Most Scots do not have enough information on independence, poll suggests

Gordon Brown

Nearly six out of 10 Scots think they do not have enough information to make an informed choice on independence, a poll has suggested.

It comes as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on the Scottish National Party to “open the books” and hold public hearings in Holyrood and Westminster on the effects of leaving the UK.

Overall, fewer than a third of poll respondents felt confident about knowing the effect of independence on issues including the English border, Scotland’s security arrangements, tax, currency, and EU membership.

The survey was carried out on behalf of Our Scottish Future, a non-profit organisation set up by Mr Brown in 2019 which says it stands for “middle Scotland” – in between “hardline nationalism” and “muscular unionism”.

Some 1,000 Scots were questioned by Stack Data Strategy between May 7 and 8, with responses weighted to census figures on age, gender, education level, and recorded vote in the Scottish Parliamentary elections, the group said.

Mr Brown said in a statement: “Middle Scotland’s support for the SNP and for independence is conditional – and they are now asking the SNP for honesty, for openness and for getting the facts on the table.

“It is time for the SNP to open the books.

“I believe that it is time for the SNP to agree to hold public hearings on what independence means for everything from the pound to the pension.”

Respondents were asked: “Do you believe that campaigners for independence have given enough information about what Scotland would be like if it became independent (eg: on currency, taxation, legal rights, EU membership, the border) for you to make a fully informed choice at a future referendum?”

A total of 58% said “No”, while 30% said “Yes” and the remaining 12% said “don’t know”.

And among those who strongly favour independence, 66% said they had enough facts, but 24% said they did not.

Mr Brown added: “When even a quarter of committed independence supporters agree we don’t know enough to make an informed choice on independence, surely the onus is on the SNP to come clean?”

The poll also asked voters to set out their top three priorities.

Overall, “NHS catch-up” was the most popular, followed by “reduce Covid/vaccines” then “protect and generate jobs”.

“Prepare for a second independence referendum” was eighth on the list overall, fifth among SNP voters, and third among those who identify as nationalists, figures show.

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that a second vote on Scottish independence should be a “matter of when – not if”, while SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said earlier this week there is now a “fresh democratic commitment to give the Scottish people the right to choose an independent future”.