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Just 7% of people living in Wales want full independence

Support for independence for Wales stands at only 7%, according to a survey.

Today on St David's Day, a study published by ICM Research found that over a third of Welsh voters (36%) believe the Assembly should have more legislative powers - but should remain part of the UK.

Currently, politicians in the Senedd are only able to pass laws in 20 devolved fields, which includes health and education. The Assembly gained primary law making powers following a successful 'Yes' vote in a referendum last year.

According to the study, commissioned by BBC Wales, people's enthusiasm for independence would not increase if Scotland decided to leave the United Kingdom.

A Scottish referendum on independence is expected to take place within the next two years.

Of the 1,000 people surveyed, only 12% said they would be in favour of Wales breaking away from the UK should the same happen in Scotland.

Also, according to the study, 64% believe the Assembly should have the power to vary all or some taxes.

And 77% believe the NHS in Wales should operate in the same way as it does currently - compared to 18% who said they would like to see planned reforms to the health service in England repeated across the border.

BBC Wales Welsh Affairs editor Vaughan Roderick said: "It appears while there's no real demand for independence - even if Scotland leaves the Union - Welsh voters have yet to be convinced the current settlement is the right one.

"It's striking less than one year from the referendum more people want to see the Assembly's powers increase than think that the current powers are sufficient."

On the issue of whether taxation powers should be devolved to Wales, Mr Roderick added: "Politicians have always believed there's no real desire amongst voters for the Assembly to have powers over taxation.

"But it's clear from the poll almost two-thirds of voters believe the Assembly should have taxation powers - even if they disagree about the extent of those powers."

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said he welcomed the findings of the new poll.

"The Welsh Conservatives are the party of the Union and we're pleased that these poll figures show the public feel the same way," he added.

"We're richer, because inside the United Kingdom, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England are the seventh-richest economy on the planet and one of the world's biggest trading powers."

However, opposition to the Assembly's very being still remains. It came into existence in 1999 following a referendum which virtually split the country down the middle as to whether they were in favour of devolution.

According to the ICM survey, 22% said they would like to see the institution abolished altogether.

Belfast Telegraph


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