Report: Referendum white paper launch

Key Points

  • The Scottish government published its blueprint for independence, ahead of next September's referendum
  • "Scotland's future: Your guide to an independent Scotland", was launched in Glasgow on Tuesday morning
  • On 18 September, 2014, Scots voters will be asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
  1.  
    0758:

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the launch of the Scottish government's blueprint for independence.

     
  2.  
    0800:

    The 670-page white paper, entitled "Scotland's future: Your guide to an independent Scotland", comes ahead of the independence referendum, on 18 September, next year.

     
  3.  
    0801:

    The document is being launched in Glasgow this morning, followed by a government statement in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.

     
  4.  
    0807: Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Scotland's deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, says the white paper has a "heavy focus" on addressing questions that people want answered. The SNP's critics say the document must do that on all fronts for it to be credible.

     
  5.  
    0809:

    And talking of questions on independence, we attempted to answer 10 of yours, ahead of the white paper launch.

     
  6.  
    0810:

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says an independent Scotland would be a "confident country" with "close links" to the rest of the UK.

     
  7.  
    Chris Berridge, in Weybridge, Surrey

    Whilst the issue of independence is a matter for the Scots, the terms are a matter for both sides of the border.

     
  8.  
    0811:

    Maintaining a currency union would be in the "best interests" of Scotland and the rest of the UK, Nicola Sturgeon says.

     
  9.  
    0812:

    Nicola Sturgeon says those in favour of a "no" vote are trying to "frighten people" about the possible outcomes of independence.

     
  10.  
    Angela Welsh, in Annan, Dumfriesshire

    I will be voting yes. Scotland needs to be in control of its own destiny and make decisions for the benefit of its people. Just now the decisions are being made to benefit the financial sector in London and the rest of us are left to suffer. I want a fairer Scotland.

     
  11.  
    0813:

    The pound is a "shared asset" which belongs to Scotland as much as the rest of the UK, Nicola Sturgeon argues on Today.

     
  12.  
    0815:

    An independent Scotland taking a "fair share" of the UK's debt would be "logical" if it keeps the pound, Nicola Sturgeon says.

     
  13.  
    0818:

    Scotland's future: Your guide to an independent Scotland will have 10 chapters and run to 670 pages. It contains 170,000 words.

     
  14.  
    0819:

    White papers are documents produced by the government setting out details of future policy on a particular subject. A White Paper will often be the basis for a bill to be put before parliament. However, in this case the White Paper will set out the approach to be taken should the people of Scotland vote for Independence in September 2014.

     
  15.  
    0819:

    Ahead of today's white paper, the Scottish government has already revealed a few tasters as to how they think an independent Scotland might look.

     
  16.  
    0819:

    Nicola Sturgeon tells Radio 4's Today programme the white paper will allow people to "make up their own minds" on independence.

     
  17.  
    0820:

    The White paper document will be launched at an event at Glasgow Science Centre at 10:00.

     
  18.  
    0824: Laura Bicker Politics Show reporter
    glasgow science centre

    There are journalists from all over the world here already. So far I've heard Japanese and Spanish as satellite operators set up inside the science centre.

     
  19.  
    BBC's Tim Reid

    tweets: Nicola Sturgeon says #WhitePaper is "thoroughly honest" with Scottish people and contains "rational reasonable" answers to many questions

     
  20.  

    BBC Tim Reid's tweets: Sturgeon suggests the logical argument is that if there's no currency union post #indyref then Scotland wouldn't take share of UK debts

     
  21.  
  22.  
    0829:

    The UK government's Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael told BBC Scotland the White Paper was little more than a work of fiction. He says: "What you have here is a wishlist. The wishlist is only actually worth anything if it comes with a price list because all these things are going to cost money."

     
  23.  
    0830:

    Ahead of the white paper launch, the UK Treasury last night attempted a last-minute spoiler, saying taxes in an independent Scotland could rise by £1,000 per person per year.

     
  24.  
    0833: Colin Laing, 48, in Aberfeldy

    spoke to the BBC. He said: "I believe whole-heartedly in an independent Scotland. The economic case is clear, the social case is clear, the defence case is clear. I work in the construction industry and for the last two years I've seen a vibrant and busy Scotland. My concrete truck has not stopped turning a wheel for the last two years building infrastructure for power projects. It shows there is money in the Scottish economy."

     
  25.  
    0835:

    Better Together chairman Alistair Darling has told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Alex Salmond's plan will not be "fully thought out" and "costed".

     
  26.  
    0837:

    Alistair Darling warns that keeping a currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK would be a "non-starter", as it would bind both into a "legal straightjacket", allowing each country to veto the other's taxation and spending.

     
  27.  
    0841:

    Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland, told BBC Scotland: "As people get information they are more likely to move to Yes. What we will get today is the most detailed picture of what an independent Scotland would be, could be and should be."

     
  28.  
    0842:

    It is a "complete" fantasy to say Scotland can leave the UK but keep all the benefits, Alistair Darling of Better Together says, adding that independence would reduce the global "clout" of both.

     
  29.  
    Analysis Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    "The White Paper runs to 670 pages and will be published as a book. Will it be bedside reading? Will we see it peeping from travellers' rucksacks? Will it be devoured, poolside, on electronic reading devices? Hope so..... read more."

     
  30.  

    Information For more background on the debate, take a look at our Referendum library.

     
  31.  
    Information

    Who, what, when?

    • Voters in Scotland - including for the first time 16 and 17-year-olds - will have their say in a referendum on Scottish independence.
    • They will be asked the "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
    • The referendum takes place on Thursday 18 September 2014.
     
  32.  
    0845:

    Alistair Darling urges the SNP to say what its "plan B" is for the possibility that it could gain independence but fail to secure a currency union with the rest of the UK.

     
  33.  
    Questions from BBC News website readers

    Jim Watts in Aberdeen writes: "I'm English, living and working in Scotland since 1994. I have a Scottish wife, and two children. If Scotland becomes independent, will I be British, Scottish, or can I hold dual nationality? And what about my children?" Frank Fullerton in Perth writes: "Concerned over the currency/pensions. I receive pension from English-based companies. What happens in an independent Scotland?"

     
  34.  
    Adam Bexley in Hook, Hampshire

    Scottish independence strongly affects everyone in the UK. Why is this decision being made by the Scottish people? As a UK resident I want my views taken into consideration.

     
  35.  
    0848:

    Blair McDougall of Better Together says: "I think it is a strength for us that we, unlike the Yes proposition, are not asking people to make a decision they are fundamentally uncomfortable with. We are not saying you either have to be inside or outside the United Kingdom. We are saying you can have the best things about being a small, successful country with our own parliament and the strengths and opportunities that come with sharing risks, rewards and resources with the rest of the UK."

     
  36.  

    BBC's Douglas Fraser tweets: Alex Bell, ex-SNP adviser, on @bbcgms: #indyref #whitepaper a 'safe' version of indy: voters cautious, care 1st abt securing public services

     
  37.  
    0850:

    On Today, is Alistair Darling guilty of a Freudian slip as he refers to the SNP's white paper as a "Jock-ument"?

     
  38.  
    0855:

    Blair Jenkins of Yes Scotland says: "What is being set out today is a starting point for an independent Scotland. What we do with a country with those powers afterwards - the direction we take, the kind of society we shape for ourselves - that will be down to the people of Scotland."

     
  39.  
    John Swinney (Scotland's Finance Secretary and MSP for Perthshire)

    tweets: Just about to arrive for Cabinet before the White Paper launch. A momentous day. #indyplan

     
  40.  
    Graeme Purvis, in Fife,

    Independence would be a disaster for the hard working person and a goldmine for the lazy. Higher benefits, higher minimum wage, lower fuel bills, scrapped bedroom tax, re-nationalised post office and maintained pensions. Cloud cuckoo land. How can we afford this? We are an ageing population, a ticking benefits time bomb.

     
  41.  
    0903:

    The white paper document will be launched at an event at Glasgow Science Centre at 10:00.

     
  42.  
    0904:

    Opposition MSPs complained last week that they should have been informed within the chamber of Holyrood first. The full formal document will be lodged in the Scottish Parliament at the same time as the launch.

