Scottish Daily Mail

700,000 say they will consider emigrating if Scotland votes Yes

- By Gareth Rose Scottish Political Reporter

‘Not providing honest answers’

MORE than one in six Scots would look at fleeing the country if there is a Yes vote in the independen­ce referendum.

The finding, which comes in a new poll, is a huge blow to Alex Salmond’s plan to bankroll his uncosted separation spending by increasing the working age population of Scotland.

The First Minister plans to open up Scotland’s borders to 500 migrants every week.

He has also claimed that fewer Scots would emigrate if the country becomes independen­t, and some expatriate­s would consider returning – but the Panelbase poll suggests the opposite is true.

Mr Salmond needs a population increase to fund his government giveaways – such as free prescripti­ons and OAP bus passes – as well as averting a pensions timebomb caused by a rapidly ageing population.

His opponents said the SNP’s failure to provide economic certainty was putting off voters.

This was underlined in some of the Panelbase findings, such as 42 per cent believing they would be worse off under independen­ce, against 34 per cent who expected to be better off. Almost 700,000 Scots said they would think about leaving if there is a Yes vote – while 5 per cent, or 205,000, would do the same following a No.

Professor Robert Wright, of Strathclyd­e University, said Ireland’s experience was ‘key to understand­ing what may happen in Scotland’.

Many Irish exiles returned during the boom years but during the 2007- 2012 financial crash, the number of people aged 15 to 24 fell by 9 per cent.

Professor Wright said: ‘The poll reflects worry and uncertaint­y about the future, the boat is being rocked a lot and they ( voters) don’t know whether it’s going to capsize.’

The poll also shows that the Yes campaign is failing to close the gap significan­tly with the Yes vote at 41 per cent and No at 48 per cent.

Blair McDougall, director of Better Together, said: ‘ The majority of Scots looking at Alex Salmond’s failure to provide honest and credible answers are saying no thanks to taking on so many risks.’

The SNP insisted it is the status quo that is pushing Scots to leave the country to look for work elsewhere and more could be done with the powers of independen­ce to create jobs.

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