Polling this week
The latest Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times gave the No campaign a lead of 7 points at 48 to 41, with 11 per cent undecided.
With undecided voters stripped out, the No lead sits at 54 to 46. While this is at the closer end of the spectrum of recent polls, it nevertheless represents a 2 point fall in the Yes share since the last Panelbase survey which placed them on 48 points after Don’t Knows were excluded.
There was more encouraging news for the Yes campaign from the latest British Election Study (BES) which found that the campaign for independence is having more success in winning over undecided voters than the No campaign. Since the last BES study was published in March, a quarter of previously undecided voters had moved to Yes as opposed to 18% who had moved to No.
While this will give the Yes campaign some heart, they will need to do more still as the BES places support for a No vote at 51 per cent while Yes is on 39 per cent.
Better Together highlights risk of ‘border effect’
Better Together leader Alistair Darling this week highlighted recent academic research suggesting that a new border between Scotland and the remaining UK would reduce Scottish economic output by 5.5% or £8bn per year. This could result in thousands of job losses, the paper by economists from the University of Edinburgh and Stirling University said.
Separate analysis of the ‘border effect’ by Professor Brian Ashcroft at the University of Strathclyde found that up to 247,000 Scottish jobs are dependent on cross-border trade with the rest of the UK.
Speaking at the launch of a new campaign office in the Scottish Borders region, Darling said that access to the UK single market of 63m people is “good for Scottish jobs”, particularly in the south of Scotland “where workers, families, products and services cross between England and Scotland several times a day without any restrictions or additional costs.”
A spokesperson for the pro-independence Business for Scotland said businesses were more concerned at the prospect of an EU exit which would see Scotland “separated from a single market of some 500m people.”
SNP considers minimum wage increase
The SNP signalled this week that they would establish a commission in an independent Scotland to consider a new minimum wage that would rise at least in line with inflation. The party said that the minimum wage had failed to keep pace with cost of living pressures since 2008 and that around 150,000 Scots could benefit from the move. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would “look closely” at the proposals.
The move was criticised by the SNP’s political opponents who said people were being offered “jam tomorrow”. Scottish Labour’s Finance Spokesman Iain Gray said: “If the SNP were serious about helping the low paid then they would have supported Labour amendments on the living wage.”
Former Bank Deputy Governor dismisses currency union plans
Sir Andrew Large, the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, has suggested that a currency union after a Yes vote is “not compatible with Scotland being politically independent and is therefore not on offer”. Writing with Sir Martin Jacomb, the former Chairman of Prudential, in the Sunday Times, Large said Scotland “would have no influence over sterling interest rates or the exchange rate. Nor could it rely on UK central bank support in hard times.” Sir Martin and Sir Andrew said the best way forward would be to continue “currency union as part of the UK”.
Swinney says Yes vote will boost global presence of Scots firms
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney has said that a Yes vote will enable Scotland “to use the full range of economic levers at our disposal to enable Scottish companies to increase their global reach.” He said Scotland’s GDP per head is better than the UK as a whole, as well as major economies such as France and Japan, and that a Yes vote would bring the opportunity to “use that wealth to help employers across Scotland, instead of wasting £100bn on a new system of Trident nuclear weapons.”
Barclays analysts consider independence impact on the stock market
Analysts at Barclays have suggested that a Yes vote to independence could have a “modestly negative” impact on the UK stock market and present significant challenges to a number of companies in the FTSE 350. The report suggests there could be particular consequences for sectors such as banking, oil, defence, insurance, asset management and property.
The Scotch whisky industry would also face significant challenges, particularly if an independent Scotland was not re-admitted to the European Union.
RBS outline independence concerns
The Royal Bank of Scotand has said that a Yes vote in September may have significant consequences in terms of increased uncertainty, a potential negative impact on credit ratings and on the “fiscal, monetary, legal and regulatory landscape to which the group is subject”. The comments in the bank’s half-year results report also suggest that independence may affect Scotland’s status in the EU. The report states that any of these factors could “have a material adverse effect on the group’s business, financial condition, results of operations and
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said that RBS Chief Executive Ross McEwan had said himself earlier in the year that RBS would adapt in the event of a Yes vote. The spokesperson said that Scotland “has a strong and diverse economy” and that independence would bring the powers to build on existing strengths and “create a more prosperous and secure economy – which is good for the financial sector and everyone else.”
John Kerr in the FT: ‘Known unknowns’ about Scotland’s place in Europe
Several unresolved questions hang over whether the Scots have a future in Europe
Martin Kettle in The Guardian: Remember 2014, the last golden summer of the old Britain
From the vantage point of 2024, the referendum’s yes vote can be seen as the beginning of an unravelling, and a terrible waste of time
Lesley Riddoch in The Scotsman: Scots athletes are game-changers
Our Commonwealth Games heroes have made us feel like Scotland can succeed at anything
Billy Kay in The Scotsman: Yes to a richer future
Scottish independence will bring equality and opportunity to the forefront in Scotland
Mure Dickie in the FT: English accents pipe up in Scottish independence debate
Mure Dickie looks at the views of English voters living north of the border
Photo: Vicky Brock Photography