     
  43.  
    0905:

    There will be a ministerial statement at Holyrood at roughly 14:15 or 14:20, following topical questions.

     
  44.  
    0905:

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will make the statement at Holyrood in her capacity as the minister in command of constitutional affairs.

     
  45.  
    0906:

    A full debate on the detailed contents of the white paper will not take place in the Scottish Parliament until Wednesday at about 14:40.

     
  46.  
  47.  
    0907:

    The white paper - or guide to an independent Scotland - is a prelude to the referendum on Scottish independence which is to be held on Thursday 18 September 2014.

     
  48.  
    0907:

    The question to be asked in that referendum is: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

     
  49.  
    0908:

    The bill to allow the referendum to take place has already been passed. This white paper will set out the way the Scottish government would progress if the vote was Yes to independence.

     
  50.  
    Roderick MacSween, in Stornaway

    It is inevitable that Scotland will be Independent if only because the status quo is not an option. I have spent 25 years employed in the energy industry in the Middle East and I have travelled all over the world. There are literally thousands of native Scots currently employed in both the Far East and Middle East who would be more than willing to remit tax returns to Scotland. Alba gu Brath!

     
  51.  
    0909:

    Alex Salmond sees the white paper as a prospectus for an independent Scotland. UK ministers see it as a wish list.

     
  52.  
    Seats

    Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill tweets: Cameras ready! pic.twitter.com/Gni9o2wIVH

     
  53.  
    Richard, a Scot living in Manchester

    As a Scot living in England at the minute, were independence to be voted through, I'd be rapidly moving back across the border. The economic arguments suggest that Scotland will benefit immensely from independence due to oil money and from being able to ensure a more equitable society. Without Scottish oil, it's hard to see how the rest of the UK would be able to operate without massive cuts to services.

     
  54.  
    Nicholas Watt

    tweets: If launch of #indyref white paper is biggest day in Scotland since 1707 why do none of main Scottish papers lead with it?

     
  55.  
    0915:
    rainbow

    A rainbow (and rain) at the Glasgow Science Centre for the launch of the white paper - Scotland's future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland.

     
  56.  
    BBC Radio 4 Today's Adam Cumiskey

    tweets: Jim and the Deputy First Minister @NicolaSturgeon

    Adam Cumiskey
     
  57.  
    STV's David Cowan

    tweets: One journalist representing each media organisation has gone into "locked-down" viewing of #whitepaper.

     
  58.  
    0920: Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    The Scottish government views the document as its prospectus on independence. More to the point, it argues that, in the referendum, the people of Scotland will be voting upon the detailed contents of that White Paper, offering assent or dissent.

     
  59.  
    0925: Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy first minister, says the more folk learn about the detail of the independence offer, the more they like it.

     
  60.  
    0926: Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary, says precisely the opposite. He says that the gaps in the independence prospectus will be evident.

     
  61.  
    0928:

    Right now, journalists are getting a sneak preview of the white paper, ahead of its publication, so we should be able to bring you the main highlights as it is launched at about 10:00.

     
  62.  
    0938:

    The Scottish government says Scotland's Future - Your Guide to an Independent Scotland is the most detailed blueprint for an independent country ever published. It contains a question and answer section, running to more than 200 pages, which answers 650 questions.

     
  63.  
    Nicola Sturgeon

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweets: Introducing 'Scotland's Future - Your Guide to an independent Scotland' #indyref #indyplan pic.twitter.com/tBPXcNad2r

     
  64.  
    0948:

    The Scottish government has already set 24 March 2016, as "independence day". That is the day they think independence will come into effect should they referendum vote in September 2014 be Yes. Much of the detail in the white paper will need to be negotiated or implemented in the 18 months between those two dates.

     
  65.  
    0948:

    Professor Alex Kemp of Aberdeen University's business school says the debate on independence has coincided with a period of "uncertainty" over the future of North Sea oil supplies. It is not "clear cut" whether production will rise or fall, which has implications for tax revenues, he tells the BBC News Channel.

     
  66.  
    0949:

    Pro-union campaigners have long argued that the Scottish National Party (SNP) has no firm answers to the toughest questions - including on issues such as how Scotland would keep the pound sterling as its currency and get through technical negotiations in just 18 months.

     
  67.  
    0951:

    More than 200 journalists from as far afield as Japan, Australia and Russia are registered to attend the launch of the white paper.

     
  68.  
    0954:

    The Scottish referendum website will publish the white paper online as soon as it is launched.

     
  69.  
    0955:

    However, there is currently a "database error" on the Scottish referendum website.

     
  70.  
    Scotsman's Eddie Barnes

    tweets: SG runs out of 'domestic media' lanyards, so Guardian writers are given 'international media' tags. Don't read anything to it...

     
  71.  
    1000:

    Media is in place and ready for the white paper launch at the Science centre in Glasgow.

     
  72.  
    1001:

    Music playing and warm-up video is on. Waiting for Alex Salmond to take the stage.

     
  73.  
    1003:

    Alex Salmond takes the stage and says it is the most detailed blueprint any people in any country in the world have been offered on becoming independent.

     
  74.  
    1004:

    Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond says Scotland has vast potential as a country. Independence would allow Scotland to grasp opportunities.

     
  75.  
    1005:

    Scotland has huge hydro-carbon wealth but needs to develop renewable energy wealth, says Alex Salmond.

     
  76.  
    1006:

    The white paper explains the choices independence gives us, it addresses 650 reasonable questions which we have been asked but ultimately there is only one question and one choice... Are we, the people of Scotland, the best people to take the decisions about our future, says Alex Salmond.

     
  77.  
    1007:

    Scotland's future is now in Scotland's hands, says Alex Salmond.

     
  78.  
    1008:

    Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is leading the constitutional argument for the Scottish government, says it sets "how we can use the powers of independence to transform our country".

     
  79.  
    1009:

    Independence is not an end in itself, it is the means to building a wealthier and fairer Scotland, says Nicola Sturgeon.

     
  80.  
    1012:

    Official Scottish government page on white paper details still appears to be out of action. Volume of traffic?

     
  81.  
    1012:

    Transform childcare, halt damaging Westminster policies pushing so many people into poverty, ensure pensions are paid in full on time, cut energy bills, strong defence but removal of Trident - some of the things the Scottish government is pledging.

     
  82.  
    1012:

    Take the opportunity to read Scotland's future, says Nicola Sturgeon. It is available in e-book form.

     
  83.  
    1013:

    First question is from BBC Scotland's Brian Taylor. He says some of the blueprint is not deliverable without co-operation of others (UK government, EU , Nato).

     
  84.  
    1014:

    Alex Salmond says the white paper sets out the choices the Scottish government would make if the people of Scotland voted Yes. He says they have put forward a "common sense" position which is best interests of Scotland and the UK. He says if people examine the arguments they will see they are a common sense position.

     
  85.  
    Information 1017:

    The Scotland's Future white paper document has now been published online at the Scottish government website.

     
  86.  
    1015:

    Next question. People may vote Yes because they like the white paper but after negotiation the deal may have been changed and not be what people voted for. Alex Salmond compares it to the 1997 devolution white paper. He says once the "mandate" of the people has been secured the white paper carries the weight of that choice. Responsible people will listen to the verdict of the people, he says.

     
  87.  
    Gordon McAllister from Glasgow

    emails: Westminster is dying. Over the last 40 years, party politics and vote grabbing has seen Westminster cede influence on the markets that control our heating, lighting, food, petrol, transport and now postal services. It's time for an independent Scotland to look after the long term interests of its people - which is what a government should really be doing. The rest of the UK will miss us.

     
  88.  
    1018:

    Are there any down sides? Will you be candid and tell people of the risks of independence, is the next question. Alex Salmond says his budget forecast is "not a spendthrift budget". We will still be recovering from a severe economic recession in 2016 and the budget reflects that, says Alex Salmond. He says Scotland would invest in children and families and not weapons of mass destruction.

     
  89.  
    Alex Kite from Bedford, England

    emails: Please, please let the Scots decide to vote yes to independence. They can then only blame themselves for everything. Oh how I wish the English could vote on it as well.

