THE turmoil that sprang from Liz Truss’s mini-budget boosted faith in the economic case for Scottish independence, according to a poll.

Voters were equally optimistic about their fortunes in the event of Scotland leaving the UK as they would be about remaining in the status quo, according to research for Ipsos.

Its survey found 43 per cent of the population believed Scotland’s economy would be better off after independence, exactly the same proportion as those who favoured the prospects of the United Kingdom. Ten per cent said it would make no difference and 4 per cent were unsure.

A poll by Ipsos in August this year found 47 per cent of voters were unconvinced by the argument that Scotland would be economically stronger post-independence.

Nicola Sturgeon has sought to capitalise on the chaos wrought by the mini-budget of September 23, which included £45 billion of unfunded tax cuts and led to pandemonium in the markets, a fall in the value of the pound and rises in the cost of UK government borrowing and mortgage rates.

Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel survey, which was carried out last month towards the end of of Truss’s short premiership, found that the public in Scotland and across the UK were increasingly gloomy about their economic prospects as the cost of living escalated.

In all four nations, people were more likely to think the economies of the rest of the Union would be worse off — (37 per cent) than better off (20 per cent) if Scotland became independent, according to the research.

It found that a higher proportion, 45 per cent, of people in Scotland thought that the remaining UK economies would be worse off in the event of Scottish independence.

Emily Gray, the managing director of Ipsos Scotland, said: “With the cost of living crisis deepening, most people expect gloomy economic times ahead and the measures that governments at both Holyrood and Westminster set out over the coming months to help weather the crises may well shift public views on Scotland’s economic future further.”

The economic uncertainty of starting a new country — particularly around Scotland’s notional deficit, the fiscal transfer from the UK government and trade — has been one of the key arguments made for the Union.

Previous polls had suggested that even the plunging value of the pound and a Bank of England bailout for pensions in the wake of Ms Truss unveiling her economic plans had done little to shift views around independence up until this point.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will hope that the autumn statement, to be delivered tomorrow, will present a more stable vision for the UK’s economy.

Ms Sturgeon has said she wants to hold a referendum next October but is awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court, to be given next Wednesday, on whether Holyrood has the power to call a vote without Westminster’s agreement.

The First Minister has published three papers setting out her prospectus for a new country and has made much of the UK’s economic turmoil in an effort to entice people towards independence.

Writing in the Financial Times yesterday she said that an “inherently weak and unstable economic model seems now to be hardwired into the UK’s future”.

She added: “One thing is already clear — to build a more prosperous and fairer future, Scottish independence is not only desirable, it is now essential.”

Confidence in the UK’s economy dropped among the Scottish public with 80 per cent expecting the general economic condition of the UK to worsen in the next 12 months, compared with 73 per cent in February.

When it comes to Scotland’s economic prospects, the public are also pessimistic with 73 per cent expecting Scotland’s general economic condition to deteriorate over the year ahead, compared with 68 per cent earlier this year.

Overall, a majority of those surveyed do not anticipate the Union’s imminent demise, with 76% expecting that the UK will still exist in one year’s time.

The poll found less certainty about the UK’s future in five years’ time, with 46% saying that the UK will exist in its current form and 38% saying it won’t.

Fewer now say that the UK will exist in its current form in 5 years’ time than was the case in February 2022, when the majority (51%) expected the Union to remain while a third (33%) expected it not to exist in its current form in 5 years’ time.

The shift in opinion is relatively small and has occurred against the backdrop of an economic crisis and a period of fluctuation in UK politics, but if it continues it may point to diminishing confidence in the future of the Union.

In the longer term, the majority expect that the UK will not exist in its current form in the next 10 years (52%) or the next 20 years (57%), while 28% say it will remain in 10 years and a fifth (20%) say it will still be in place in 20 years.

The Scottish public are more likely to expect the breakup of the Union within 10 years (61%) or 20 years (67%) than the UK public overall are.

Scotland’s Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said: “People in Scotland know exactly what Westminster control means - it’s continued economic chaos imposed by successive Tory governments that Scotland has rejected since the 1950s.

“The cost of living crisis only compounds the economic catastrophe of Brexit, the damage of which this shambolic Westminster government has only served to accelerate, and which Labour, as a pro-Brexit party under Keir Starmer, is fully signed up to.

“The economic benefits of independence are clear to see since Brexit doesn’t work and shuts Scotland off from the largest single market in the world which is seven times greater than the UK. So it’s no surprise that people in Scotland want a different future, free from financial turmoil and the damage of Westminster governments that Scotland doesn’t vote for. 

“People instinctively know that decisions about Scotland should be made by the people of Scotland and that independence is the opportunity to get rid of Westminster government we don’t vote for, for good.

"And Westminster’s Trump-like bid to deny democracy by blocking the people of Scotland having their say in an independence referendum simply will not hold.”

Pamela Nash, the chief executive of Scotland in Union, the anti-independence campaign group, said: “People in Scotland categorically do not want a referendum any time soon, and we know that the answer to the economic challenges we are facing does not lie in creating more chaos by having indyref2 or breaking up the UK.

“Our positive future is within the UK, working together to find the best solutions to global problems and ensuring better times lie ahead for everyone.”

Ipsos interviewed 6,944 people over 16 in the UK, including 2,086 in Scotland, online between October 13 and 19.