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
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss