Scottish independence:Post-Yes tax rise ‘expected’

Over half of Scots expect to pay more tax if the country votes for independence. Picture: Contributed
Over half of Scots expect to pay more tax if the country votes for independence. Picture: Contributed
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MORE than half of Scots expect to pay more tax if Scotland becomes independent, a new poll has found.

The Panelbase survey also found that less than half think a currency union with the rest of the UK is the most likely outcome in the event of a Yes vote.

The poll, conducted for the Sunday Times and Real Radio Scotland questioned more than 1,000 people between January 29 and February 7.

It found that support for independence stands at 37 per cent, with support for the union at 49 per cent, while the remaining 14 per cent are undecided.

When those polled were questioned about taxation, 51 per cent said they expected to pay more in personal tax to fund public services under independence, while just over 32 per cent said they expected to pay less, and 17 per cent did not know.

On currency, 41 per cent of people believe keeping sterling in a formal currency union will be the outcome under independence, 15 per cent believe Scotland will continue using the pound with no formal currency union, and 8 per cent believe a separate Scottish currency will be set up.

A further 7 per cent said Scotland will join the Euro as soon as it is feasible, and 19 per cent said they did not have enough information to make a judgment.

Ivor Knox of Panelbase, said: “There’s something of a disconnect on tax which may prove influential. While there appears to be a general belief that independence would lead to tax rises, fewer than one in five voters actually supports increasing taxes to better fund services, and a mere 6% feel that people on their own level of income ought to be paying more tax as a general principle.”

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said: “Over half believe they would end up having to pay more tax to fund the public services they enjoy, while hardly anyone, including most Yes supporters, believe they would pay less.

“Less than half think an independent Scotland should use the pound - there is scepticism among Yes voters that this would be the best course of action. Many of the No side are disinclined to disbelieve the assurances that monetary union is possible.”

Pro-union campaign leader Alistair Darling said: “This poll will only add to the pressure on Alex Salmond on the currency issue. It is increasingly obvious that Scotland cannot leave the UK and keep the security of the UK pound. How much longer can he ignore the opposition of decision-makers in the rest of the UK and economic experts here in Scotland?

“Alex Salmond might be ignoring what the experts are saying but the voters aren’t. They know that the SNP cannot promise that we would keep the pound while the rest of the UK says no.

“Alex Salmond’s reckless threats to default on Scotland’s debts if the rest of the UK say no to a currency union reveal the First Minister’s weakness on this issue. The entire White Paper is predicated on keeping the pound. Losing the pound leaves the SNP without a plan for independence.”


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