Nicola Sturgeon is under pressure to fix crises facing Scotland
An official survey found confidence in the Scottish Government fell last year in the wake of the EU referendum, with voters demanding the economy, education, housing and health be the top priorities.
The findings come after the First Minister launched her fresh drive for independence demanding another referendum because of Brexit.
It revealed 65 per cent of people trusted SNP ministers to act in Scotland’s best interests in 2016 – down from 73 per cent on the previous year.
The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey also revealed 40 per cent trusted them to make fair decisions – down by nine points over the same period.
A quarter of Scots (25 per cent) had confidence in the Conservative Government at Westminster, up slightly on 23 per cent in 2015.
The survey found 18 per cent trusted it to make fair decisions – unchanged from the previous year.
The Scottish Government approval figure is the fourth highest recorded since devolution in 1999.
But it is down six points from 71 per cent when the SNP was swept to power in 2007.
The SNP likes to pretend it is serious about reducing inequality
More than a quarter (28 per cent) said helping the economy to grow faster should be the Scottish Government's top priority.
And more than half (54 per cent) thought the economy had weakened in the past year, compared with 34 per cent in 2015.
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It follows repeated warnings Scotland's economy is trailing the rest of the UK, fears over slipping school standards, and key NHS targets missed.
The First Minister is being pressured into using Holyrood's powers to fix Scotland's issues
Critics urged Ms Sturgeon to abandon her "independence obsession" and "get back to the day job"
Scottish Tory equalities spokeswoman Annie Wells said: "The SNP likes to pretend it is serious about reducing inequality.
"But by obsessing about another independence referendum instead of boosting growth and public finances, it is making a mistake.
"People are increasingly of that view, and the SNP ought to listen to the concerning results which have emerged from this study."
Sturgeon's top moments Fri, December 9, 2016
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in pictures.
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Nicola Sturgeon visits Glaxo Smith Kline.
The independent survey was conducted in the months after the EU referendum, between July and December.
For the first time in the survey’s history, more people thought the Scottish Government had the most influence in running the country, rather than the UK administration.
Some 42 per cent believed most power lay with Scottish ministers, compared with 41 per cent at UK level, 8 per cent at EU and 5 per cent with councils.
Holyrood has gained unprecedented controls over tax, welfare and public spending following the 2014 poll in which Scots overwhelmingly rejected independence while health, education, and planning have been fully devolved for almost two decades.
Scottish Tory equalities spokeswoman Annie Wells
Improving education standards was the second most cited priority at 21 per cent, followed by housing (16 per cent), and health (15 per cent).
The majority of respondents – 60 per cent – were satisfied with the way the NHS was being run, down slightly from 62 per cent in 2015.
But more than a third (37 per cent) thought standards in the health service had fallen.
Scottish Labour economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: "The last thing Scotland needs is even more uncertainty, so this should send a strong signal to the SNP to drop its plans for a divisive second independence referendum.
"To proceed with plans for another referendum would be dangerous economic vandalism."
Holyrood has gained unprecedented controls over tax, welfare and public spending
Scottish Lib Dem business manager Mike Rumbles added: "Rather than push for another divisive independence referendum, the SNP need a laser-like focus on improving the services people rely upon, improving health, education and the economy should be the priority not another bid to break up the country."
But Finance Secretary Derek Mackay hailed the figures as a major endorsement of his administration.
He said: "It’s clear that the people of Scotland trust the Scottish Government to listen to their views, and act fairly and in their best interests.
"The economy continues to be the highest priority for the people of Scotland, which is a priority we share, and we are continuing to make progress on our ambition to boost inclusive economic growth and raise productivity."