     
  90.  
    1020:

    Everything you do in the future is milk and honey?, asks a journalist. People have a democratic deficit at the moment, says Alex Salmond. They vote one way and get something else. A government closer to the priorities of the people of Scotland would surely have a better outcome, says the first minister.

     
  91.  
    1025:

    No need to raise taxes?, asks Chris Ship from ITV news. Alex Salmond says IFS study was looking to 50 years in the future with a low-growth economy. "We don't intend to accept that as our future. It might be the future if we stay under the UK government."

     
  92.  
    1029: Breaking News

    Key points from independence white paper:

    • 30 hours of childcare per week in term time for all 3 and 4-year-olds and vulnerable 2-year-olds
    • Trident removed within first parliament
    • "Bedroom tax" abolished in first year
    • No rise in base rate of tax
     
  93.  
    Paul Latham from Glasgow

    emails: I'm not interested in independence. Alex Salmond spends more time (and money) wishing to be known as King Alex and is too fuzzy on the actual details. Scotland is better as part of the UK.

     
  94.  
    Mike Elrick

    tweets: This is the worst IMAX film I've ever seen. #whitepaper

     
  95.  
    1030:

    Nicola Sturgeon questions whether the rise in pension age to 67 is suitable for Scotland. She proposes a commission to look at the issue.

     
  96.  
    BBC's James Cook

    tweets: As ever Scottish Government walking the tightrope between "everything will be better" and "much will remain the same." #indyref #whitepaper

     
  97.  
    1033:

    National debt? These are protracted negotiations, says questioner. Alex Salmond says Scotland would have lower share of debt to GDP than UK as a whole. The white paper sets out two figures for Scotland's share of the UK national debt.

     
  98.  
    1037:

    More key points:

    • Minimum wage to rise at least in line with inflation
    • From April 2016, single tier state pension to be £160 per week
    • Royal Mail to be returned to public ownership (by first government of a Scottish independent parliament)
     
  99.  
    BBC's Douglas Fraser

    Economic pledges in #indyref #whitepaper: pensions protected with triple lock: simplified tax, £250m pa from reducing tax avoidance

     
  100.  
    1040:

    And here are some further key pledges:

    • No tuition fees policy to continue
    • Sterling to be retained
    • New employment measures to encourage female participation on boards and better employee representation
    • Formal relationship between new Scottish Broadcasting Service and BBC to continue programmes and services in Scotland
    • Scottish citizens entitled to Scottish passport. Will cost same as UK passport. UK passport will be valid until it runs out
    • The new defence force will have 15,000 regulars and 5,000 reserve personnel
     
  101.  
    Mark Ferguson, blog editor of Labourlist

    tweets: Interesting that the SNP are trying to craft Independence as a retail offer. And by "interesting" I of course mean morally bankrupt

     
  102.  
    Jim Corrigan from Renfrewshire

    emails in reply to Alex Kite from Bedford: Alex the Scots never asked nor voted for a union, so using your rhetoric the rest of the UK is to blame for the miserable state of our country at the moment? I'd gladly have you voting to free us from this wonderful union.

     
  103.  
    1035:

    Borders controls? Times journalist asks question. Alex Salmond says there would be no border controls within the Common Travel Area - Scotland, England, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. There would be a border agency to control migration from outside the Common Travel Area - the same approach as the UK has now.

     
  104.  
    1042:

    EU membership? Have there been any discussions on membership, asks Severin Carrell of the Guardian. Alex Salmond says they would do but the negotiations have to be initiated by the member state, that's the UK, and it is refusing to do so at the moment. Alex Salmond believes there would be "enthusiasm" for Scotland's membership of the EU. And the timetable set out in the white paper is realistic, says Mr Salmond.

     
  105.  
    Stevie Kennedy from Mow Cop, a village near the Staffordshire border

    emails: As a Scot living in England with an English wife and kids, I feel British first. Today though, I see a politician talking and I feel hope kindle in my heart that the UK's future isn't all about Westminster and the corrupt industrial-political machinery that controls it regardless of what we vote for. It's been a long time since I felt hope or any other positive emotion when watching a politician speaking, yet I know the next 10 months will see relentless waves of cynical negativity from the No campaign.

     
  106.  
    1046:

    Still EU. Difficult negotiations on terms of EU membership. says Robbie Dinwoodie of the Herald. Alex Salmond says Scotland would not be forced into Euro currency area. It would have same position as Sweden, says Mr Salmond. Nicola Sturgeon says they would not be seeking any new arrangements for Scotland. It would be on the same terms as Scotland currently has as a member of the UK.

     
  107.  
    1048:

    Will Scotland keep the pound sterling whether there is an agreement on a currency union or not? Alex Salmond says the strength of the Scots position is that the union is in the best interests of both the UK and Scotland.

     
  108.  
    Jason Sterling from Edinburgh

    emails: I wish Alex Salmond would stick to positive, useful information rather than having to dig at Westminster all the time. You get the sense he's got a personal vendetta, rather than a desire to improve our country.

     
  109.  
    1050:

    Nato? Alex Salmond says Scotland would be welcomed into Nato. It has an important strategic position in the North Atlantic, he says.

     
  110.  
    1054:

    What happens if there is a NO vote? Alex Salmond says: "we would be stuck with Trident, potentially stuck with the bedroom tax, we would see Scottish public spending substantially reduced, as each and every Westminster party has indicated they would like to do. The EU membership would be in doubt, depending on the outcome of the next election. I'm glad our document is more uplifting and exciting."

     
  111.  
    1057:

    Written constitution? Alex Salmond says there would be a constitutional convention to "reinvigorate" Scotland with a written document. He says there would be a "platform constitution" to get through the transformation to independence.

     
  112.  
    1058:

    More key points:

    • New state pension will be £1.10 per week more than the UK. Pensions will increase either by earnings, CPI inflation or 2.5%, whichever is highest
    • Faslane to be retained as a conventional naval base and joint HQ of a Scottish defence force
     
  113.  
    Chris Smith from Edinburgh

    emails: Can people please take time to listen to the debate before making judgements and pronouncements? Scotland's first minister and his Cabinet get an opportunity to speak, the opposition say their bit, then people across Scotland and the rest of the UK can contribute. The First Minister is simply the first voice you hear and whilst he speaks for the SNP he does not speak for the people of Scotland as this is a proposal that has not been voted on.

     
  114.  
    1059:

    Passports? Nicola Sturgeon points to a table in the white paper which sets out the potential citizenship arrangements. Page 496 of the white paper.

     
  115.  
    Cathy Macinnes from Back on the Isle of Lewis

    emails: The British Government cannot guarantee pensions. Having worked all my life expecting to retire at 60, I now find that pension won't be available to me till I am 66. It's better if we Scots take decisions for ourselves. It may not benefit me, but hopefully it will help my grandchildren!

     
  116.  
    1104:

    More key points:

    • Scottish-born British citizens living in another country will automatically be Scottish citizens
    • British citizens living in Scotland considered Scottish citizens. This includes those holding dual nationality
    • There is a continued commitment to review UK plan for increasing state pension age to 67
     
  117.  
    1106:

    The White Paper says Scotland will need an independent security and intelligence capacity to ensure its security.

    • it will establish a single security and intelligence agency responsible to investigating and assessing threats, gathering intelligence, producing open-source intelligence material, producing critical infrastructure and controlling cyber security
    • the security and intelligence agency will be independent of Police Scotland - but will work closely with it
    • detention and arrest will continue to be a matter for the police, with prosecution the responsibility of the lord advocate
    • there will be a "strong relationship of sovereign equals" with the rest of the UK.
    • it will develop closer relationships with EU and Nato agencies engaged in cyber security.
     
  118.  
    Katie Polstanjov from Aberdeen

    emails: As a Scottish mum-of-two, the outline for 30 hours free childcare is a huge plus for me and would get me back into work.

     
  119.  
    1108:

    Better Together chairman Alistair Darling is not impressed by Alex Salmond's performance. He tells the BBC News Channel there is "absolutely nothing new here".

     
  120.  
    1108:

    Alistair Darling argues that the SNP has the power now to extend childcare provision, so independence is not necessary to alter that issue.

     
  121.  
    1109:

    Trident removal? Nicola Sturgeon says the submarine-based nuclear missiles currently stationed at Faslane on the Clyde with be removed "as quickly as is safely possible within the first term of the Scottish Parliament after independence".

