Scottish Independence Yes Vote Would Make 17% Of People Consider Leaving Scotland

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People shelter under a Saltire and a Union Jack umbrellas as they watch Officer Cadets from City of Edinburgh Universities Training Corps fire a 21-Gun Royal Salute at Edinburgh Castle to mark the 93rd Birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh.
People shelter under a Saltire and a Union Jack umbrellas as they watch Officer Cadets from City of Edinburgh Universities Training Corps fire a 21-Gun Royal Salute at Edinburgh Castle to mark the 93rd Birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh.

About one in six people would consider moving away from Scotland in the event of a Yes vote in the referendum, according to a new poll.

A Panelbase survey for The Sunday Times and Heart radio station found that 17% of adults - or about 700,000 people - would think about leaving after independence.

In contrast, 5% - about 200,000 voters - said they would consider emigrating after a No vote, with 73% saying they plan to stay regardless of the outcome.

The poll of 1,041 people puts support for independence at 41%, up one per cent since the last Panelbase poll for The Sunday Times and Heart in May.

The No vote was also up one per cent to 48% while 11% are yet to make up their minds.

When undecided voters are excluded, the Yes vote stands at 46% and No support is at 54%.

The poll found that 34% of people think Scotland will be better-off under independence while 42% believe the country will be worse-off.

The results have been welcomed by both sides in the referendum campaign.

Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins said: "Support for Yes is solid and as we move into the final eight weeks of the campaign we will be working hard to continue the flow of undecided voters to our side.

"What this poll confirms is that, in spite of a renewed barrage of scaremongering and relentless negativity from the No camp and Westminster government, we are in touching distance of success on September 18. We need just over a four-point swing to put us in front.

"The greater strength of our huge grassroots campaign is of crucial importance. In a million conversations around the country, people are seeing a Yes vote as a unique opportunity to create a better Scotland.

"With independence we can make decisions that match our own needs, priorities and aspirations."

Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall said: "This poll is a blow to Alex Salmond's faltering campaign and makes clear that the momentum is with those of us saying no thanks to separation.

"The closer we get to the referendum the more people are thinking seriously about the consequences of independence for the pound, pensions and our public services.

"The majority of Scots looking at Alex Salmond's failure to provide honest and credible answers are simply saying no thanks to taking on so many risks.

"We can have the best of both worlds for Scotland - a strong Scottish Parliament, with more powers for Scotland guaranteed, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK. Only separation puts that at risk."

The SNP say 700,000 people have already left Scotland over the last 10 years, and challenged Westminster to explain how they would reverse this "exodus".

It has also criticised Westminster immigration policy, pointing to the example of American primary school teacher David MacIsaac who was threatened with deportation despite his commitment to living, working and contributing to Scotland.

The SNP has pledged to create a more open immigration policy with independence, in an attempt to boost the working-age population to pay towards pensions and public services.

SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell, convener of Holyrood's education and culture committee, said: "People are leaving Scotland under the Westminster system. That's not based on a poll, it is what is actually happening.

"Each year around 70,000 people leave Scotland, including more than 30,000 young people, which is more than 700,000 people over the past decade.

"Of course, many people will always want to travel and in the 21st century it is inevitable that people will move from one country to another to work and live. That is great - but no one should be denied economic opportunity at home.

"With the powers of independence we can do much more to help people find work in Scotland - and to reach the top of their chosen career in their own country. Independence means more opportunities in Scotland, and more people wanting to play a part in it.

"We can do that by designing tax and economic policy to attract and maintain HQ functions to Scotland; by implementing an industrial strategy for modern Scotland; by working together in a social partnership to improve wages; and by tailoring policy to make the most of the huge comparative advantages we have in key growth industries and services.

"And with Westminster we also have the ridiculous situation where people who are committed to living, working and contributing to Scotland are being forced out."