Hammond Visits Scotland to Argue for U.K. Unity After Brexitby
Chancellor to meet First Minister Sturgeon, business leaders
Poll shows support for independence in Scotland is waning
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is visiting Scotland on Thursday to discuss the challenges of Brexit and stress the need for the country to remain part of the U.K.
Hammond will meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and host talks with business leaders in Edinburgh, the Treasury said in a statement. The visit comes a week after the U.K. government committed 800 million pounds ($1 billion) to boost Scottish infrastructure.
"Scotland’s contribution to the U.K. is invaluable," Hammond said. “The rest of the U.K. is also Scotland’s most important market, providing four times the trade volume than that of the EU 27 -- so it is imperative that we work together to achieve the best for everyone in the United Kingdom."
A majority of Scots voted to stay in the European Union in June’s referendum, fueling speculation that the country will once again seek to break away from the U.K. in order to retain access to the single market.
Sturgeon has said another independence referendum is highly likely, though she wants to see rising support in the polls before she calls one. A YouGov Plc survey Wednesday delivered a blow to nationalist hopes, with the margin of voters in favor of retaining the union rising to 12 percentage points compared with eight points in August.