     
  122.  
    1110:

    Alistair Darling attacks Alex Salmond, saying he has avoided "fundamental questions", preferring "claims and assertions" to facts.

     
  123.  
    Mac Sinclair-Parry, a 22-year-old company director of a small firm in Edinburgh

    emails: My family has lived in Scotland for 1000 years and the greatest victory England could ever have over Scotland is a yes vote for independence in 2014. It would be a victory for the English because the SNP is basing its campaign on patriotism and "getting one over the English" as though the question of independence is somehow equal to a football game? The fairytale represented today by the SNP scares me. I'm not looking for a party that only views the world as doom and gloom, but I am looking for a party that has a grip on reality and realises there will be massive sacrifices if we choose independence.

     
  124.  
    1113: Breaking News

    Key points from independence white paper

    • Thirty hours of childcare per week in term time for all three and four-year-olds, as well as vulnerable two-year-olds
    • Trident nuclear weapons, currently based on the Clyde, removed within the first parliament
    • Housing benefit reforms, described by critics as the "bedroom tax" to be abolished, and a halt to the rollout of Universal Credit
    • Basic rate tax allowances and tax credits to rise at least in line with inflation
    • A safe, "triple-locked" pension system
    • Minimum wage to "rise alongside the cost of living"
     
  125.  
    1114:

    Alex Salmond is "ducking" questions about who will pay for his plans, Alistair Darling says, telling the BBC the people of Scotland are not "daft".

     
  126.  
    1114:

    The hour-long question and answer session at the Glasgow Science Centre ends with Alex Salmond saying "we've had a fair kick at the ball" in the parlance of the host city.

     
  127.  
    1116:

    In Downing Street, the BBC News Channel's chief political correspondent, Norman Smith, says government sources believe the question of the future of sterling is Alex Salmond's "Achilles' heel".

     
  128.  
    Gemma Harding from Edinburgh

    emails: With already struggling education/childcare services, I find it hard to believe the money will come from a magic place to give every child 30 hours of free childcare? Everything that it stated is going to cost money and the inevitable increase in taxes and cuts in spending will follow.

     
  129.  
    1117:

    Polling expert John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde describes today's debate as "standard stuff" between the SNP and its opponents.

     
  130.  
    Robert Rutherford from Farnham, England

    emails: I was born in Scotland but have lived in England for almost 50 years. I do not want to be regarded as a Scottish citizen if the independence vote is yes; unless I've had a chance to vote in this referendum. Of course I am not being offered that opportunity but I would vote no to this stupid and self aggrandising initiative from Salmond.

     
  131.  
    Colin Hoare from Edinburgh

    emails: Would items like the removal of Trident not be a matter for the first elected government after independence, and therefore not part of the Yes/No vote? Surely this is how democracy should work?

     
  132.  
    1120:

    The constitution unit at University College London raises an interesting prospect. It argues that, if the SNP wins and its white paper turns out to be a "false prospectus", there would be a "strong case" for holding a second referendum in 2016. Voters could be asked whether they "still want independence on these terms", it says.

     
  133.  
    1120:

    The matter of citizenship is a defining characteristic of an independent state, says the white paper which adds a multi-cultural Scotland will be the cornerstone of the nation.

    • it proposes an "inclusive model of citizenship," for people whether they want to define themselves as primarily or exclusively Scottish - or wish to become a Scottish passport holder
    • British citizens habitually resident in Scotland will be considered Scottish citizens; this will include Scots-born British citizens living outwith Scotland
    • citizenship by descent will be available to those whose parent or grandparent qualifies for Scottish citizenship
    • those who have spent at least 10 years in Scotland can apply for citizenship
    • dual citizenship with rUK will be permitted;
    • all British citizens habitually resident in Scotland will have the right to acquire a Scottish passport
    • UK passports will be recognised until their expiry date
     
  134.  
    BBC's Tim Reid

    tweets: All important bonus ball? "People will still be able to play National Lottery, and the infrastructure will remain in place" #whitepaper

     
  135.  
    1124:

    An independent Scotland would, for the first time, have control of immigration policy, including providing a home for refugees, the white paper says. It says:

    • Scotland has a different need for immigration than other parts of the UK, which the current Westminster government have not supported
    • Scotland would remain in the Common Travel Area with rUK and the Republic of Ireland, so there would be no need for border checks between Scotland and England
    • as an EU member, Scottish borders would remain open to all EU nationals
    • for non-EU nationals, there would be a points-based approach to immigration, based on Scottish needs, with lower financial maintenance thresholds and minimum salary levels on entry - to reflect Scottish average wages and cost of living
    • reintroduction of post-study work visa to allow talented people from around the world to continue their education in Scotland
    • a Scottish Asylum Agency would oversee applications, and the approach would be "robust and humane"
    • Dungavel Detention Centre in Lanarkshire would be closed, and dawn raids ended.
     
  136.  
    1123:

    The white paper states that Scotland's natural position is as an active participant of the EU. Following a Yes vote the Scottish Government will immediately seek discussions with the Westminster government, member states and institutions of EU to ensure a smooth transition to independent EU membership on the day Scotland becomes independent. The paper argues an 18 month transition period is realistic under article 48 of the Treaty of European Union.

     
  137.  
    Dave Keating, a journalist for the European Voice newspaper

    tweets: #Scotland independence white paper says EU's Article 48 could be used for 'continuity effect' maintaining current Scotland-EU relationship

     
  138.  
    1129:

    Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, accused the Scottish government of delaying the introduction of better childcare until after the referendum. He says Scotland already has the worst childcare arrangements in the UK and the SNP have said they will delay improvements until they win the referendum.

     
  139.  
    Paul Higham from Liverpool

    emails: Union was the Scottish idea as they were bankrupt as a country at the time. When the Union was made they brought the Scottish national debt with them. My question is, will they take the same percentage of debt with them if the leave?

     
  140.  

    For anyone struggling to get through to the full text of the white paper, this is an alternative Link

     
  141.  
    Hugh Mulgrew from Prestwick in South Ayrshire

    emails: What about our energy policy? Where will the base load of electricity come from? Not from wind turbines - when the winds doesn't blow the turbines don't go! Are we seriously going to rely on buying our base load energy from outside Scotland? If we are to be self determining, let's be self-reliant on providing energy and have a more mature attitude towards a mixed energy policy, including nuclear. The SNP Government is so obsessed by wind farms, if we have any more wind farms in Scotland we will take off and land in Norway.

     
  142.  
    1130:

    The link to the white paper Scotland's future: Your guide to an independent Scotland is here

     
  143.  
    1144:

    After the Glasgow Science Centre launch of the white paper, there will be a ministerial statement in the Scottish Parliament at about 14:15. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will make the statement in her capacity as the minister in command of constitutional affairs. Opposition MSPs are not happy that they are being addressed after a media conference.

     
  144.  
    1145:

    A full debate on the detailed contents of the white paper will not take place in the Scottish Parliament until Wednesday at about 14:40.

     
  145.  
    1147:

    CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan said: "The CBI believes that the nations of the UK are stronger together and that Scotland's business and economic interests will be best served by remaining as part of the UK. Our members have been pressing for responses to many key questions on independence that we have put to the Scottish government and we will study this white paper closely to decide how far it answers businesses questions."

     
  146.  
    1150:

    Our copies of Scotland's Future: Your guide to an independent Scotland are 649 pages long - not the 670 that has been reported. It is still a big book though.

     
  147.  
    James Waugh from Falkirk

    emails: I'm watching this BBC programme with great interest. I'm waiting to be convinced as to which way to vote in this referendum. Alistair Darling has today described this White Paper as a 'Jock-ument' and, most recently, as a fantasy. I find his comments condescending and insulting to the people of Scotland. They add nothing to the debate and don't help people come to a decision. Mr Darling cannot have received a copy and read all 670 pages already? Let's hear your constructive comments and criticisms Mr Darling once you have read the paper, but for goodness sake, please spare us the puerile comments.

     
  148.  
    1152:

    Nicola Sturgeon tells the BBC news channel that white paper is "670 pages, packed with facts figures and details". "What is special about the document is that it combines vision with lots of detail and the practicalities of independence."

