Welsh hopes and fears over Scottish vote

Newly published research shows that the Welsh are more willing than the English to help Scotland if it chooses independence but that Wales is hoping that the Scots vote no next month.

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Plaid say Scotland faces a grim future as part of UK

Plaid Cymru has warned of a "grim" outcome for Scotland if it votes against independence next month and insisted that if the Scots leave the UK, Wales can benefit. The party has seized on polling evidence that the English want Scots to stop benefitting from public spending above the UK average.

The same poll showed that the Welsh agree with the English on this issue, although there's little support in either Wales or England for Scottish independence. Plaid is supporting the campaign by its SNP sister party for a 'yes' vote next month.

Public opinion in England on how Scotland should be treated if it votes ‘no’ paints a grim scenario for Scotland if its people vote against independence in the referendum. There could be public demand in England for a backlash against Scottish public expenditure and against the voting rights of Scottish MPs. This idea of ‘playing hard-ball’ with Scotland is not likely to help rebalance the UK or solve the problem of political and economic power being concentrated in the south-east of England.

Plaid Cymru maintains that the emergence of an independent Scotland would be in Wales' economic, social and political interests. We have said that following the Scottish referendum there needs to be a new era of self-government for Wales based on a reserved powers model, so that we have a more equal relationship between Wales, England and any other parts of the UK.

– Plaid Cymru AM Rhun ap Iorwerth
  1. Nick Powell

Welsh friendship for independent Scotland

If Scotland votes for independence, Welsh voters would want the rest of the UK to back Scottish efforts to join the European Union and NATO but English voters would oppose offering any support. That's the most startling finding of newly published research into attitudes in the two countries to the Scottish referendum.

  • Support Scotland joining EU and NATO?
  • Wales 34% agree, 32% disagree
  • England 26% agree, 36% disagree

The YouGov poll for Cardiff and Edinburgh Universities also found that although the Welsh are against the idea of letting an independent Scotland keep the pound sterling, there's not the overwhelming opposition found in England.

  • An independent Scotland sharing the pound?
  • Wales 36% agree, 44% disagree
  • England 23% agree, 53% disagree

Both the Welsh and the English strongly support more devolution for Scotland if it rejects independence next month. However, both countries are against allowing the Scots to carry on having public expenditure above the UK average.

Scotland's current spending levels are often contrasted with the position in Wales, where politicians of all parties have called for a more generous settlement to reflect Welsh needs. Nevertheless the Welsh appear to feel less strongly about the issue than the English.

  • Public spending in Scotland reduced to the UK average?
  • Wales 48% agree, 12% disagree
  • England 56% agree, 9% disagree

The findings are the result of a large-scale survey carried out in April. Like other polls, it found little difference in between Wales and England when it came to a strong desire for Scotland to vote to stay in the UK

  • Should Scotland be an independent country?
  • Wales 19% agree, 61% disagree
  • England 19% agree, 59% disagree

It’s interesting that while there is almost no difference in the views of people in England and Wales about what they wish to see happen in the Scottish referendum, there are clear differences in how people wish to see the aftermath dealt with. Put bluntly, the English are more inclined to want to play hard-ball with Scotland. Those in Wales are notably more cautious about this, and more favourable to a more conciliatory approach.

– Prof Roger Scully, Cardiff University

Researchers at Cardiff and Edinburgh Universities, working alongside the polling agency YouGov, consulted a representative sample of 3695 adults in England and 1027 in Wales. The surveys were undertaken in late April 2014.

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