A majority of English voters believe Scotland is subsidised by England, a new poll has revealed.
The latest poll from Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative donor, found voters south of the border think Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively benefit more from the union than the rest of the UK.
Just over half of all voters (51 per cent) think England subsidises Scotland financially, but they are divided as to whether or not they are happy with this arrangement (while four in ten say they don’t know whether they subsidise Scotland or not).
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Among Conservative leave voters, 54 per cent said they believed England subsidised Scotland and they were unhappy about it, 24 per cent agreed England subsidized spending in Scotland but they were happy with it, and 18 per cent said they didn’t know.
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Lord Aschroft noted the widespread view among English voters is that they "pay for Scotland".
He wrote: "The widespread view that the English “pay for Scotland” goes hand-in-hand with the knowledge that Scots get certain things – free NHS prescriptions and free university education – that are not available in England: in other words, that English taxpayers are paying for the Scots to have things that they don’t get themselves."
Lord Ashcroft added: "Moreover, it rankled with some of our English voters that Scotland seemed to show little affinity for the union they felt they were paying to maintain."
Brexit and independence
The survey of 1558 English adults also found more than three-quarters of Conservative Leave voters in England would rather the UK left the European Union than Scotland remained part of the UK.
Of those surveyed 43 per cent believe Brexit makes Scottish independence more likely, with 23 per cent saying it makes no difference.
Overall, 51 per cent of those polled, all based in England, said they wouldn’t mind either way if Scotland voted for independence, while 39 per cent said they would be sorry if Scotland voted to leave the UK, and only six per cent said they would be happy with the outcome.