Scotland votes No to independence

Scotland has voted against independence and will remain part of the United Kingdom.

The No campaign sealed a win after the number of pro-union votes pushed past Yes votes to reach 55 per cent versus 45 per cent following the announcement of the final count from Fife council at 06:11 am BST.

The final voting result has still to be announced later this morning by the chief counting officer with the Highland council final vote yet be formally revealed.

An estimated 84 per cent of the Scottish electorate were expected to have turned out to vote during yesterday’s polling day.

Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond conceded he had “accepted the verdict of the people.” He said: “It is important to say that our referendum was an agreed and consented process and Scotland has by a majority decided not at this stage to become an independent country.

“I accept that verdict of the people and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland.”

Prime Minister David Cameron made a lengthy statement this morning recommitting to begin work immediately on additional powers for Scotland while also arguing that England, Wales and Northern Ireland should now be able to vote on their own tax, spending and welfare.

He said: “It was right that we respected the SNP’s majority in Holyrood and gave the Scottish people the right to have their say.

“There can be no disputes. No re-runs. We have heard the settled will of the Scottish people.”

Cameron added that a white paper on Scotland’s additional powers would be published in November with plans to draft laws by January 2015. Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin will lead the process of further devolution.

Leader of the Better Together campaign Alistair Darling argued that politicians must “listen to the cry for change” from people across the United Kingdom.

He said: “As we celebrate, let us also listen. More than 85 per cent of the Scottish population has voted. People who were disengaged from politics have turned out in large numbers.

“While they have voted on the constitution, that was not the only or perhaps the major issue that drove them to the polls. Every political party must listen to their cry for change, which could be echoed in every part of our United Kingdom but had this opportunity to express itself in Scotland.”

Sterling has been buoyed by the prospect of a No vote in overnight trading with the pound rising over 0.5 per cent against the Yen in Tokyo and close to 0.8 per cent against the US dollar while the pound has also hit a 2 year high against the euro this morning. The FTSE is also expected to open higher this morning.

In the final week leading up to the referendum UK Prime Minister David Cameron signed a pledge alongside Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband to begin work on “extensive new powers” for Scotland immediately following the referendum.

Some experts have also warned that regardless of the outcome of the final referendum vote, UK governance could be changed forever.

Star fund manager Neil Woodford argued last week the increased powers available to Scotland could mark the beginning of the “fragmentation of governance in the United Kingdom.”

Woodford also warned this process could have “considerable economic ramifications” for the UK. He added: “This uncertainty will have a dampening effect on consumer sentiment, business confidence and investment intentions.”