     
  149.  
    David Nummey from London

    emails: Asking for cast-iron guarantees is only relevant if you are asking for them from both sides of the argument - the no side cannot guarantee membership of the EU in five years, for example.

     
  150.  
    1154:

    Nicola Sturgeon tells the BBC news channel the white paper "has a transformation in childcare at its heart". She says: "We can give our children the best start in life and also support women into the workplace."

     
  151.  
    Jim Kenyon from Freuchie, Fife

    emails: The SNP is willing to sacrifice 100s of jobs at Faslane in its plight to rid Trident from the Clyde. What are Alex Salmond's plans for them? Will he also be getting rid of the old nuclear submarines and waste stored at Rosyth and how many jobs will be lost there also?

     
  152.  
    1157:

    "Where matters will be for negotiation then what we do is set out the clear, common sense, reasonable and rational position," says Nicola Sturgeon. "Not just a position which is in the best interests of Scotland but positions which will be in the best interests of the rest of the UK."

     
  153.  
    1200:

    On the Sterling zone currency union, Nicola Sturgeon says: "With all the sabre-rattling we have heard on this issue, we have not yet heard any UK politician definitively rule out a shared currency because they know it would be in their interests as much as it would be in Scotland's. It would cost jobs in the rest of the UK to force businesses in England into a separate currency with its second biggest trading partner."

     
  154.  
    1207:

    Andy Willox, the Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB) Scottish policy convener, said: "There is no homogenous business vote. Some business owners will, no doubt, feel that today's document does not address their concerns. Others might now ask of the parties advocating further devolution, stopping short of independence, for similar detail."

     
  155.  
    BBC's Tim Reid

    tweets:

    • BBC in Scotland would be replaced by Scottish Broadcasting Service on 1st Jan 2017 says #whitepaper
    • SBS would seek to co-operate, co-produce and co-commission with the remaining BBC network where appropriate says #whitepaper
    • Existing licence fee would be inherited on independence and is sufficient to allow a high-quality SBS service claims #whitepaper
     
  156.  
    Keith Buchanan from Glasgow

    emails: Do you realise the UK is £1.25tn in debt? According to the IFS report we will be in deficit in the UK for the next 50 years which means that debt will grow. The UK is bankrupt and if interest rates go up its debt will be unserviceable. I think you should be scrutinizing the UK government and the No campaign to see what they are going to do to address this issue if you don't vote Yes. In short, if Scotland does not go independent it's going down the tubes with the rest of the UK.

     
  157.  
    1214:

    "There has never been any doubt that Alex Salmond wanted to keep the pound, the fact is though that he's come up with a plan which nobody else in the remainder of the United Kingdom is going to want," says Alistair Carmichael.

     
  158.  
    Sandy Johnstone from Neston, Cheshire

    emails: Forcing an independent Scotland out of Sterling would be equivalent to having a huge run on the currency, resulting in massive devaluation of Sterling. Maybe we should all buy dollars now!

     
  159.  
    1214:

    The UK government's Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael tells the BBC news channel that if the people of Scotland walk away from the UK they walk away from the pound.

     
  160.  
    Keith Jackson from Chelmsford, Essex

    emails: Does Mr Salmond have a back up plan? He seems to bank everything on North Sea oil/gas revenue to make Scotland look attractive - but how much is left? Also with the recent scare over the Grangemouth refinery, what happens if the oil companies decide to move out completely and re-route supply to Norway because its more cost effective for them?

     
  161.  
    Matt Johnson from Surrey

    emails in response to earlier comments made by Gordon MacAllister from Glasgow : Westminster might be discredited with its prior actions and behaviour, but when you consider the last Labour government was made up largely by Scots, why does anyone think a Scottish parliament post-Yes vote will be any more moral than the UK one? The nature of politicians is the same regardless of nationality.

     
  162.  
    BBC Scotland arts correspondent Pauline McLean

    tweets:

    • Continued support for the arts - including galleries, museums and national companies. Establish Scottish Broadcasting Service. #whitepaper
    • Current TV licence fee and exemptions retained. SBS budget would be £345 million with no requirement for advertising revenue. #whitepaper
    • National Lottery to continue in Scotland, under Camelot. Decisions about Good Cause money to be made in Scotland. #whitepaper
     
  163.  
    Richard Fowler from Stirlingshire

    emails: I was born in Scotland and have lived all my life in Scotland. My partner is from Northern Ireland but has lived in Scotland for the past sixteen years. It appears that in the event of a Yes vote we will have Scottish citizenship imposed upon us. Neither of us wishes to lose British citizenship yet we can find no details of how we can retain British citizenship?

     
  164.  
    1218: Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    I think the thing that strikes me is the distinction between those areas which are structural and high-flown - membership of the EU, membership of Nato and the Sterling currency zone - and the document's pitch to the voters. There is a section in which it says 'What does this mean for me?'. The three things that are stressed there are not the European Union, they are not the currency, they are all family, almost retail issues. Number one is the 'transformational' offer on childcare. Number two is the Scottish government taking over the money that is spent on enhancing energy efficiency and number three is maintaining benefits but reforming welfare so, for example, the so-called bedroom tax is scrapped.

     
  165.  
    1218: Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    Of course they are going to have to answer questions about the currency and EU and Nato but in terms of the pitch they are going to make on the doorstep, it is going to be about that family-friendly offer.

     
  166.  
    Steve Duggan from Ilford, London

    emails: My father was in the Army. His middle name was Lewis, for London (where he was born), England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland - my family is proud of the Union. We should all stand together, rather than looking to break away from each other we should all be asking what we can do to make the United Kingdom better.

     
  167.  
    1229: Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    The intriguing thing politically, with regard to the referendum, is that the attacks coming from Alistair Carmichael and Alistair Darling, from Better together generally, are on the currency and the things that would require to be negotiated. But what Alex Salmond is offering in terms of the pitch is things that might go down well on the doorsteps in the housing estates of this very city of Glasgow.

     
  168.  
    Iain MacCormick from Oban

    emails: The launch of the White Paper was superb. The past is past. Let's get out and welcome a new future!

     
  169.  
    1233:

    Liz Cameron of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce tells the BBC news channel there is a promise of a reduction of corporation tax but she would like to have seen more detail around other taxation such as air passenger duty. "Anything that is going to reduce taxation for business in Scotland is very welcome," Ms Cameron says. "An area we would have expected to see was some kind of promise in terms of our business rates. That is an area we would have been hopeful of seeing some promises of reducing."

     
  170.  
    1238:

    Dave Moxham, the STUC's deputy general secretary, tells the BBC news channel the childcare pledge and the suggestion that wages and fair terms and conditions matter in an economy are positive factors and in contrast to the UK government. "The negatives from our point of view remain a not particularly well thought out policy on corporation tax and some fairly big questions around currency which still have to resolved," Mr Moxham says.

     
  171.  
    1244:

    Health, Wellbeing and Social Protection. A summary of what the white paper says:

    • State pensions would increase by inflation, earnings or 2.5%, whichever is higher (triple lock)
    • Changes to the benefits system would be abolished (that includes bedroom tax and Universal Credit)
    • Further changes to the benefits system to be recommended by an expert working group before the referendum
    • Free personal and nursing care and free bus passes for the elderly would continue
    • The state pension would rise to 66 in 2020 (in line with the rest of the UK) but an independent commission would advise on any changes after that
    • The minimum wage would be increased in line with inflation and a "Scottish living wage" would be "promoted"
    • "Cross-border" arrangements with the NHS will continue, especially for people needing highly complex treatment which is only available at specialist centres in England
    • NHS will continue to be run in the same way (i.e no England-style reform)
     
  172.  
    1251:

    Some key points from the white paper on business and finance

    • An independent Scotland would retain the pound and the Bank of England would continue to be the lender of last resort
    • The paper claims Scotland's finances are healthier than the those of the UK as a whole and there would be no requirement for an independent Scotland to raise the general rate of taxation to fund existing levels of spending
    • Set out a timescale for reducing corporation tax of up to 3% to stimulate economic activity and to retain and attract new investment
    • Reduce Air Passenger Duty by 50% and introduce a simpler tax system which would reduce costs and cut down on tax avoidance leading to a gain of £250m a year
    • The priority is to re-balance and re-industrialise Scotland's economy with increased manufacturing activity leading to more high-value jobs and help boost competitiveness and exports
    • Negotiations to take place on Scotland's share of public sector debt and UK assets
    • Take firm action to cut energy bills
    • On personal finances, the planned married couples tax allowance would be scrapped and the bedroom tax abolished
     
  173.  
    BBC's Tim Reid

    tweets: No10 repeats currency union is "highly unlikely" and says #whitepaper doesn't answer big questions-currency, fiscal sustainability, Europe."

