Rangers: HMRC loses appeal over ruling in Big Tax Case

Rangers FC A verdict delivered by the first-tier tribunal in November 2012 favoured, in principle, the position of the Murray Group, which formerly owned Rangers

HM Revenue and Customs has lost its appeal over Rangers' use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) - the so-called "Big Tax Case".

Upper tier tribunal judge Lord Doherty dismissed the appeal against a first-tier tax tribunal decision but referred several issues back to the panel.

The tax authority had argued that payments made to players and other employees should be taxable.

The Murray Group, which formerly owned Rangers, argued they were loans.

The first-tier tribunal (FTT) had issued a 2-1 majority verdict in November 2012 which favoured, in principle, the Murray Group and ordered that HMRC's £46.2m demands, about three-quarters of which referred to the liquidated club, be "reduced substantially".

The upper-tier appeal has largely upheld that verdict but some payments will be re-examined by the original tribunal, including termination and "guaranteed bonus" payments.

Start Quote

It is obvious that the much publicised existence of these proceedings overshadowed Rangers Football Club for many years and tarnished the external perception of its value”

End Quote Murray International Holdings

However, the Murray Group appeared to secure an additional victory relating to payments made to several people including former Ibrox chairman Sir David Murray, which it argued were not special cases.

The judgement, which has no impact on the current Rangers owners, reads: "The appeal is dismissed except in so far as it relates to the termination payments.

"I shall remit the case to the FTT with a direction to allow the taxpayers' appeals against the assessments relating to the payments to the sub-trusts of Sir David Murray, his sons, Mr McClelland and Mr MacMillan; to proceed as accords in relation to the termination payments, the payments in respect of guaranteed bonuses, and any related questions of grossing up.

"Standing my findings and my disposal, the remit should be to the FTT as originally constituted."

It is unclear how many termination payments were made but the FTT's decision referred to five "guaranteed bonus" payments.

In a statement, a spokesman for Murray International Holdings (MIH) expressed satisfaction with the ruling but said there were no winners.

He said: "We are pleased with the judgement which again leaves negligible tax liability and overwhelmingly supports the views collectively and consistently held by our advisers, legal counsel and MIH itself.

"We will therefore review the detailed content of the decision with our legal counsel and advisers to ascertain what action, if any, is now required by MIH.

"The decision substantially reduces HMRC's claim in the liquidation of the old Rangers Football Club.

'Expensive process'

"While we have been successful in both the FTT and UTT, there are, as we have stated previously, no victors.

"This has been an exceptionally long, difficult and expensive process involving not just the FTT and UTT but also several approaches to resolve the with senior HMRC officials on a commercially sensible basis for all parties which were rejected."

The spokesman said MIH had, at all times, recognised that the tax tribunal proceedings stemmed from arrangements put in place during its ownership.

They were introduced before legislative changes removed the tax efficiency of such arrangements from the end of 2010, he added.

But he said: "However, it is obvious that the much publicised existence of these proceedings overshadowed Rangers Football Club for many years and tarnished the external perception of its value.

"There can be little doubt that despite favourable legal opinion, potential acquirers were therefore dissuaded from pursuing their interest during a period in which we were marketing the sale of MIH's shareholding.

"The case has also stimulated extensive press and social media comment, discussion and speculation, a significant quantity of which has been ill informed."

The spokesman said it would have been "entirely inappropriate" for MIH to have highlighted "fundamental misunderstandings or contribute to this public debate" during the legal proceedings.

He added: "Notwithstanding all of this, it is abundantly clear that Rangers Football Club would not have gone into administration or liquidation had the purchaser fulfilled its contractual obligations and responsibilities.

"Similar to the resolution of the UTT appeal, we hope that the relevant authorities conclude their investigations and commence proceedings at the earliest opportunity."

A spokesman for HMRC said: "We are naturally disappointed with today's decision and are considering an appeal."

HMRC has one month to decide whether or not to seek permission to lodge an appeal with the Inner House of the Court of Session.

Rangers began using the EBT scheme while under the control of Sir David Murray.

He sold the club for £1 to Scottish businessman Craig Whyte in 2011, while the tax liability was in dispute.

Rangers were subsequently forced into administration by HMRC in February 2012, over non-payment of tax totalling about £14m, while under Mr Whyte's control.

HMRC subsequently rejected proposals for a creditors agreement that would have prevented Rangers from going into liquidation.

Rangers released a statement in response to the decision on their website.

It said: "Rangers Football Club Limited (the "Club") notes the findings of Lord Doherty in the HMRC case against Rangers Football Club plc (Oldco) and shares the views of many fans that so much of what later ensued at our club following the start of that investigation was avoidable.

"We are pleased to see the end of this sorry chapter in the history of Rangers FC, yet our greatest sympathy is with those who felt the pain of the last four years the most - our supporters.

