Survey Shows English Attitudes to Scottish Independence

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21st August 2014 10:43 - Public Consultation

Future relations between Scotland and England do not look favourable, as voters in England dispute sharing the pound with an independent Scotland.  Regardless of the outcome in September’s referendum, new research shows that the English want public spending in Scotland reduced in the event of a no vote.

The findings, collected as part of the Future of England Survey 2014, oppose some of the main proposals which were put forward by the pro-union parties, to offer Scotland further powers if independence is overruled.

In the event of a no vote, four fifths of English voters agree that ‘Scottish MPs should be prevented from voting on laws that apply only in England’.   The UK government’s McKay commission submitted ‘English votes for English laws’ last year, a proposal which both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have rebuffed.

Also, more than 50% of respondents are of the opinion that public spending in Scotland should be reduced to the UK average.  This would contradict the commitment made by the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, to continue funding in Scotland using the Barnett formula.

A fifth (23%) believe that an independent Scotland should continue to use the pound, and just over a quarter agree that the rest of the UK should support an independent Scotland joining the EU and Nato.

However, English voters showed more support for Scottish independence in the area of tax and welfare, with 42% in accordance with the Scottish parliament controlling most of the taxes raised in Scotland, and 40% of the opinion that Holyrood should have authority in deciding its own policies on benefits.

Research was undertaken at by the ESRC Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change, based at the University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University.

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