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by Staff reporter
22 September 2022
Scottish independence: Support increases for independence amid growing polarisation

Support for separation has grown in recent years according to the annual study. | Credit: Alamy

Scottish independence: Support increases for independence amid growing polarisation

More than half of people in Scotland backed independence when asked to choose between devolution, no Scottish Parliament or leaving the Union, according to a new study.

Published by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), the annual British Social Attitudes survey shows that when asked to choose between independence, devolution and no Scottish Parliament, just over half of people in Scotland (52 per cent) favour independence, up from 23 per cent in 2012.

But the study said supporters of the SNP and the Conservatives are more divided than ever over the question of how Scotland should be governed, with 82 per cent of SNP supporters favouring independence compared to just five per cent of Tories.

The gap between supporters of the two parties on this issue has grown from 46 percentage points in 2012 to 77 percentage points today.

In 2011, around a quarter of Conservative supporters (24 per cent) and Labour supporters (25 per cent) in England said that Scotland should become independent.

Now almost twice as many Labour supporters (30 per cent) as Conservative supporters (16 per cent) express that view.

Sir John Curtice, senior research fellow at NatCen, said: “Supporters of the major parties in Scotland and England are more polarised than ever over the question of how Scotland should be governed, something that will not make it easier to secure widespread assent to whatever outcome emerges from the current debate.

“Support for leaving the UK has also grown in Northern Ireland, while more people than ever want to change the voting system in Westminster, making the issue of how the United Kingdom should be governed more contentious perhaps than ever before. The new government faces a particularly formidable challenge in bringing the Union together.”

SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown said:  “This is the highest-ever support for independence in this series of authoritative surveys. Becoming independent means never again will Scotland suffer the damage of Westminster Tory governments people here don’t vote for. 

“Because of Westminster control over Scotland we are subject to a Tory party moving ever more to the right - apparently planning to scrap the cap on bankers’ bonuses while the vast majority of people take a hit to their living standards because of Brexit.”

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