Scottish independence: Consumer confidence drops as referendum nears

Catherine Neilan
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Saltire with Union Jack: Scottish independence has affected consumer confidence (Source: Getty)
The possibility of Scottish independence has lowered confidence in the nation's economy among people living north of the border, new data suggests.
A recent poll shows that 29 per cent of Scots believe their economy will worsen over the next six months – up from 16 per cent a month previously. That compares with 22 per cent for the rest of the UK.
Conversely, the number of people who think the Scottish economy will improve in that time has dropped to 14 per cent, down from 28 per cent at the start of August.
And although the referendum debate has dampened consumer confidence throughout the UK, economic optimism is worse in Scotland than any other part of the union – almost nine times as bad as it is in England, according to analyst firm Conlumino.
Consumer confidence in Scotland is now at its lowest for more than a year – despite the economy actually improving in that time.
No doubt, much of the drop has been driven by some of the tactics used by both camps to bolster their vote. Certainly the No camp has been heavy on the fear factor, focusing on the uncertainty of Scotland leaving the union.
In the past couple of weeks, we have also seen an increase in business leaders weighing in with claims ranging from the rising cost of groceries faced by an independent Scotland to the number of businesses that would redomicile in London.

Conlumino managing director Neil Saunders said:

The forthcoming vote and what happens afterwards is mired in uncertainty and that uncertainty breeds negativity among consumers. However, this isn’t a great result for the Yes campaign: as the prospects of independence have increased the sentiment of Scotland has plunged.

All results are taken from Conlumino’s ongoing Consumer Sentiment Tracker, which interviews a nationally representative sample of around 2,000 UK consumers each month.

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