Devolution and Devolved topics explained

Who makes decisions about what issues?

Decisions that affect things like your education, healthcare and transport are made by different groups of people depending on where you live in the UK. The power to make some decisions is shared between the UK Parliament in London, the Scottish Parliament, the Assemblies in Northern Ireland and Wales, and some Mayors in England (Devolved issues). However, other decisions that affect all of the UK can only be made by the UK Parliament in London (UK issues).

UK wide topics

The following things are not devolved, and the UK government remains responsible for them:

  • the constitution eg. voting age
  • international relations and defence
  • national security
  • nationality and immigration
  • nuclear energy
  • broadcasting
  • the UK tax system
  • employment and social security (except Northern Ireland)


Devolution in English local government 

Metro Mayors and Combined Authorities eg. West Midlands, Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, Tees Valley and Bristol; as well as the Mayor of London, all have different responsibilities due to the agreements each area has made with the UK government. If you live in an area with a Metro Mayor (or in London) please check their website for more information on their specific powers.

Devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

How devolution works across the UK is complex and is all different. But broadly the following things are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:

  • health and social care
  • education and training
  • local government and housing
  • agriculture, forestry and fisheries
  • the environment and planning
  • tourism, sport and heritage
  • economic development and internal transport