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Only 1-in-8 people in Scotland believe independence is one of the most important issues the new government should prioritise, a poll taken on the eve of the election has revealed.

The Survation poll also found that only 37 per cent of Scots believe there should be a referendum before the end of 2023 – Nicola Sturgeon’s proposed timeline.

And asked how they would vote in a referendum, 58 per cent said they would choose to ‘remain part of the United Kingdom’ when asked ‘should Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom or leave the United Kingdom?’

The poll of over 1,000 adults in Scotland was carried out for the country’s largest pro-UK campaign group, Scotland in Union, with fieldwork running to May 4.

Scotland in Union will this week be promoting the findings on billboards and on social media as a reminder to the SNP that it must listen to the people of Scotland and focus on people’s priorities – and not treat every vote it received as support for a referendum.

Asked to select up to three of the most important issues the new Scottish Government should prioritise, 50 per cent chose NHS and social care, 46 per cent economy and jobs, 45 per cent Covid-19 recovery, 30 per cent education – and only 12 per cent independence.

Asked about the possibility of another referendum, 51 per cent agreed it would make ‘Scottish society more divided’ – and only 34 per cent disagreed.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:

“The new SNP government must listen to the people of Scotland, who are clear that independence is not a priority.

“It must not treat every vote as a vote for a referendum and must instead focus on the NHS, economy, Covid recovery and education.

“The very last thing we need right now is more division in our society.

“The majority of Scots do not want a referendum in the First Minister’s timetable of two-and-a-half years.

“The recovery period will be long and difficult, and no responsible First Minister would contemplate dedicating time to debating and preparing for another referendum any time soon.

“The responsible thing to do is to bring people together to build a recovery for every community in the UK.”

Poll conducted by Survation.

Fieldwork: 29th April 4th May 2021

Sample size: 1,037

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