Independence White Paper debate

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First Minister Alex Salmond said Scotland would face the "severest cuts in political history" if voters rejected independence, as he led the debate on the independence White Paper on 27 November 2013.

Mr Salmond, the day after launching Scotland's Future - Your Guide to an Independent Scotland, said the "ball is now firmly in the Unionist court" and called on them to "provide answers to fundamental questions about if Scotland maintains the Union".

The first minister said: "Politics are about choices and the choice next year will be between that new society or the future offered by Better Together, which for many Scots will be no future at all."

The White Paper contains the arguments in favour of independence and is intended as a guide to what might happen if it is achieved.

Proposals include extending the support available to young people and their families and to expand childcare provision to match the best in Europe.

Under its plans, it said children would be entitled to 30 hours of childcare each week benefiting about 240,000 children.

The White Paper confirmed that Scotland would seek to secure a Sterling currency union with the remainder of the UK after independence, and asserted that the country would negotiate for a smooth transition to EU and Nato membership.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said the first minister's speech had been "rooted entirely in negativity and grievance".

Ms Lamont went on to attack the Scottish government's currency plans of being a member of a Sterling zone and retaining the pound.

"We would have an independent Scotland which relied on a foreign bank and foreign taxpayers for our currency," she said.

"A foreign parliament from which we had withdrawn would draw up the rules."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson questioned whether an independent Scotland could become a full member of the EU within the 18 months between the referendum and the Government's independence date in March 2016, and whether it could remain in the EU while this process takes place.

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