Scottish independence: White Paper at-a-glance

white paper

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has outlined the case for independence.

The Scottish government has published a 649-page blueprint for how it believes Scotland could operate after independence, and if the SNP was elected in 2016.

BBC Scotland's correspondents and reporters take a more detailed look at the plan and what a "Yes vote" in next year's referendum could mean for the economy, health, pensions, education, defence, justice, the environment and the media.

Finance and economy

The White Paper says Scotland has strong economic foundations and as an independent country would tailor its economic policies to Scottish businesses and industry.

In an independent Scotland, an SNP government would:

  • 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 to reduce costs and cut down on tax avoidance.
  • Retain the pound and the Bank of England as the lender of last resort.
  • Hold negotiations on Scotland's share of public sector debt and UK assets.

More details from BBC Scotland's business reporter Gillian Marles.

Health, Wellbeing and Social Protection

The White Paper says in an independent Scotland pensioners would be better off.

In an independent Scotland, an SNP government would:

  • Increase state pensions by inflation, earnings or 2.5%, whichever is higher.
  • Increase the state pension age to 66 in 2020 (in line with the rest of the UK) but an independent commission would advise on any changes after that.
  • End housing benefit changes - what it calls the "bedroom tax" - within the first year of an independent Scottish Parliament and halt the rollout of the single, Universal Credit for the unemployed.
  • Continue free personal and nursing care and free bus passes for the elderly.
  • Increase the minimum wage in line with inflation and promote a "Scottish living wage".
  • Have the power to ban adverts for unhealthy foods and to tax unhealthy foods (a "fat tax") - but there was no specific commitment.
  • Say there are no significant barriers to Scotland achieving Olympic and Paralympic accreditation.

More details from BBC Scotland's health correspondent Eleanor Bradford.

Education, Skills and Employment

The White Paper argues the full powers of independence could make a big difference to the overall education system - especially the role of the education system in lifting people out of poverty and helping them into employment.

In an independent Scotland, an SNP government would:

  • Integrate government's approach to education with wider social policies such as taxation and benefits to help address child poverty.
  • Extend support available to young children and their families to expand childcare provision.
  • Transform the childcare system to match the best in Europe - by the end of the first parliament, it would ensure all three and four-year-olds and vulnerable two-year-olds were entitled to 1,140 hours of childcare a year.
  • Maintain free tuition for Scottish students studying in Scotland but charge fees for students from the rest of the UK.
  • Maintain a "common research area" across the UK between universities.

More information from BBC Scotland's education correspondent Jamie McIvor.

International Relations and Defence

The White Paper says an independent Scotland would have have its own voice in the United Nations, Nato, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth and others.

In an independent Scotland, an SNP government would:

  • Remove Trident nuclear weapons from the Clyde by 2020.
  • Seek a closer relationship with the Nordic Council of Ministers.
  • Establish a network of overseas embassies in locations including Beijing, Islamabad, Seoul and Washington.
  • Legally commit to spending 0.7% of gross national income on international aid, with an aspiration to spend 1% over time.
  • Establish a Scottish Defence Force consisting of of 15,000 full-time personnel and 5,000 reservists.
  • Retain Faslane naval base as a conventional naval base and joint HQ of the Scottish Defence Force.

More information from BBC Scotland reporter Steven Godden.

Justice, Security and Home Affairs

The White Paper outlines the choices open to an independent Scotland in the justice system.

In an independent Scotland, an SNP government would:

  • Maintain human rights.
  • Look at simplifying firearms legislation.
  • Consider giving police new powers to conduct random breath tests, "any time, any where".
  • Designate the Appeal Court in Edinburgh as Scotland's Supreme Court.
  • Develop closer relationships with EU and NATO agencies engaged in cyber security.
  • Keep the Scottish borders would remain open to all EU nationals, as an EU member.
  • Establish a Scottish Asylum Agency to oversee applications, taking a robust and humane approach.
  • Close Dungavel Detention Centre in Lanarkshire and end dawn raids.
  • Consider British citizens habitually resident in Scotland as Scottish citizens.
  • Make citizenship by descent available to those whose parent or grandparent qualifies for Scottish citizenship.
  • Permit dual citizenship with the UK.
  • Recognise UK passports until their expiry date.

More details from BBC Scotland's home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson.

Environment, Energy and Resources

The White Paper says Scotland is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that can bring prosperity and ensure the global challenges of the 21st century are met.

In an independent Scotland, an SNP government would:

  • Retain a single UK-wide market for electricity and gas.
  • Establish a Scottish Energy Fund.
  • Make no changes to the oil and gas fiscal regime without consultation (The Scottish government says it has no plans to increase the overall tax burden on the oil industry).
  • Give Scotland a voice in negotiations on agriculture and fisheries, through direct representation in Europe.

More information from BBC Scotland's environment correspondent David Miller.

Culture, Communities and Digital

Culture and heritage are already devolved and the Scottish government sees it as an enduring and powerful asset to be developed under independence.

In an independent Scotland, an SNP government would:

  • Establish a Scottish Broadcasting Service (SBS) - initially founded on staffing and resources of BBC Scotland - which would provide TV, radio and online content and begin broadcasting at the beginning of 2017.
  • Create a formal relationship between BBC and SBS to supply the same level of network programming - so Doctor Who and Eastenders would continue.
  • Retain current TV licence fee and exemptions.
  • Fully honour existing licences for broadcasters in Scotland.
  • Bring Royal Mail back into public ownership.
  • Improve geographic coverage in telecommunications, particularly in remote rural areas.
  • Continue the National Lottery in Scotland.

More information from BBC Scotland's arts correspondent Pauline McLean.

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