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Fears grow about economic fate of go-it-alone Scots

By Catriona Webster

Support for Scottish independence has increased despite growing anxiety about how a Yes vote would affect the region's economy and international standing, according to a survey.

The latest Scottish Social Attitudes survey found support for a Yes vote increased from 36% to 39% during the last 12 months, while No support fell from 64% to 61%, excluding undecided voters.

Despite this, 38% now feel an independent Scotland's influence on the world stage would be weaker, up from a quarter in 2013.

Fears have also increased over the state of the economy under independence, with 44% believing it would be worse, an increase of 10 points since last year.

Survey analysts said the findings overall appear to show that referendum campaigning "has indeed made a difference to public attitudes".

John Curtice, co-director of the survey at ScotCen Social Research, said: "Although support for a Yes vote has increased during the last 12 months, more voters have in fact become nervous about the consequences of leaving the UK.

"Support for independence has only increased because those who are convinced it would be beneficial for Scotland are more willing to put their cross in the Yes box.

"However, at present there are still insufficient voters who are of that view to deliver a majority for independence." The annual survey also found a significant gender gap in support for independence, with a 12-point difference between men and women – 31% compared with 43% when undecided voters are excluded.

Meanwhile, Scotland's Finance Secretary has come under renewed pressure to set out a 'Plan B' for currency. John Swinney said control of economic and tax policy under independence could create more job opportunities.

Unionist parties at Westminster have repeatedly ruled out First Minister Alex Salmond's favoured option of a formal currency union.

Pro-Union campaigner John Paul McHugh, assistant general secretary of Community Trade Union, said: "The nationalists don't seem to understand that their campaign has zero credibility on the economy and jobs until they answer the most basic question – what will our currency be?"

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