Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK

But if Scotland does break away, the English do not want them to keep the pound

Senior Reporter

English people’s views on Scottish independence are revealed today by an authoritative study which shows that they profoundly disagree with politicians over what should happen to the UK in the wake of next month’s referendum, regardless of the outcome.

The Future of England Survey found that people south of the border are overwhelmingly against Scotland leaving the UK, with 59 per cent saying they would like the Union to stay intact and only 19 per cent favouring separation.

But it also showed that English opinions over what should take place after the referendum differ widely from the scenarios on which politicians on both sides of the debate are pinning their hopes.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has repeatedly insisted that after independence the country would be able to share the pound with the rest of the UK. However, only 23 per cent of those polled agreed with him, with 53 per cent believing that Scotland should not be able to continue using the currency.

Video: One month to go till decision day

There is also only limited English support for the idea that the rest of the UK should support an independent Scotland’s applications to join international bodies such as the EU and Nato, with only 26 per cent agreeing with this statement.

People in England also overwhelmingly reject the Scottish Government’s claim that independence will improve relations between the two countries, with only 10 per cent believing that it will.

However, in a blow to the Better Together campaign, the survey also shows that English people would be in favour of the UK Government taking a much tougher stance on Scotland if it decides to say in the Union.

Most of those polled (56 per cent) agreed that public spending in Scotland should be reduced to the UK average following a No vote, while the vast majority (63 per cent) believe that Scottish MPs should be prevented from voting on English laws in the future.

One of the researchers, Professor Richard Wyn Jones of Cardiff University, said there had been “surprisingly little scrutiny” of what the pro-union parties had promised would happen if Scotland rejected independence.

“The question for Scottish voters is whether they can rely on pledges about the consequences of a No vote, when such pledges do not seem to be supported in the largest and most politically important part of the union,” he said. “The truth of the matter is that the English appear in no mood to be particularly accommodating however the Scots choose to vote in their independence referendum.”

While only residents of Scotland are able to vote on 18 September, the views of the English electorate are still significant as they could increase the pressure on MPs in Westminster to take a tough line on negotiations with an independent Scotland – or reduce the influence of their Scottish colleagues in the case of a No vote.

Another of the researchers, Professor Charlie Jeffery of the University of Edinburgh, said: “It is striking how tough people in England are on Scotland whatever the referendum outcome. There appears to be little appetite for the Scottish Government’s vision of independence amid continuing partnership with the rest of the UK on the pound, Europe and Nato. If anything the message appears to be: ‘Vote Yes by all means, but if you do, you’re on your own’.”

Scottish Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said it was “not surprising” that the majority of people in England did not support a currency union. “For us in Scotland it would mean handing over control of our economy to what would then be a foreign country,” she said.

However, a spokesperson for Yes Scotland said the poll showed Scotland’s budget was “waiting to be slashed” in the event of a No vote. “With less than a month to go, it’s becoming clear that we have only one opportunity to protect Scotland from NHS budget cuts and to rid our country of weapons of mass destruction,” they added.

Pollsters YouGov questioned more than 3,500 English adults for the survey, which was carried out on behalf of Cardiff University and the ESRC Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change, based at the University of Edinburgh.

If Scotland votes Yes…

  • “An independent Scotland should be able to continue to use the pound”: 23% agree, 53% disagree
  • “The rest of the UK should support Scotland in applying to join international organisations like the EU and Nato”: 26% agree, 36% disagree
  • “Relations between England and Scotland will improve”: 10% agree, 53% disagree
  • “The UK’s standing in the world will be diminished”: 36% agree, 29% disagree
  • “People should be able to travel between England and Scotland without passport checks”: 69% agree, 13% disagree

If Scotland votes No…

  • “Levels of public spending in Scotland should be reduced to the levels in the rest of the UK”: 56% agree, 12% disagree
  • “Scottish MPs should be prevented on voting on laws that apply only in England”: 62% agree, 12% disagree
  • “The Scottish Parliament should be given control over the majority of taxes raised in Scotland”: 42% agree, 25% disagree
  • “The Scottish parliament should be given the power to decide its own policies on welfare benefits”: 40% agree, 26% disagree
  • “England and Scotland will continue to drift apart”: 37% agree; 21% disagree
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable