A MAJORITY of Scots believe the UK will not exist in its current form in five years’ time, according to a new poll which also puts backing for independence in the lead.
The latest survey – carried out by Ipsos – found that, with don’t-knows removed, 46% of Scots think the Union will be over by 2027, while only 45% believe it will still be in existence. 

Looking ahead 10 years, again with don’t-knows removed, 61% believed the Union will have broken up, while only 25% said they thought it would remain intact.

When respondents were asked if they would prefer to see Scotland vote for independence or to stay in the UK, 50% backed the Yes option, 43% opted for the latter, while 4%  said they didn’t mind either way.

Across the UK overall, the proportion predicting the demise of the Union within the next decade has fallen slightly compared with early 2021 – from 56% to 50% in February this year.

Meanwhile, the poll also found the Scottish Government continues to attract more praise than the UK Government for its handling of the pandemic - both north of the Border and across the rest of the UK.

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However, it highlighted that people in Scotland are the most pessimistic in the UK about the economic prospects in the coming months.

The Ipsos UK Knowledgepanel surveyed more than 4000 people across the UK at the beginning of February, 

“Scots remain more likely than those in England and Wales to say the UK will not exist in its current form for much longer,” the report said. 

“As many as 61% of Scots say the UK will not exist in its current form in 10 years’ time, compared with 50% across the UK as a whole. 46% of Scots think it will not exist in 5 years’ time, compared with 33% across the UK as a whole.”

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When it comes to views across the UK on whether Scotland should vote for independence, just over half of people in England and Wales say they would prefer it to stay part of the Union. However, the report notes views in Northern Ireland are less clear, with 42% saying they want Scotland to stay but 29% backing Scotland to leave the UK.

It also notes: “The Scottish Government continues to attract more praise than the UK Government for its handling of the pandemic, both among those in Scotland, and across the rest of the UK. 

The National:

“Views of the Scottish Government are, unsurprisingly, most favourable in Scotland, where 59% say the Scottish Government has handled the pandemic well, compared with just 22% who say the same of the UK Government.”

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The survey also found that slightly more people in England think the Scottish Government has handled the pandemic well, at 44% compared to 38%.

Across the UK, just 15% think the general economic condition of the UK will improve in the next 12 months, while 67% say it will get worse. 

Expectations are even more pessimistic in Scotland, where 73% expect the UK’s economy to get worse in the next year. 

Only 9% of people north of the Border think Scotland’s economy will improve, and 68% that it will get worse.

When it comes to how quickly it will recover from the pandemic, the most common view in Scotland was that it will recover around the same rate as the UK, at 43%.

Just 15% believe it will bounce back more quickly.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos Scotland, said: “Scots are pessimistic about the country’s economic prospects, which shows the public are well aware of the challenges facing the Scottish Government in delivering on its recently published National Strategy for Economic Transformation. 

“Given wider pressures on the cost of living and the ongoing covoid-19 pandemic, it comes as no surprise that people are feeling uncertain about the short-term future of the economy, and are divided over whether Scotland’s economic prospects are likely to be any different from the UK’s as a whole. 

“Meanwhile, although three in five Scots expect the demise of the UK within 10 years, those in England and Wales would still prefer Scotland to vote No in any second referendum.”