"In spite of almost unrelenting attacks and setbacks they have never flinched from supporting their football club with all their energy and resolve.

"It is a matter for the authorities to explain their actions during this entire period that has seen the good name of Rangers severely damaged.

"Our focus is on rebuilding the football club and getting Rangers back to where we belong. That, in itself, will help right some of the wrongs our club and supporters have suffered over the last four years."

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Scotland Decides: Counting under way

  1. No 178,811
  2. Yes 172,426
After 7 of 32 counts Results in detail

Referendum Live

  1.  
    03:54: Alex Salmond arrives at airport

    First Minister Alex Salmond was not at a count earlier. However, he has been seen boarding a private jet at Aberdeen Airport.

    Alex Salmond
     
  2.  
    03:50: East Renfrewshire Jane Lewis, BBC Scotland News

    tweets: A "Yes" spokesman in East Renfrewshire tells me it would be no surprise if they won just 35% of the vote here.

     
  3.  
    03:50: 'Cant be ignored' Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Scotland Office minister David Mundell, aka Scotland's only Tory MP, has arrived at the Ingliston national count from his south Scotland constituency saying he's optimistic of a "big 'No'" in that part of the country, and replicated across Scotland.

    But he also says the significant number of people who voted "Yes" can't be ignored.

     
  4.  
    03:50: "Yes" glumness Ken Macdonald BBC Scotland Science Correspondent

    A bit of a glum picture at the "Yes" party in Glasgow.

    "Yes" party in Glasgow
     
  5.  
    03:47: Highland count Craig Anderson BBC Scotland

    Better Together campaigners at the Highland count in Dingwall are predicting a victory for the "No" side by 53% to 47%.

    One activist admitted: "We seem to be doing much better than we expected at the beginning of the night."

     
  6.  
    03:47: Inverclyde analysis John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    This is a place where we would probably expect the "Yes" side to do rather better than average. Although it does not have a particularly large SNP vote Inverclyde does have plenty of neighbourhoods that are socially deprived.

    The fact that the vote was virtually evenly divided must thus count as further disappointment to the "Yes" campaign. The results are beginning to point towards a "No" victory although it may be a while until we are clear as to how big that victory is.

     
  7.  
    03:47: Inverclyde result Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    It was not one of the top targets for "Yes" but it was one that they would have hoped to win.

    It is a west of Scotland area where they could perhaps pitch that things could get better under independence and perhaps they had a willing audience in that regard.

    "The thing that kept it closer than Clackmannanshire could be that issue of Ferguson's shipyard where the SNP Scottish government were seen as having been instrumental in bringing about the rescue of the yard."

     
  8.  
    03:45: Sterling bounce?

    BBC economics correspondent Robert Peston says a "No" vote would mean "sterling would bounce back" in the international money markets. He speculates this could mean a UK interest rate rise as early as November.

     
  9.  
    03:45: Argyll & Bute count

    And still they keep coming! Ballot boxes waiting to be opened at the Argyll and Bute count at Lochgilphead.

    The declaration is expected to be around 4.30am.

    Argyll & Bute
     
  10.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 03:44: Get involved

    Ollie Glanvill tweets: Unbelievable even Inverclyde...

    Alycia tweets: Inverclyde's votes were so close it physically pains me.

    Cath tweets: I genuinely thought Inverclyde would be a yes vote.

     
  11.  
    03:41: Big city swing?

    James Shaw tweets: Yes Scotland chair Denis Canavan admits disappointment that No won in Clackmannanshire. Says big city could swing it back to #indyref Yes.

     
  12.  
    03:40: Edinburgh count Laura Maxwell BBC Scotland

    Several thousand postal votes have still to be opened, scanned and verified in Edinburgh. They have just arrived at Ingliston, and were apparently late issues or replacements.

    Chris Highcock, the city's deputy counting officer, says this has delayed the declaration of turnout in the capital, but won't delay the final declaration, as other votes are being counted.

     
  13.  
    03:39: 'Yes' groans Ken MacDonald, BBC Scotland News

    Groans and hands on heads at a "Yes" party in Glasgow as the Inverclyde result was announced.

     
  14.  
    03:39: Perth & Kinross count Suzanne Allan BBC Scotland

    The counting staff at Perth and Kinross are still smiling - even though it's 3.29am.

    Smiles
     
  15.  
    03:36: INVERCLYDE RESULT

    "No" wins by 27,329 to 27,243 - that's 50.1% to 49.9%.

    The total ballot was 54,601 and the turnout 87.4%.

     
  16.  
    03:35: Largest turnout John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    Latest turnout expectation has crept up slightly to 85% making it even more clearly the largest turnout in Scotland since the introduction of the mass franchise.

