THE Scottish public’s confidence in the UK economy has dropped further as the cost-of-living crisis deepens, according to a new poll.

New findings from Ipsos’s UK Knowledge Panel survey showed 80% of Scots expect the general economic condition of the UK to worsen in the next 12 months, compared to 73% in February 2022.

Results also showed that Scots were pessimistic when it came to Scotland’s general economic condition, with 73% believing it would get worse over the year ahead, compared to 68% earlier this year.

On Wednesday, UK inflation hit its highest level for 41 years as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt prepares to outline his autumn Budget on Thursday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also said she is “profoundly concerned” about what will be announced as the SNP warned the Tory government to “deliver help for all those who need it”.

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People were also divided over whether or not independence would make Scotland’s economy better or worse off.

Results showed 43% expect Scotland would be better off out of the Union but just as many expect it would be worse off.

This meant 14% of Scots polled either felt there would be “no difference” or “didn’t know” what they thought.

Earlier this year, Sturgeon unveiled the economic case for Scottish independence. She said at the time that the UK economic model is “demonstrably failing” and that independence is “essential” in building an economy which benefits everybody.

The SNP have said the poll has shown the people of Scotland’s clear preference as the chaos of Brexit bites. 

Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said: “People in Scotland know exactly what Westminster control means – it’s continued economic chaos imposed by successive Tory governments that Scotland has rejected since the 1950s. 

“The cost-of-living crisis only compounds the economic catastrophe of Brexit, the damage of which this shambolic Westminster government has only served to accelerate, and which Labour, as a pro-Brexit party under Keir Starmer, is fully signed up to.”

Starmer said the “economic benefits” of independence were obvious given the damage caused by Brexit. 

He continued: “It’s no surprise that people in Scotland want a different future, free from financial turmoil and the damage of Westminster governments that Scotland doesn’t vote for.

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“People instinctively know that decisions about Scotland should be made by the people of Scotland and that independence is the opportunity to get rid of Westminster governments we don’t vote for, for good. 

“And Westminster’s Trump-like bid to deny democracy by blocking the people of Scotland having their say in an independence referendum simply will not hold.”

Across the rest of the UK, the majority of people polled believed that Scotland’s economy would be worse off if it became an independent country.

Managing director of Ipsos Scotland Emily Gray said: “Economic and currency arguments are among the most important factors that shape people’s views on whether Scotland should become independent or stay in the Union.

The National: The FM unveiled the economic case for independence earlier in the yearThe FM unveiled the economic case for independence earlier in the year (Image: PA/Canva)

“These results show that neither pro-independence or pro-Union campaigners enjoy an advantage on this issue at present in the eyes of the public, with Scots divided on whether Scotland would be better or worse off economically if the country was independent.”

In total, 6944 people over 16 in the UK took part in the survey which included 2086 people in Scotland.

Across all four nations, people felt it was more likely that the economies of the rest of the Union would be worse off (37%) than better off (20%) if Scotland became independent.

Over half of the UK public said they would prefer Scotland vote against leaving the UK if there was to be a second referendum.

The Scottish Government will find out the judgement from the Supreme Court case on indyref2 on November 23. 

Although the majority of the UK public do not anticipate the Union’s imminent demise, there is less certainty about the UK’s future in five years’ time.

Only 46% of respondents believe the UK will exist in its current form and 38% said it won’t.

This is fewer than was the case in February 2022 when the majority (51%) expected the Union to remain while a third (33%) expected it not to exist in its current form in five years.

The Scottish public are more likely to expect the breakup of the Union within 10 years (61%) or 20 years (67%) than the UK public overall are.

Gray added: "With the cost of living crisis deepening, most people expect gloomy economic times ahead, and the measures that governments at both Holyrood and Westminster set out over the coming months to help weather the crises may well shift public views on Scotland’s economic future further.”