It’s hard to tell just how many Scottish voters want independence from the United Kingdom.
A Sunday Times poll conducted between 27
January and 1 February said 47% of Scots
were for and 53% were against Scottish independence, while a poll conducted the very same week by its
sister newspaper, The Times, arrived at 37% for and 50% against. Both polls tested the same question: “Do you agree that Scotland
should be an independent country?” It’s the question that First Minister and
Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond wants for the referendum on
independence, slated for 2014. The referendum itself, and whether it may include an option for
something between total independence and total control by the UK, is still
being debated by Salmond and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The SNP argues that independence will boost tourism by decreasing corporation
tax, which could increase business investment. But according to the hospitality
trade publication Caterer and Hotelkeeper Magazine, the Apex Hotels chain counters that there will be no
guarantee of lower taxes. The Herald, a Scottish newspaper reports that a
move to slash corporation tax could be blocked by the European
If Scotland does become independent, visitors will find many things unchanged.
The SNP says that
Scotland will remain a part of the EU, its currency will remain the pound, the border between Scotland and
England will stay open, and Queen Elizabeth will still be the head of state. It
should be noted, however, that Scotland could
in the future vote to adopt the euro if it becomes in their interest to do so.
Major changes could also include the formation of a national military, control
over 90% of the North Sea’s oil and gas fields (although this is hotly
contested by Great Britain) and a different tuition
policy for non-Scottish Europeans attending school in Scotland. Currently, all Europeans
outside of the UK enjoy free tuition in Scotland, but the SNP would want to
unclear whether transportation would be affected by independence, according to
CPT Scotland, the trade association that represents bus, coach and light rail
industries. Since the transportation policy largely comes under the Scottish
Parliament’s responsibilities, there may be few changes, said CPT Scotland communications
manager Paul White. “It would also be interesting to see what independence
would do to fuel duty [tax] – something which is currently set by
the UK government,” White said.
those in favour of independence believe that Scotland will become a stronger
country on its own two feet, while those opposed believe that the country will
lose the security granted by being a part of the United Kingdom. If the former
group is right, independence will help the country grow its economy, attracting
more business and more travellers. If the latter group is right, the result
could be the opposite.