This chapter conducts a comprehensive analysis of the effect of devolution on social policy, based on the experience of all three countries — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It notes that social policy has a vital role in the powers devolved to these countries and social welfare services have been a major component of policies emerging from devolved administrations. It discusses that significant changes have since taken place in the overall context of devolution such as the coming into office of new governments. Academic analysis of social policy and devolution, and to a large extent political and media analysis, have tended to focus on the differential impact of devolution on major social policies and welfare provision. It provides cautious comparisons relevant to provision using data distinguishing Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
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