Scots warm to the Euro

The Scottish National Party today [Sunday] published the results of an
opinion poll on the euro commissioned by the SNP from NFO System Three, and previewed in this morning's Sunday Herald newspaper.

The key findings on the poll are:

* 60 per cent of Scots say that they expect to be using the euro as the currency in this country within the next 5 years, compared to just 32 per cent who expect to be using pounds - a majority of two-to-one.

* 45 per cent of Scots say that being in the euro zone would be in
Scotland's long-term economic interests, compared to 35 per cent who
disagree; 'don't know' is 20 per cent. Removing the 'don't knows' equates to 56 per cent to 44 per cent who believe that being in the euro is in Scotland's interests.

* On balance, Scots believe that being in the euro is "more" rather than "less" important for Scotland than it is for the rest of the UK. 24 per cent say it is more important for Scotland, 15 per cent say less. 50 per cent believe that there is no difference, i.e. that it is equally important for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

* In terms of a euro referendum now, the gap between Yes and No is just 9 per cent: 36 per cent would vote Yes, 45 per cent No, and 18 per cent 'don't know'. In the 35-44 age group, there is a majority in favour; a gap of only 3 points in the 45-54 bracket; and it is exactly equal among 55-64 year-olds.

The most recent UK-wide poll - conducted at almost exactly the same time as the System Three poll - showed that 58 per cent would vote No, and 25 per cent Yes - a UK No lead of 33 points (ICM Research, sampled 21-23 June 2002).

And the last Scottish poll indicated that 48 per cent would vote against the euro, 29 per cent would vote for - a No lead of 19 points at that time (Scotland on Sunday, 13 January 2002). The latest poll suggests that has been halved.

SNP Westminster leader Mr Alex Salmond MP said:

"This is a highly significant poll, which shows that the underlying
attitudes of Scots are favourable towards euro membership. Scots are
clearly warming to the euro. Most significantly of all, 60 per cent of Scots think that the euro will be a reality in this country within 5 years, and a majority believe that being in the euro zone is in Scotland's economic interests.

"Divisions and dithering at the top of New Labour in London are holding the euro debate back, when the reality is that the case for the euro is there to be won in Scotland now."

SNP Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Angus Robertson MP added:

"UK interest rates are consistently higher than eurozone rates - with that gap likely to grow in the months to come. And there are substantial instabilities in the UK economy at the present time, as the stock market situation illustrates.

"In these circumstances, people know that being in the euro would deliver cheaper mortgages, rents, and business costs; and a better deal for tourism, manufacturing, farming, and exports.

"Rather than being held back by London, Scotland's future lies in becoming an independent nation within the European Union."

Note: The SNP/System Three poll is based on a sample of 972 adults,
interviewed across 43 constituencies in Scotland over the period 20-26 June.