     
  174.  
    Seumas Thomson from Musselburgh, East Lothian

    emails: If only the Scottish people could see how much the Westminster MPs are desperately trying to keep us, then they'd realise how much Westminster needs us. On with independence.

     
  175.  
    1306:

    'Rarely have so many words answered so little' says Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.

     
  176.  
    1307:

    Carmichael on white paper: "Deliberately ignoring the uncertainties of independence."

     
  177.  
    1308:

    "For years we have been promised that all the answers on independence would be in the white paper. The big day has finally arrived and we have 670 pages that leaves us none the wiser on crucial questions such as currency, pensions and the cost of independence." Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.

     
  178.  
    Eliza, who was born in Scotland but has spent most of her life in Spain

    emails: Please don't listen to Alex Salmond. Spain used to be quite well off but it's now at the bottom of the pile with Greece and Portugal, two other nations that no doubt regret joining the euro. Spain's unemployment is over 30% with some areas nearing 40% and youth unemployment getting close to 70%. Of course you will have to have the euro, or do you think Europe will make an exception for Scotland? Of course they won't as that would then open the door for other countries to demand the same. How sad to think that Scotland could end up in a mess like Spain, Greece and Portugal and all because of one man's ego.

     
  179.  
    George Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland

    tweets: In #Whitepaper, Article 48 cited as magic key to #EU automatic entry for Indy Scotland. Problem is, still gives veto to every EU country.

     
  180.  
    Stephen Wake, from Worthing, West Sussex

    emails: If Scotland want to separate and become an independent country, I hope that not one penny of taxpayer money from the south of that border is used to help pay for their independence. If they cannot afford to be independent on their own money then we, south of that border, should not be forced to subsidise it.

     
  181.  
    Jos, from London

    emails: So if the Scots vote yes, they presumably would begin as an independent nation outside of the EU. Does that mean Scots currently living in the UK become non EU citizens and suddenly not qualify to live/work here?

     
  182.  
    1327:

    William Hill odds re referendum: 5-1 against Yes vote; 8-1 on No vote.

     
  183.  
    1328:

    William Hill odds re Scotland being independent on 24 March 2016: 7-1 against; 14-1 on that nothing will change.

     
  184.  
    1328: Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Well, it's not looking good for nuclear submariners or Scottish MPs. But apart from some job losses in those sectors, the message from today's independence white paper launch was one of reassurance.

     
  185.  
    1329: Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    The document includes a lot of questions:

    • Will I be able to get NHS treatment if I take ill while in England? "Yes..."
    • Can more be spent on affordable housing? "Yes..."
    • Will consumers in Scotland have access to a pensions ombudsman? "Yes..."
    • Will I still get my benefits on the same day of the week? "Yes..."
    • Will we need to re-apply for a Scottish driving licence? "No..."
    • Will my season ticket still be valid? "Yes..."
    • Will businesses still be able to brand their products as 'British made'? "Yes, Britain is a geographical term..."
    • Will independence affect who can play for the Scottish rugby and football teams? "No..."
    • Will an independent Scotland protect links to London airports? "With independence, the Scottish government will be able to protect routes." (Has anyone told Heathrow Airport about this?)
    • Would the Scottish Broadcasting Service participate in Comic Relief? "Yes..."
    • And, of course, what about the weather? "The Scottish government will seek agreement with Westminster on retaining Met Office services"
     
  186.  
    Evelyn Jean, from London

    emails: Not enough questions answered for me. They can't guarantee, or have even answered them for that matter, in the key issues in peoples lives. In a time of financial uncertainty for a lot of Europe this is just causing delay and uncertainty for business and potential growth and it appears to be about a one-man mission to be an iconic hero in history. This is not the time to do it and that is a fact maybe in 97 but not now. Hopefully people will see sense over patriotism as we are a global world now.

     
  187.  
    Dorothy Brown

    tweets: How presumptuous of an independent #Scotland to expect a spurned UK to still trade with them. UK will go where the best price is when no ties

     
  188.  
    Leanne Evans, who was born in Scotland but living in Warrington

    emails: I am a Scot living in England. Although the Scottish government have chosen to leave people like me out of the referendum, I still listen with great interest. I have to say, I am not convinced. I have read some of the Whitepaper and to me it's just more of the same that we are used to from the yes campaign. There are no answers to any of the important referendum questions. A rather big disappointment and waste of money.

     
  189.  
    Domhnall Dods, from Livington, West Lothian

    emails: So now we know the SNP and Green prospectus. The other side are promising us different change, now we need to know what they are promising so we can decide between the two. Over to the Tory/Lab/Lib Dem alliance for their vision.

     
  190.  
    Ian Higgins, who was born in Scotland but living in Bridgnorth

    emails: How is Scottish nationality to be determined ? I was born in Scotland but live in England so will I be eligible for a Scottish passport ? will I be able to vote in subsequent Scottish elections? If so then why do I not get a vote now? Nationality cannot be determined by where you happen to live at any particular time. In view of the many millions of UK citizens who can claim Irish, Scottish or Welsh nationality by virtue of birth or ancestry how is that nationality soup to be sorted out? And all UK citizens are EU nationals by law does this not hasten the demise of national politicians and enhance the status of the EU?

     
  191.  
    Thelma Davidson, from Airdrie

    emails: How can a country be truly independent when its currency is still to governed by, what will then be, another country? The SNP wish to keep the Bank of England as its governing body so therefore an independent Scotland would not have a truly independent banking system.

     
  192.  
    Chris O'Donoghue

    tweets: Labour and Tories say an independent Scotland won't be able to defend itself. Only real threat they've ever faced is from England

     
  193.  
    1345: Nick Robinson Political editor

    "Their pitch to a still sceptical Scottish electorate is: Independence would change everything, yet nothing much at all." Nick Robinson's latest blog.

     
  194.  
    Rich, in Milton Keynes

    texts: Cameron (or PM at the time) could veto Scotland's entry into the EU and scupper all these plans. Huge amount of trust to put into the government you're proposing to leave.

     
  195.  
    Colin Anderson, in Gramgemouth

    texts: No campaign reaction is entirely predictable and negative they should maybe put forward Private Fraser from Dads Army as a spokesperson, "we're doomed".

     
  196.  
    1355:

    Nicola Sturgeon will be making a statement to the Scottish parliament at about 14:10 on the plans for independence contained in White Paper.

     
  197.  
    Andrew, born in Dundee but living in Wigan

    emails: As a Scots-born Brit living in England, it reads like I would have 'Scottish' citizenship imposed upon me whether I like it or not. Most of the rest reads like unilateral statements/demands that we've heard before, and that would require negotiation and agreement with other parties, not least the very Westminster the SNP hates so much.

     
  198.  
    1359:

    Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson critised the white paper, saying it contained nothing to "justify the break-up of a country that has been built up over 300 years of shared endeavour".

     
  199.  
    David Logan, from Dumbarton

    texts: So far all I can see from the no campaign supporters is hysterical negativity about a document they cant possibly have read yet.

     
  200.  
    Geoffrey Ryder, in Wokingham

    emails: I was born in Glasgow 67 years ago, but live in England. Of what political view is Mr Salmond - left, right or centre? He is unlikely to pick up many votes from the educated middle class who normally vote Conservative/Unionist and the large number of Labour voters will continue to support their party, so I think that he will suffer a humiliating defeat. It is also grossly unfair that Scottish people who do not at present live in Scotland cannot vote in the referendum but people of nationalities other than Scottish who live in Scotland can vote. An independent Scotland will be a very poor nation indeed when the oil runs out.

