SUPPORT for Scotland becoming an independent country has grown to 47%, according to a poll published today.

It puts backing among voters for the Yes cause two percentage points higher than since the September 2014 referendum - despite there being no campaign currently on the matter.

The First Minister has said she will decide in the autumn whether to push ahead with plans to hold a second plebiscite on the matter once the terms of Brexit are clear.

Asked whether Nicola Sturgeon should call a new vote this autumn, 23% thought she should, 19% were in favour of another vote eventually but do not think she should do so in the autumn, while 9% were unsure. A further 49% said she should not call a second referendum at all.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, who is also the SNP's business convener, welcomed the results.

"Support for independence remains at historically high levels, with a Yes majority within the margin of error and well within touching distance.

"And we're not - yet - in the heat of an independence campaign," he said.

"But as Westminster moves from chaos to utter shambles, proving beyond doubt it is incapable of protecting our interests, the case for independence becomes ever stronger.

"Little wonder that since last year there has been a marked rise in the number of people who back giving the people of Scotland that choice over their future.

"With the full powers of independence, we could make better choices in Scotland's interests and avoid the damage of a Tory Brexit."

The poll was carried out by the research company Survation for the Daily Record.

The paper was seen by some in the Yes side for helping to swing a No vote in 2014 after it published the Vow - promising a strengthened devolution settlement and more powers for Holyrood.

But last month the paper's former editor Murray Foote announced he would vote Yes if a new independence referendum was held. He later told The National he did not regret publishing the Vow and that in time it would be seen as helping to bring independence about.

However, former First Minister Alex Salmond disagreed telling The National the Vow presented "a No campaign then in total disarray with a rallying point" in the final week of the campaign.

Nicola Sturgeon initially said the issue of Scottish independence was "back on the table" the day after the June 2016 Brexit referendum, when 62 per cent of Scots voted to remain in the EU.

But she postponed plans for a new vote after the SNP lost 21 seats at last year's general election.

Survation interviewed 1002 Scots online between July 5 and 10 following the Cabinet resignations over Theresa May's Brexit proposals.

Strathclyde University politics expert Professor Sir John Curtice said the poll's results showed Brexit had still made no real difference to the independence question.

He said: "Although the SNP have had somewhat the better of the argument in the row about the impact of the Brexit Withdrawal Bill on the powers of the Scottish Parliament, there's still no sign of any significant change in the level of support for independence - or much evidence of enthusiasm for an early ballot among the party's supporters."

The Pro-Union parties seized on the poll results, demanding the First Minister does not move forward with a new independence referendum.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: "The people of Scotland want the Government focused on jobs, schools and hospitals, not another referendum campaign that creates false divisions between working class people when the real divide is between the richest and the rest of us.

"The chaos at the heart of the Tory Government has focused people's minds on the extreme challenges of leaving a political and economic union, and it is clear that there is not strong support for Nicola Sturgeon to try to force another referendum on to the agenda."

A Scottish Conservatives spokesman added: "This poll again shows the majority of people do not want a second referendum - and they overwhelmingly don't want one any time soon.

"Nicola Sturgeon should use this research as motivation to take the threat of another divisive vote off the table."