Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

28% of SNP voters 'back Devo Plus'

Jeremy Purvis, leader of the Devo Plus group, thinks it is highly significant that just over 60 per cent of SNP voters support independence
Jeremy Purvis, leader of the Devo Plus group, thinks it is highly significant that just over 60 per cent of SNP voters support independence

Less than two-thirds of SNP voters want independence, according to a poll.

The survey suggests that 28% of party supporters would instead opt for increased devolution while remaining in the United Kingdom.

More than half of Labour voters and just under a third of Conservatives would also back more power short of independence.

The results show an appetite for Devo Plus, according to think-tank Reform Scotland. The system would give Holyrood powers for income and corporation tax, among other levies, as well as assigning a geographic share of Scotland's oil revenue.

The choice is not likely to feature on the ballot paper in the referendum in late 2014 unless the Scottish and UK governments agree to a multi-option vote.

Reform Scotland chairman Ben Thomson said: "This polling reveals starkly the emerging consensus amongst all sides of the political divide. Last week's poll showed that Devo Plus was by some margin the most popular way forward for Scotland, and this breakdown shows that its popularity transcends political boundaries.

"I am confident that this new information will be considered carefully by both Yes Scotland and Better Together. At present, neither of those campaigns is promoting the way forward which is most favoured by the people of Scotland. Devo Plus is a solution around which all of Scotland's political parties can coalesce."

Former Liberal Democrat MSP Jeremy Purvis, leader of the Devo Plus group, added: "The fact that only just over 60% of SNP voters support independence and also the vast majority of Labour party voters want the non-independence parties to work together for Devo Plus is highly significant.

"It shows that most ordinary people across Scotland are less interested in the contortions over the issue of the ballot paper but are wanting parties to work together on how to deliver a stronger Scottish Parliament within the UK.

"The Devo Plus proposal is a carefully considered and fully worked-up plan on how to deliver this. It's fairly clear now it's the most popular way forward also."

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