     
  201.  
    1404:

    In the Scottish Parliament they are taking topical questions. This will be followed by a ministerial statement of the white paper - Scotland's Future: Your guide to an independent Scotland - from Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

     
  202.  
    1410: Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    "Reassurance runs through every answer. The promise is that nothing will get any worse, and lots of things could get better." BBC Scotland's business and economy editor Douglas Fraser's latest blog.

     
  203.  
    John, from Tunbridge Wells

    emails: Whilst absolutely in agreement that Scotland should vote on independence, why does the rest of the UK have no say in the potential break up of our country?

     
  204.  
    John Ogden, from Bo'ness, West Lothian

    emails: Be careful what you wish for! If Scotland does vote for independence (which seems unlikely) rest assured the next day gone will be the milk and honey promises form Salmond - replaced by warnings of a tough road ahead. Two months post the yes vote opinion polls will suggest a massive majority rejecting the independence voted for. But let's face it we Scots are not that stupid - we know a snake-oil salesman when we see one!

     
  205.  
    Clyn Gallagher

    tweets: Twitter is like a pre-demo loitering session now. Everyone's either waiting for their download or someone to digest it for them. #WhitePaper

     
  206.  
    1414:

    Nicola Sturgeon rises to deliver her statement on the White Paper to the Scottish Parliament.

     
  207.  
    1415:

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tells Holyrood that the "landmark" document will be debated in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday after MSPs have had time to digest it.

     
  208.  
    Steven Hunt, born in Scotland but living in Plymouth

    emails: Born and brought up in Scotland I left to join the Royal Navy in 1992 on completion of 14 years service. On leaving I found work in Plymouth (my final posting in the Navy). I speak with a Scottish accent, proud of my roots, served my country (The UK) and have never emigrated. I have close family in both Scotland and England. Now I find my voice counts for nothing while decisions are being taken which will affect me. Alex Salmond's personal crusade is an insult to the thousands of people like me and an embarrassment to the vast majority of Scots.

     
  209.  
    1416:
    Salmond and Sturgeon

    Scottish minister Michael Russell has shared a pic of his colleagues preparing to make the White Paper announcement this morning.

     
  210.  
    1416:
    Nicola Sturgeon

    Nicola Sturgeon says the White Paper guide to independence is in five parts. The first is the Case for independence. She says it is better decisions about Scotland are made in Scotland. She cites control of vast natural resources and Nicola Sturgeon says being part of one of the most unequal countries in the developed world is not acceptable.

     
  211.  
    1420:

    The second part of the white paper is to display Scotland's "solid" financial foundations. The benefit of independence is to shape our own future prosperity, she says. We will make different decisions for Scotland, Ms Sturgeon says.

     
  212.  
    David McTaggart, in Glasgow

    texts: I see a lot of the yes folk slamming the negativity of the no folk. Perhaps this is because the white paper has given no firm answers, ratified by the relevant organisations, to any of the outstanding questions that the Scottish people have asked. It's all presumption, which when queried by experts, is brushed off as 'fear', 'negativity' or 'scaremongering'. Why can't the yes campaign provide the people of Scotland with definitive answers?

     
  213.  
    John Watson, from Kilsyth

    emails: I will vote yes. For me it comes down to who is best in touch with the country. You have to wonder, if we are going to be such a burden in the future, why do the rest of the UK want to keep Scotland in it? The reason, in my view, is they know we give more then we take and without us they would be worse off, so flip that about and we would be better off on our own than in the UK.

     
  214.  
    1423:

    Part three of the White Paper sets out benefits of its new powers of independence. One change is transformational development of childcare, Nicola Sturgeon says. She says it will create 35,000 new jobs. Nicola Sturgeon says she would call a halt to the "damaging" Westminster welfare cuts such as the bedroom tax. She says Scotland will build a fair and efficient welfare system Business taxes will be competitive and support growth, says Ms Sturgeon. Nuclear weapons of mass destruction will be removed from our country "once and for all", she says.

     
  215.  
    1425:

    Part four sets out negotiations which will need to take place after referendum Yes vote and before independence day. She cites Sterling zone, EU and Nato. Ms Sturgeon says all their negotiating positions are reasonable and rational.

     
  216.  
    1426:

    Part five is a Questions and Answers section which seeks to answer every question they have ever been asked about independence. There are 20,000 copies in original print run but more will be available. She wants everyone to read it either in book form, online or via an ebook. She lists the many ways in which people can get hold of the White Paper

     
  217.  
    1428:

    Scotland's Future will now be the document which drives the debate, Nicola Sturgeon says. The 'No' side of the debate has no equivalent, she says. Ms Sturgeon calls for a similar detailed vision from those who oppose independence.

     
  218.  
    1430:

    As of today, Scotland's future really is in Scotland's hands, says Nicola Sturgeon in conclusion.

     
  219.  
    1431:

    Johann Lamont, leader of the Scottish Labour party, says the White Paper is an exercise in "assertion without evidence". She says the childcare offer could be delivered now but the Scottish government refuses to do so.

     
  220.  
    1432:

    Johann Lamont says Nicola Sturgeon cannot guarantee a Sterling currency union. "The SNP are asking for a divorce but they want to keep the joint bank account", she says.

     
  221.  
    1433:

    Nicola Sturgeon says the EU position is "clear, reasonable and rational". She says the only risk to Scotland's position in the EU is David Cameron's in/out referendum on membership. And Nicola Sturgeon says the pound is as much Scotland's as it is England's. She adds that the trade between the two countries makes a union of benefit to both. She also cites the advantages to the UK balance of payments from Scotland's oil.

     
  222.  
    1435:

    Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson says there was very little new detail in the White Paper except the childcare pledge which the SNP could have delivered at any time over the past six years in which they have been in government. Ms Davidson says that Nicola Sturgeon's reason for not bringing in more childcare was that the tax receipts from extra employment would go to the UK government

     
  223.  
    Ken Ricketts, in Wokingham

    emails: The idea that Scotland could become an independent country and remain in a currency union with the rest of the UK sounds rather like someone demanding a divorce but expecting to continue to operate a joint bank account with their ex as though nothing had changed. Technically possible, but unlikely to work out in practice.

     
  224.  
    1438:

    Nicola Sturgeon says the quote from Ruth Davidson on tax receipts is a distortion of her words. Ms Sturgeon says she wants to raise female participation in the workplace, which she says would increase tax revenues. It is the kind of ambitious, lifechanging policy that independence would allow us to do, she says.

     
  225.  
    Homer Lindsay, in Livingston, West Lothian

    emails: Nicola Sturgeon says that an independent Scotland/SNP government will extend free childcare in Scotland but not now because she does not want the UK Treasury to benefit from the increased taxes that women returning to work would generate. I think perhaps the SNP government might need to go back to childcare themselves so they can throw out the baby with their toys!

     
  226.  
    1440:

    Bruce Crawford, SNP minister for parliamentary business, asks for more on childcare to show the "doomsayers" what a good idea it is. Nicola Sturgeon gladly obliges. The word galvanise is added to transformational and ambitious by Ms Sturgeon

     
  227.  
    Murray McKirdle

    tweets: #indyplan #whitepaper one positive from today is seeing the representation of women in the leadership of Scottish politics #strengthindepth

     
  228.  
    1442:

    Nicola Sturgeon responds to another question on the currency union by asking why the UK government would not want such an arrangement

     
  229.  
    1444:

    Willie Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, says Nicola Sturgeon must be the only person who believes there is not one single downside to independence. He says she is definitely wrong on childcare. The Scottish government has worst childcare provisions in British Isles but refuses to do anything until after independence, he says.

     
  230.  
    1446:

    Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish government is making "progressive" changes to childcare. But she says to make the policy "sustainable and affordable" she would need the powers of independence.

     
  231.  
    1447:

    Graeme Pearson, the Labour MSP and former senior police officer, raises the question of national security. Nicola Sturgeon says it would be in everyone's interests to have sensible discussions about the issue, but the UK government will not do that.

