both its British Social Attitudes and its Scottish Social Attitudes surveys to better compare views on either side of the border.

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Taking the results into account, the research institute said the findings confirm the view that Scotland “may be slightly more ‘left wing’ than people in England”.

Other areas of the research found similarities in attitudes, with 72 per cent of people in Scotland describing income distribution as “unfair” or “very unfair” along with 65 per cent in England.

However around seven in 10 Scots who support independence (73 per cent) or the SNP (70 per cent) say the UK Government is “very unsuccessful” or “quite unsuccessful” in reducing the divide between high and low earners.

Only around half of pro-union supporters in Scotland (55 per cent) and half of Conservative voters in England (53 per cent) said the same.

Elsewhere, nearly half of people in Scotland (44 per cent) said they think taxes for high earners are too low or much too low, while in England 36 per cent think they are too low while 33 per cent feel they are about right.

James Yarde, NatCen senior statistician, said: “This new research confirms the long-held view that people in Scotland may be slightly more ‘left wing’ than people in England.

“Yet where differences in views on inequality do exist, they may reflect political identities more than anything else.

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“People in Scotland who support independence are, for example, much more likely to express dissatisfaction with the British Government’s record on reducing social inequality.

“Addressing national and regional inequalities within the UK was a core theme of the Scottish independence campaign and we might expect this issue to feature prominently once again now that independence is back at the forefront of Scottish politics.”

A UK Government spokesman said: “This Government is wholly committed to supporting the lowest paid families and has already taken significant steps including raising the living wage, ending the benefit freeze and increasing work incentives.

“The Scottish Government does have significant welfare powers and can top up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits altogether.

“The UK Government is doing everything possible to keep people safe and protect the Scottish economy from the shock of the Covid pandemic.”