The independence referendum

A group sat round a table  relaying thoughts and statements about Scottish independence

After winning a majority in the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, the Scottish National Party (SNP) - led at the time by Alex Salmond - claimed it had a mandate (right) to hold a referendum on Scotland becoming an independent country.

The UK Government agreed to allow the Scottish Government to hold a referendum on Scottish independence on the 18th of September 2014.

Result of the referendum on independence for Scotland

The people of Scotland were given the opportunity to have their say on whether or not Scotland should become an independent country.

After all the votes were counted from each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities the final result was:

Pie chart of the Scottish referendum result 45% Yes and 55% No
  • No - 2,001,926 votes (55 per cent of total vote)
  • Yes - 1,617,989 votes (45 per cent of total vote)

Turnout was a record-breaking 85 per cent with the majority of people (55 per cent) voting for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom.

Impact of the Scottish independence referendum

The most important impact of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum was that Scotland would remain part of the United Kingdom.

In the lead-up to the referendum vote, the leaders of the three main UK political parties promised that should Scotland vote to remain part of the UK, the Scottish Parliament would be given additional extra powers. This promise became known as ‘the Vow’.

As the result of the Scottish independence referendum was a vote against leaving the UK, the UK Parliament set up the Smith Commission to look at further devolution for Scotland. The commission’s report led to the Scotland Act (2016) which gives the Scottish Parliament new powers over income tax, VAT receipts, welfare and benefits.