Nicola Sturgeon accused of ‘fact denying epidemic’ over confusing independence plan

SNP slammed over independence plans by Murdo Fraser

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The poll for the pro-Union think tank These Islands by Survation found more than half (57 percent) of those in favour of Scottish independence believed the SNP Government’s annual GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) figures are “made up by Westminster to hide Scotland’s true wealth”. These yearly figures, published by the Scottish Government, are used to calculate the country’s fiscal deficit. When undecided voters were taken out, just over half (51 percent) said they would vote against independence if a referendum was held tomorrow.

A net figure of three in 10 said they agreed the GERS figures were “made up by Westminster to hide Scotland’s true wealth”, while the same number disagreed.

More than half (54 percent) of those in favour of independence agreed with the statement “Scottish tax revenues are understated because of Scottish exports leaving via English ports”.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of independence supports also agreed with the statement “Scottish tax revenues are understated because taxes generated by the whisky industry are not properly allocated to Scotland”.

The SNP Government has insisted all exports which leave via ports in other parts of the UK still count as Scottish exports in official figures.

In regards to the party’s currency plans, just over a third (35 percent) of people responding in the poll said they did not know what the SNP’s policy for this in an independent Scotland is.

A quarter of people believed it was to “keep the pound indefinitely” while just under a fifth (17 percent) thought it was to “keep the pound until a new Scottish currency is adopted”.

These Islands chairman Kevin Hague said the poll points to a “fact-denial epidemic in Scotland” and said the think tank were “shocked” by the spread of economic disinformation in the Scottish independence debate.

He said: “This survey reveals for the first time the true scale of what amounts to a fact-denial epidemic in Scotland.

“We have been tracking the spread of economic disinformation in the Scottish independence debate for some time now, but we are still shocked by these findings.

“A desire to see a well-informed electorate should not be a partisan issue; this survey should worry anybody who believes that sound democratic processes require a well-informed electorate.

“The debate about Scotland’s future in the UK is obviously about a lot more than economics, but it is clear from this survey that many supporters of independence deny (or have been persuaded to deny) simple economic facts – that cannot be healthy for democracy.”

Survation polled 1,047 Scottish people between from April 21-23.

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The SNP’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes again pushed the case for Scottish independence, insisting Scotland is a “wealthy country” and can afford to be independent if it did split from the rest of the UK.

She also launched a scathing attack against Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party Government and urged Scottish voters to “put their future into their own hands by re-electing Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister with both votes SNP”.

Ms Forbes insisted: “The reality is that Scotland is a wealthy country and, as the IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) said, there is nothing to say that Scotland cannot afford to be independent.

“The election on Thursday will present the people of Scotland with a choice, whether to put their future into the hands of Boris Johnson’s sleaze-ridden Tory Government – who dragged us out of the EU against our will and are jeopardising our economy – or put their future into their own hands by re-electing Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister with both votes SNP.

“Only giving both votes to the SNP will guarantee the strong leadership and bold policies needed to move the country from pandemic to recovery, and re-elect Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister.”

Scotland voted against independence by 55 percent to 45 percent during the historic referendum in 2014.

Despite this, Scotland’s First Minister Ms Sturgeon is continuing to push the case for the country to split from the rest of the UK.

She has insisted the SNP will press ahead with their independence plans if her party can win a majority in the Scottish election on Thursday.

But this is despite Mr Johnson rejecting all demands to transfer relevant powers to Holyrood to hold another independence referendum, insisting the vote from seven years ago is a once in a generation event.

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