Alex Salmond ‘more confident than ever’ of Yes win

Alex Salmond believes more than ever that a Yes vote will be returned next Thursday. Picture: TSPL

Alex Salmond believes more than ever that a Yes vote will be returned next Thursday. Picture: TSPL

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FIRST MINISTER Alex Salmond has said he is “more confident than ever” that Scotland will vote Yes to Scottish independence as the latest poll found the No campaign has moved back into a narrow lead.

The latest YouGov survey of almost 1,300 people for The Times and The Sun puts support for No at 52%, slightly ahead of Yes at 48%, once undecided voters are factored out.

His comments come after RBS, Tesco Bank, TSB, Lloyds and Clydesdale Bank issued market advisories on their contingency plans in the event of independence, suggesting they may move their headquarters to England.

Meanwhile the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said there had been no breach of the Ministerial Code in relation to reports of the RBS position in the media.

Mr Salmond had called on Sir Jeremy to investigate why “a Treasury source” discussed RBS plans to relocate its headquarters to London if Scotland votes for independence with the BBC several hours before it was announced to the markets.

But in a letter to the First Minister last night, Sir Jeremy said the Treasury had simply been confirming the position after reports appeared elsewhere in the media and there had been no breach of the Ministerial Code.

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“This was not a UK Government announcement - it was simply a confirmation of the Treasury’s understanding of RBS’ contingency planning,” he wrote.

“In response to .... informed media reports about RBS, the Treasury judged that it was important to set this out - at a time when the UK financial markets were closed - given their overarching responsibility for maintaining financial stability in the UK.”

Writing in the Daily Record Mr Salmond said that Scotland stands on the cusp of history and spoke of his confidence that the people of Scotland will say Yes.

He said: “Despite Westminster’s efforts we’ve seen a flourishing of national self-confidence.

“It’s this revival in Scottish confidence that tells me we’ll make a great success of an independent Scotland.

“After all the case for Yes is based on the firm belief that the best people to take decisions about Scotland are the people who live and work here.”

The latest poll comes after research by YouGov at the weekend put support for Yes ahead for the first time in the campaign, with 51% backing independence and 49% preferring to remain part of the UK, when undecided voters were excluded.

Today both sides will campaign across the country with less than a week to go until referendum day.

SNP leaders will visit Scotland’s seven cities while their Labour counterparts will rally support in Glasgow as both sides of the independence campaign continue to push for votes.

With just six days to go until the referendum Alex Salmond and his deputy Nicola Sturgeon will campaign for a Yes vote in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Perth.

Labour leader Ed Miliband will be joined by former prime minister Gordon Brown and Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont at a rally in Glasgow, as the party seeks to take the lead in building support for the No campaign.

Ukip will also join the campaign trail, with the party expected to host its own rally in Glasgow attended by leader Nigel Farage and his MEPs.

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Today, Mr Salmond will take to the skies visiting Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee, while Ms Sturgeon will be starting in Glasgow where she will be campaigning in Drumchapel with actors Martin Compston and Peter Mullan. She will then move on to Edinburgh and Stirling.

The pair will later meet up alongside Yes activists in Perth for more campaigning.

They plan to highlight what they argue are the seven key gains of independence, including job-creating powers, protection for the NHS, savings as a result of scrapping Trident, the SNP’s “transformational” childcare, control of social security and the minimum wage, and “always getting the governments we vote for”.

Labour’s latest rally comes after dozens of the senior figures from the party arrived north of the border on Thursday to help Mr Miliband shore up support.

Ms Lamont will also attend a Better Together campaign event in Falkirk earlier in the day to “make the case that being part of the UK keeps costs down for families in Scotland”.

It comes after retailers John Lewis warned that shoppers would be likely to face higher prices post-independence, and supermarket Asda said it would have to “reflect its cost” to operate north of the border after a Yes vote.

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