Rest of UK backs independent Scotland keeping the pound, poll shows

The survey, commissioned by the SNP and conducted by Panelbase, quizzed people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Pound sterling coin on STV background quality image Pulic domain image

People in the rest of the UK support an independent Scotland retaining the pound sterling and the cross-border common travel area, according to a new poll.

The survey, commissioned by the SNP and conducted by Panelbase, quizzed people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on monetary and travel arrangements in the event of a Yes vote in 2014.

Respondents were asked: "Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom are among each other's largest trading partners. Putting aside your own views on whether or not Scotland should become an independent country, if independence does happen do you think that Scotland and the rest of the UK should continue using the pound in an agreed sterling area?"

Forty-six per cent said "yes, definitely" while 25% said "yes, I think so". Sixteen per cent said they were unsure while seven per cent said "no, I don't think so" and five per cent said "definitely not".

Among the respondents, 81% of UK Labour voters agreed to a sterlingzone, alongside 75% of Liberal Democrat voters, and 66% of Conservative voters.

The poll also asked: "A common travel area has existed since the 1920s which provides for freedom of movement throughout the area for citizens of the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Putting aside your own views on whether or not Scotland should become an independent country, if independence does happen do you think that there should continue to be freedom of movement with no passport controls between England and Scotland?"

Fifty-five per cent said "yes, definitely" and a further 20% said "yes, I think so". Twelve per cent were unsure while eight per cent said "no, I don't think so" and four per cent said "definitely not".

Eighty-four per cent of Labour voters support retaining the common travel area, as do 81% of Lib Dems, and 73% of Tories.

The findings were heralded by the SNP as evidence that the Westminster government is "out of touch" with voters across the UK.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "These are extremely welcome findings, which demonstrate that by a factor of some six to one people in the rest of the UK back the common sense position of Scotland's government to share sterling and the common travel area after Scottish independence.

"As well as being out of touch with Scotland, it's clear that Westminster is also out of touch with people in England on these matters, across supporters of all political parties - which underlines that what UK ministers say before the referendum will be entirely different to what they do after a Yes vote.

"Sharing sterling and the common travel area is every bit as much in the interests of the rest of the UK as it is in the interests of an independent Scotland.

"A shared currency within a sterling area has been backed by the expert work of the Scottish Government Fiscal Commission, including its two Nobel laureates, by many leading business figures and academics, and by currency experts at Deutsche Bank and Citigroup.

"Sharing the pound has been described by No campaign leader Alistair Darling as ‘logical’ and ‘desirable’ - and it is clear from these poll figures that the overwhelming majority of people in the rest of the UK agree with that assessment."

However, the findings were dismissed by the pro-Union Better Together campaign.

A spokesperson told STV News: "The SNP have completely lost it. They are now commissioning polls to show that people in the UK value all the things that make the UK great."

Panelbase conducted its fieldwork from December 13 to 20 amongst a representative sample of 1011 people in the rest of the UK.

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