Some 2,001,926 people in Scotland have voted for the union against 1,617,989 who wanted independence, with Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond calling for promises of more powers and autonomy to be honoured.
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The result came after weeks of long campaigns and debates on whether Scotland should become independent and what this would have meant for the economy, finance and energy sectors.
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said, “The decisive choice of people in Scotland to remain part of the UK is the beginning of a new, stronger country for us all.
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“It’s also clear that the people of Scotland have overwhelmingly voted for a stronger Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom based on the cross-part plan for more powers. That work will begin today and we will deliver it for everyone.”
David Cameron has said he was “delighted” by the result of the referendum and pledged to make his promises on more autonomy happen, not just for Scotland, but for Northern Ireland, Wales and England too so that they can decide in their own parliament on matters of tax, spending and welfare.
“I want to congratulate the No campaign for that – for showing people that our nations really are better together,” Cameron said.
“I also want to pay tribute to Yes Scotland for a well-fought campaign and to say to all those who did vote for independence: “we hear you”.
“The 3 pro-union parties have made commitments, clear commitments, on further powers for the Scottish Parliament. We will ensure that they are honoured in full.”
Commenting on the result, environmental group Friends of the Earth said it hoped that the more powers given to the Scottish Parliament would include a greater say over energy policy.
Friends of the Earth Scotland director, Dr Richard Dixon, “Something missing from the promises so far is full control of energy policy in Scotland. This would greatly help us on the way to 100% renewable energy. Friends of the Earth Scotland will be pressing for this and other measures that would help Scotland become a greener, fairer place.”
Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, added, “The leadership Scotland shows is exactly what we need from regional governments in tackling climate change, and now that it will remain part of the union we hope that Scotland will continue to set a clear example on the benefit low carbon technologies can provide, both in terms of sustainable resources and economic growth”.
Following the referendum result, the pound hit a two-year high against the euro and a two-week high against the US dollar.
Ernst & Young (EY) said that the vote removed a certain degree of uncertainty from investment in the energy sector.
“A ‘No’ vote is important for the whole of the UK in that it allows the established dynamic in the energy markets to continue its current course,” Tony Ward, head of power & utilities at EY UK and Ireland said.
Photo: Barney Moss via flickr