By a Newsnet reporter
A secret poll commissioned by the UK Government and paid for using £46,000 of taxpayers’ cash shows an increase in support for independence, UK Government officials have admitted.
Confirmation of the poll’s existence and its findings were reported by news outlet Bloomberg.
According to Bloomberg, unnamed UK Government officials have confirmed rumours regarding the poll’s findings.
The news organisation reported: “Private polling conducted on behalf of the government suggests support for independence in Scotland is growing” Bloomberg said it was told by two UK government officials that there was an acknowledgement that the no camp “needs to come up with more convincing proposals to sway voters”.
The officials, said Bloomberg, asked not to be named.
The reports were backed up in today’s Scottish Sun, which quotes a No camp spokesman confirming that the taxpayer-funded opinion poll – which cost over £46,500 – has been discussed internally.
News that the poll, which shows a rise in support for Yes, has been discussed by opponents of Scottish independence has prompted more calls for the taxpayer funded survey to be released. The news coincided with a visit to Scotland by UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
Commenting, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said:
“Today is perfect timing for David Cameron’s visit to Scotland. As the Westminster leader’s trip to Scotland coincides with the sensational confessions on the secret poll – he must now be honest and publish the poll.
“The cat is out of the bag on the secret poll. We now know that this poll has been shared widely between Number 10 Downing Street and with some people within the anti-independence camp.
“In separate incidents yesterday UK government officials and bosses form the No campaign strayed off message and spoke to journalists. The shows that shows there is real discomfort with this poll in the No camp.”
Ms Fabiani insisted that the public had a right to view the survey and called on Better Together head Alistair Darling to confirm whether he had viewed its contents.
Ms Fabiani added: “The simple fact is that UK Government has spent over £46,500 of the public’s money on this polling. The least they can do is share the results.
“As for Alistair Darling, the question is whether he is party to the information in this poll? If he has seen it, it’s clearly unacceptable that a political campaign has been given access to taxpayer-funded research that is being kept hidden from the public.
“And if he hasn’t, it shows how out of the loop Mr Darling has become.”
She also said: “That Westminster is so desperate to hide the results of this poll speaks volumes. Polls show that the momentum is with the Yes campaign.
“No matter how bad the results are for the No camp, David Cameron must face up to the uncomfortable truths in the poll and ensure that his government publishes the results in full.”