Scotland Election 2021: Independence top of voters' agenda as Covid takes back seat

ITV News' Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith talks to voters about how the pandemic has changed their priorities

Scotland is preparing to go to the polls to elect MSPs in just 10 days time, with Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP on course to win the most seats.

Her government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic was winning it extra support, which could mean another independence referendum.

Politicians on the campaign trail for the next month’s Holyrood election - including Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie – enjoyed a pint to mark the reopening of beer gardens while SNP leader Ms Sturgeon visited shops in North Berwick.

Ahead of the May 6 election, the biggest issue for this election is, unsurprisingly, independence, according to Ipsos Mori Scotland’s managing director Emily Gray.

But unlike last year, when voters would have likely been very interested in pandemic policies and recovery, people are not thinking a lot about coronavirus.

Voters appear to be more concerned by independence, education, the NHS and the economy – with the coronavirus fifth on that list.

“While the pandemic and the recovery from it is really important and cuts across those issues, nonetheless it’s not the most important thing on people’s mind when it comes to who they’ll vote,” Ms Gray said.

So, on the day Scotland’s restaurants and pubs opened back up, but with alcohol served outdoors only, ITV News has been hearing from voters on how their priorities have changed over the pandemic.