THE No campaign has extended its lead in the referendum race despite a new poll showing people believe Yes Scotland has been more effective than Better Together.

An ICM poll published yesterday put support for No on 45 per cent, up two points compared with the company's previous survey a month ago.

Backing for Yes stood at 34 per cent, down two points. When the don't-knows (unchanged on 21 per cent) were excluded, support for No led by 57 per cent to 43 per cent.

The findings came as a separate poll today shows twice as many people believe the main pro-independence campaign, Yes Scotland, has been more effective than pro-UK rival Better Together.

Asked which of the lead organisations had run the more effective campaign, 45.5 per cent said Yes Scotland had done a better job.

Less than a quarter (23.7 per cent) said Better Together, headed by former chancellor Alistair Darling, had been the more effective, while almost a third (30.8 per cent) did not know.

The survey of 1,004 people was conducted by Progressive Scottish Opinion for public relations firm Orbit Communications.

Commenting on the latest headline figures, Blair Jenkins, Yes Scotland's chief executive, said: "A poll last week put Yes support at 47 per cent.

"This also puts it well above 40 per cent, and we are confident of achieving a majority in September."

Better Together yesterday went on the offensive after defence giant Babcock voiced concerns about the impact of independence on its business.

The company, which is assembling the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers at its facility at Rosyth, Fife, said leaving the UK could affect its ability to win Ministry of Defence contracts.

According to a warning in its annual report, which came to light yesterday, there was likely to be a "lengthy period of uncertainty" after a Yes vote which might have "adverse consequences".

In a separate development, the boss of defence contractor Thales, which employs 650 in Glasgow, also voiced reservations about independence.

Victor Chavez said he could see "no discernible benefits to our domestic or export prospects from independence".

Speaking for Better Together, West Dunbartonshire Labour MP Gemma Doyle said: "It is clear that if we walk away from the UK then our shipyards would no longer have access to key Royal Navy contracts. A Scottish Government spokesman said it would be "straightforward" for the Royal Navy to build vessels on the Clyde.

l An English town dubbed Little Scotland has voted to remain in the Union in its own mock independence referendum.

Some 72 per cent of the 576 voters who took part in the ballot in Corby, Northamptonshire, said No to independence. The town is home to thousands of people of Scottish descent after a downturn in the Clyde Valley steel industry led many workers there to move there.