Overwhelming demand for consequences of No vote to be spelled out

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  By Martin Kelly

Most Scots agree that the No campaign must define exactly what a No vote will mean, according to results from a newly published survey.

According to a new Panelbase poll carried out on behalf of the SNP, five times more people in Scotland want the consequences of a No vote to be defined, than do not.

The survey which was carried out by Panelbase between December 13th and 20th on behalf of the SNP, asked 1012 adults if they believed those arguing for a No vote should publish their own version of the Scottish Government’s Independence White Paper.

A whopping 70% of those polled said Yes, against just 14% who said No with 16% yet to decide.

As with previous surveys carried out by Panelbase, there was a breakdown of responses along party lines which showed a majority amongst supporters of every major party in Scotland in favour of a No document.

Among people who voted Labour in the Scottish Parliament constituency vote in 2011, 68% believe that No campaigners should publish such a document with 14% against; 58% of Tory voters want this information with 29% against; 76% of Lib Dem voters want these details from No with 15% against; and 75% of SNP voters think No campaigners should publish a document with 12% against.

Welcoming the figures, the Deputy First Minister and SNP Depute Leader Nicola Sturgeon, who will on Monday address an audience at the University of St Andrews, said:

“Last November, the Scottish Government published a detailed, 670-page guide setting out a wealth of information and answering questions about how an independent Scotland will work.

“But the referendum is not a choice between change or no change – it is a choice between two futures, and therefore those arguing for a No vote have an obligation to set out what would happen to Scotland after a No. Former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish also backed this position at the weekend.

“People in Scotland want such a document by a factor of five-to-one – with majorities across supporters of all political parties – and this New Year is the time for the No campaign to start answering the hard questions and publishing detailed information about what would happen if Scotland votes No.

“For example, if Westminster retains control over Scotland, how much would Scotland’s budget be cut by, would we still be in Europe in 2020, and how many more children would be plunged into poverty as a result of UK welfare cuts?

“As this poll demonstrates, people want answers from No.”

The pro-Union Better Together campaign has consistently refused to address what the consequences of a No vote might be.  There have been concerns raised that Scotland’s block grant may be under threat if the Barnett Formula was to be scrapped after a No vote.

A spokesman for Better Together said: “The SNP’s White Paper manifesto for breaking up the UK was nothing more than a wish list without a price list.

“Rather than facing up to the consequences of breaking up the UK, the nationalists promise us the sun would shine brighter everyday if only we were independent.  The idea that the White Paper was compelling is, frankly, laughable.

“There is a strong positive case for Scotland remaining part of the UK.  Today we have the best of both worlds – a strong Scottish Parliament with responsibility for schools, hospitals and childcare, and we benefit from being part of the larger UK.

“Why would we want to trade the strength and security of being part of the UK for the risk and uncertainty of independence?”

The UK Government argued against a so-called third option of Devo-Max from being included on the referendum ballot paper when negotiations with the Scottish Government took place.

The referendum question will now only ask voters if Scotland should be an independent country, with an option for either Yes or No.