     
  17.  
    03:35: Indicators of vote John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    Contributions from BBC reporters at the counts in both Midlothian and Aberdeen - both places where we would expect the result to be not dissimilar to that of Scotland as a whole - suggest the "No" side is quite comfortably ahead.

    If these reports are correct then the expectation of a "No" victory is likely to be fulfilled.

     
  18.  
    03:33: Glasgow count Aileen Clarke BBC Scotland

    tweets: Yes camp here at Emirates seem a bit more confident they've taken Glasgow but not sure if it will be by a big enough margin to matter. No camp not quite so hopeful.

     
  19.  
    03:33: Tory conversion John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    There have been two quite remarkable and contributions to the BBC's programmes from Conservative spokespeople this evening.

    First of all Ruth Davidson, who once described the 2012 Scotland Act as a "line in the sand that should not be crossed" has indicated that Scotland requires considerable further devolution.

    Meanwhile Lord Forsyth, once one of the principal opponents of the Scottish Parliament, has now declared that he thinks Holyrood should be given even more devolution than it has been promised by any of the Unionist parties so far.

    It looks as though one consequence of this campaign is to have brought the Scottish Conservatives very firmly into the devolution camp.

     
  20.  
    03:32: Third Dundee alarm Chris Mason Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: In Dundee the fire alarm was triggered for a third time but stopped immediately.

     
  21.  
    03:31: Analysis John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    Former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson has just declared that he thinks the SNP should get involved in talks about more devolution for Scotland, should indeed Scotland vote "No" in the referendum.

    This is the first sign that the SNP may well try to use their vote in this referendum to push the demand for more devolution yet further, rather than stand aside as they did on the occasion of the Scottish constitutional convention.

     
  22.  
    03:31: Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    The final lot of postal ballots have arrived at the Edinburgh count.

     
  23.  
    03:29: Fife count Simon Dedman, BBC Scotland News

    "Yes" campaign say they agree with "No" figures. A 20% sample shows "No" at 55% of the vote and "Yes" at 45%.

     
  24.  
    03:29: East Lothian Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland

    The East Lothian declaration is now around 15 minutes away. They're now onto the adjudication of spoiled ballot papers. All other votes counted.

     
  25.  
    03:28: Inverclyde count Keir Murray BBC Sport Scotland

    The counting officer and referendum agents are in deep conversation. It looks like it's extremely close between "Yes" and "No".

     
  26.  
    03:27: More powers

    Former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson said the direction of travel seems to be towards "No".

    He said: "There is a clear consensus in Scotland, if not for "Yes" in this vote, then for more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

    "We need to make sure the powers promised in haste at the end of this campaign are driven through to deliver not just paltry new powers, not just reluctant modest new powers, but the very substantial maximum new powers that people want to see.

    "Albeit, it appears from tonight, within the continuing United Kingdom."

     
  27.  
    03:25: South Lanarkshire count Catriona Renton BBC Scotland

    A trend amongst spoilt papers here is "No" written in the "No" box which is being taken to be a double negative but doesn't count as one for "Yes" either.

     
  28.  
    03:24: East Dunbartonshire

    Counters working methodically and hoping to make the East Dunbartonshire declaration at approximately 04:00.

    East Dunbartonshire
     
  29.  
    03:24: Aberdeen 'No' confident Fiona Stalker BBC Scotland reporter

    The "No" campaign in Aberdeen are now confident of victory. At the start of the night they thought it was too close to call.

    They are now estimating 58% for "No". Privately the "Yes" campaign are admitting that it does look like "No" is ahead in Aberdeen.

    Both sides are saying the vote is split by wealth. Better-off areas or middle class areas appear to be voting "No" and predominantly the less well-off areas are voting "Yes".

     
  30.  
    03:20: Scottish Borders count Morag Kinniburgh BBC News Scotland

    Conservative MSP John Lamont says he's "very confident" whilst Paul Wheelhouse SNP MSP is "disappointed" with how he thinks the vote is going in Scottish Borders.

     
  31.  
    03:19: Twitter reaction

    Co-convenor of the Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie: Well the result looks disappointing. But losing the energy & motivation of people who've become re-engaged in politics would be even worse.

     
  32.  
    03:19: It's all there

    The pace is quickening now on the local results front - after all we have now entered the frenetic two-hour declaration period.

    If you think you might get a little lost as to whether your council has declared yet, go to our local authority pages, where you will see in images, words and video what is going on.

    Scottish Borders Council count It's busy, busy at the Scottish Borders Council count - picture sent by the BBC's Morag Kinniburgh
     
  33.  
    03:17: More on English devolution

    Lib Dem MP Sir Menzies Campbell tells the BBC: "It's not for the Scots to tell the English what form their devolution should take. That is for the English to decide."

