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  By a Newsnet reporter
 
A newly published poll has indicated that the number of Scots who believe they will be worse off if independent is lower than those who believe it will be better or the same.
 
The poll, carried out by Angus Reid on behalf of the Mail on Sunday, asked respondents whether they felt Scottish independence would leave them “better off, make no difference, or leave you worse off”.

According to the survey, only 38% believed that they would be worse off.  The poll of 1,003 people found that 41% believed independence would make them better off or make no difference.

The poll, conducted between the 30-31st of January asked: “thinking of your own financial position, do you think independence will leave you better off, make no difference, or leave you worse off?”

Better off - 14%
No difference - 27%
Worse off - 38%
Not sure - 21%

According to the same poll, the gap between those supporting independence and those against has narrowed slightly and now stands at 15 points – Yes on 32%, No on 47% with don't knows on 20% and 1% saying they will not vote.

The poll was the first survey since the wording of the question was effectively settled, the poll asked: "Should Scotland be an independent country?".

The result is broadly in line with recent polls suggesting the No vote slipping slightly and falling below fifty per cent, with the Yes support solid on a third.  However when compared to a recent Scottish Social Attitudes Survey which claimed to show support for Yes on 23%, this new poll indicates the trend is currently towards the Yes vote.

Meanwhile two of Scotland’s most successful businessmen have spoken out in favour of independence.

Jim McColl and Sir Tom Hunter highlighted the need for Scotland to be able to shape its own economic policy, with Sir Tom subjecting the anti-independence campaign to scathing criticism warning that the “No campaigners are digging themselves one enormous hole if they believe that a dual ‘status quo’ and ‘scare them to death about independence’ message will work”.

Mr McColl, CEO of Clyde Blowers highlighted the fact that “the only credible way to secure the normal financial powers [is] through a Yes vote for independence”.  The entrepreneur also made clear that “on a simple balance sheet calculation, Scotland can afford to be independent if we so choose.”

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP said:

“The anti-independence campaign has been determined to scaremonger and whip up uncertainty over Scotland’s economy, but today’s events have blown a major hole in their efforts.

“Sir Tom Hunter has rightly warned them that they are simply ‘digging themselves into a hole’, while Jim McColl has made a positive and compelling case for Scotland to gain the powers we need over our own economy.

“As if these heavyweight interventions weren’t bad enough for the No campaign, an opinion poll today has shown that their scaremongering is simply failing to register with people.

“Clearly the No campaign’s argument that an independent Scotland will cost everyone the grand sum of £1 is doing little to turn people against the idea.

“The fact is that with the powers of an independent Scotland we will gain the tools we need to make Scotland a more prosperous, fairer country and no amount of negativity from the No campaign will change that fact.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the anti-independence side is losing the economic argument as more and more people recognise the opportunities that a Yes vote in next year’s referendum offers Scotland.

“On the economy as on a host of other issues, it is people in Scotland who are best placed to make decisions over the direction Scotland takes and only a Yes vote will give us the opportunity to shape policies that always put the needs of people living here first.”

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