     
  232.  
    Thomas Halliday, originally from Edinburgh but currently in London

    emails: I am deeply concerned about the prospect of the excellent Scottish universities. Currently, UK students pay for their degrees in tuition fees, income which will be lost under independence as they would count as foreign EU students, who are also exempt. Scottish universities also attract more government research council funds per capita than the rest of the UK, meaning that Scotland will have to put a higher percentage of money into science than Westminster currently does to maintain the same level of funding. If they do not, universities will suffer a double blow of reduced income, which they will have to make up with non-EU undergrads. Education is the bedrock of a successful society, but will be strongly damaged under the current proposals of the SNP.

     
  233.  
    1450:

    Nicola Sturgeon again says the biggest risk to Scotland in the EU comes from the UK government and its referendum on membership if the Tories win the next election.

     
  234.  
    Iain Martin, from Glasgow

    emails: I'm astonished at some of the comments being posted - you begin to wonder how any country in the world survives outside the UK. Do people, and I'm most disappointed in my fellow Scots, really doubt our ability to be a modern, prosperous, and above all fair society. Do they really think that everything Scotland has achieved is only thanks to the paternal benevolence of our neighbours?

     
  235.  
    Gill, from Aberfeldy

    emails: I am an English person living in Scotland for the last 18 years, I have a family and an aged mother-in-law. The yes side have answered my questions. Can those that support the union reassure me that things are not going to change if I vote no? Will the Barnett Formula be preserved? Will free care for the elderly? Will there be free university education for my kids? Will we stay in the EU? Will the devolved powers be retained in Scotland after a no vote, or will the UK government vote to remove these powers and open up the NHS in Scotland to the reforms that have taken place in the rest of the UK? There are many questions about the consequences of staying in the union that haven't been answered.

     
  236.  
    1451:

    Labour MSP Jackie Baillie asks about pensions. Nicola Sturgeon says pensions will continue to be paid as now, and in full, with a triple lock on increases, and all current accrued rights will be paid. She says Scotland has an ageing population but the way you support this is to grow your working population by attracting immigration and by growing your economy and tax revenues.

     
  237.  
    1454:

    SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell says one of the benefits of independence is a welfare system that suits Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon says the welfare system is being "dismantled before our very eyes" by the Westminster government. She says she wants to build a social protection system which is fit for Scotland's purposes

     
  238.  
    1455:

    Guffaws from MSPs in the chamber as Labour MSP Iain Gray asks where the money to set up an oil fund will come from.

     
  239.  
    1455:

    The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) says it welcomes publication of the White Paper and the "ambition it reflects on key issues such as economic development and childcare". General secretary Grahame Smith says: "Although most of the ideas and positions set out in the paper are already quite familiar, the commitment to establishing a National Convention on Employment and Labour Relations is interesting and of particular relevance to the STUC. We look forward to discussing how such a body could be made to work in the Scottish context." But he says the White Paper does raise questions about how an independent Scottish Government might develop a sustainable approach to taxation in order to fund important and legitimate additional social investments.

     
  240.  
    1456:

    Nicola Sturgeon says Iain Gray knows the answer to these questions. The oil fund would smooth volatility of oil revenues and save for future generations which they would start paying into when the deficit was down to a reasonable level

     
  241.  
    1458:

    Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie asks what is Plan B on currency. Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP's view is that the currency is in the best interests of both the UK and Scotland. She says other parties in government after independence could possibly take a different view.

     
  242.  
    1500:

    Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson returns to the European Union issue. Nicola Sturgeon says that the Scottish government cannot yet discuss membership of the EU because the negotiations would have to be with the Westminster government which refuses to take part. She says the arrangement that an independent Scotland would seek would be exactly the same as the ones it has now as part of the UK.

     
  243.  
    1502:

    The inequality gap in the UK is one of the reasons why we need the powers of independence, says Nicola Sturgeon. That inequality gap will be addressed "not overnight but over time", she adds.

     
  244.  
    Nicola Sturgeon

    David Torrance tweets: I've reached the conclusion Nicola Sturgeon's cuffs are the stand-out feature of #indyplan day. They're stylish & relatively incontestable.

     
  245.  
    1503:

    Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie says he would love to fund childcare by scrapping weapons of mass destruction and it is shocking that the childcare pledge has been called a bribe by opponents of independence.

     
  246.  
    Gordon Blair, in Dunoon

    emails: Why shouldn't the people who live and work in Scotland not determine if the country is independent or not. My relations stay in England, they vote, and elect the people they want. We have a devolved government and this is a natural progression. Remember the capitalist system, unfortunately, is still alive and well in Scotland but there are things which we value, like public service, our health service, care for the elderly, tuitions fees for our young folk and for the future of the country. A different perspective from the Tory Westminster government. Negativity from the BBC reports as usual from London centric , Tory reporters. For the people in Scotland the power lies with us, we decide, we should read the paper and ask questions.

     
  247.  

    INFO: The BBC's Newsnight Scotland programme is appealing for members of the public to join a studio audience for its next debate on issues associated with the independence referendum. The programme makers want to hear what you think about the Scottish government's White Paper on independence. The special debate will take place on Monday, 2 December, at BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay HQ in Glasgow. More details at Audience plea for TV debate.

     
  248.  
    1504:

    Question on the Written Constitution from SNP MSP Fiona McLeod. Nicola Sturgeon says the independent Scottish Parliament set up in 2016 would decide how that constitution is formed.

     
  249.  
    Scott Nicholson

    tweets: Does everyone feel safe in the knowledge that the Scotland #whitepaper details no negative consequences of independence?

     
  250.  
    1506:

    Shipbuilding is dear to my heart, says Nicola Sturgeon in answer to a question on the subject. She says the White Paper talks about procurement and diversification within defence and the shipbuilding industry.

     
  251.  
    1507:

    Question on international aid. Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland will be a good global citizen.

     
  252.  
    Claudette Bruce

    tweets: I would happily be taxed an extra £1000 a year, to be in an independent country.

     
  253.  
    1508:

    Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm says even if there was a currency union there would be no fiscal independence. He says Nicola Sturgeon is leading "project wish over project reality".

     
  254.  
    1510:

    Nicola Sturgeon says Malcolm Chisholm has been reading the "project fear" playbook.

     
  255.  
    1510:

    Independent MSP Margo Macdonald says Nicola Sturgeon should not dismiss what Malcolm Chisholm has said. She calls for people such as Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown, who have been in senior positions in the Westminster government, should be brought in to help negotiate the best deal for Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon agrees. She says the minute Scotland votes "Yes", these people will stop being on the opposite side and will want the best deal for Scotland.

     
  256.  
    1513:

    The statement on the White Paper from the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is brought to an end by the presiding officer. The Scottish Parliament is now moving on to other business. There will be a full Holyrood debate on the White Paper on Wednesday afternoon.

     
  257.  
    1520:

    If you've not yet managed to read through the whole of the White Paper yet here's our handy At-a-glance guide to the independence blueprint.

     
  258.  
    1530:

    During her statement to the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon outlined how she would make sure everyone could get hold of a copy of the White Paper. "It has an initial print run of 20,000 but will be made available to everyone who requests a copy," she says. "A summary document is also available in print and online," she said. A fully searchable document is available at www.scotreferendum.com and reference copies are available in libraries. An e-book is available to download from the scotreferendum website and from the itunes store and Amazon.

     
  259.  
    1534:

    Anyone who wants a hard copy of the white Paper can request one by emailing referendumwhitepaper@scotland.gsi.gov.uk or they can phone 0300 012 1809. Copies for individuals in the UK will be free, while bulk and overseas orders will attract a charge of £10 plus postage and packaging.

     
  260.  
    Steve, from Inverness

    emails: At least we have now something to get our teeth into. I note that the no campaign never puts up positive arguments for the Union, it's always: Scotland will lose this, or Scotland will lose that, or Scotland will not be able to. These seem to me to be negatives brought on by desperation. As to Scotland keeping the pound sterling, we are constantly told this is pie in the sky, but if that is the case why does the treasury not categorically rule it out? A yes vote is not a vote for the SNP but a vote for Scotland, as any party could win the next election.

     
  261.  
    1539:

    And after that final burst of information, it's time to bring our live coverage of the Scottish government's white paper to and end.

     
  262.  
    1547:

    You can keep up with the main developments in the story here. And for the latest news, features and analysis on the referendum debate, be sure to check out our Scotland's future special report page. Bye for now!

     
  263.  
    Information

    For a round up on the key points of the day, tune in to...

     

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