LONDON (Reuters) - Scots are becoming more skeptical about the idea of Scotland becoming independent of the United Kingdom, two polls showed on Sunday, delivering a setback to nationalists who want the small country to call off its 307-year-old union with England.
The polls were published on the eve of the first full cabinet meeting to be held in Scotland by Prime Minister David Cameron’s government, a move meant to demonstrate his commitment to keeping the oil-rich nation in the UK.
Scots will decide whether to break from the UK in a referendum on September 18, with the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) trying to persuade them they would be freer and more prosperous on their own, a claim Cameron rejects.
An ICM poll for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper showed support for a “no” vote had risen to 49 percent, up five percentage points in a month, while support for a “yes” vote remained static at 37 percent.
A separate poll commissioned by the SNP itself and carried out by Panelbase put the “no” campaign on 47 percent, up from 43 percent in September, and the “yes” campaign on 37 percent, down from 44 percent in September.
The two polls come after British finance minister George Osborne ruled out a currency union with an independent Scotland and Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said it would be “difficult if not impossible” for a breakaway Scotland to join the European Union.
Cameron said Britain’s unity enabled it to maximize the benefits of Scotland’s North Sea oil and gas.
“I promise we will continue to use the UK’s broad shoulders to invest in this vital industry so we can attract businesses, create jobs, develop new skills in our young people and ensure we can compete in the global race,” he said in a statement.
Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Andrew Roche