    He argues that the "concentration of resources in the south east is simply not sustainable in the long term".

     
  34.  
    03:16: Fife 'bellwether'

    Dunfermline and West Fife Labour MP Thomas Docherty said he was confident of victory for the "No" campaign in Fife adding that the local authority was an important indicator of the result nationally.

    "It is an absolute bellwether," he said.

    "It has industrial areas around Rosyth dockyards for example and Glenrothes, it has former mining communities across west and central Fife. It also has quite strong middle class areas in west Fife, Kirkcaldy and north east Fife and right across the board we have got pretty good results.

    "We don't have the final figures and we may be three hours away from that, but it does look like a good night for the 'No' campaign here in Fife."

     
  35.  
    03:15: Aberdeenshire count Steven Duff BBC Scotland reporter

    Big round of applause in the AECC as counting officer Colin McKenzie announces that big Aberdeenshire turnout figure of 87.2%.

    Actual counting now under way. Latest estimate on declaration 05:00.

     
  36.  
    03:14: Pound high

    Following these early results, the pound has hit a two-year high against the euro.

     
  37.  
    03:14: Dundee evacuation update Andrew Anderson BBC Scotland News

    Dundee fire alarm over. Staff returning - again.

     
  38.  
    tweet @bbcscotlandnews 03:11: Have your say

    Douglas Symon tweets: That result pretty much signifies it'll be no. #indyref

     
  39.  
    03:11: Aberdeenshire turnout Simon Cousins, BBC Scotland News

    Aberdeenshire turnout is 87.2%.

     
  40.  
    03:10: Dundee evacuation Andrew Anderson BBC Scotland News

    Counting staff evacuated from count for a second time due to another fire alarm...

    Dundee evacuation
     
  41.  
    'Subdued' Kenneth Macdonald BBC Scotland Special Correspondent

    The atmosphere at this #indyref #yes party is now subdued to say the least. They'd expected more from Clacks and W Isles.

     
  42.  
    03:09: Confirmed turnout figures Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    A flurry of confirmed turnout figures for you:

    East Renfrewshire: 66,021 votes (turnout 90.4%) East Ayrshire: 84,252 votes (turnout 84.5%) Stirling: 62,225 votes (turnout 90.1%) South Ayrshire: 81,715 votes (turnout 86.1%) East Lothian: 71,798 votes (turnout 87.6%) Falkirk: 108,626 votes (turnout 88.7%) Dumfries and Galloway: 106,755 votes (turnout 87.5%) Aberdeen: 143,664 votes (turnout 81.7%) Glasgow: 364,664 votes (turnout 75%) Perth and Kinross: 104,285 votes (turnout 86.9%).

     
  43.  
    03:08: Suspected fraud

    Following reports that officials are investigating 10 cases of suspected electoral fraud at polling places in Glasgow, Police Scotland have said any crime would be "appropriately investigated".

    A spokesman added: "Police Scotland takes the safety and security of the independence referendum extremely seriously and is working with partner agencies including local authorities to ensure the integrity of the ballot."

     
  44.  
    03:08: North Ayrshire count Ian Hamilton BBC Scotland

    Listening.....

    Ian Hamilton

    The room is surprisingly quiet considering the importance of this vote.

    It's not that everyone has gone home, I think it's just the air of expectation here in North Ayrshire. All I can hear is the sound of ballot papers which to me sounds like birds flapping their wings.

    The vote appears to be very tight here and neither are claiming victory yet, we should know more at about 04:00.

     
  45.  
    03:07: Aberdeen count Fiona Stalker BBC Scotland reporter

    The latest from Aberdeen is that a declaration could now be before 05:00. The "No" camp say they're "confident".

     
  46.  
    03:07: Analysis Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale says it was "clear from the doorsteps" that people wanted more information on the offer of more powers. In short, that means the late restatement of the offer was driven by concern that ground was being lost.

     
  47.  
    03:06: Dundee count Andrew Anderson BBC Scotland News

    Dundee count evacuated for a second time due to fire alarm.

     
  48.  
    03:03: COMHAIRLE NAN EILEAN SIAR (WESTERN ISLES) RESULT

    "No" wins by 10,544 to 9,195. That is 53% for "No" against 47% for "Yes".

    Ballot total: 19,758, a turnout 86.2%.

     
  49.  
    02:57: 'Amazing turnouts'

    Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell tweets: Amazing turnouts across Scotland (including a rumoured 100% on Jura) testify to the energising effect of #indyref on all of the country

     
  50.  
    02:56: 'Early stage'

    Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney is at the count in Perth and Kinross.

    He said: "At this stage it looks as if Better Together is ahead, I would accept that, but we need to wait to see all of the work that is going on on the tables to see exactly how the vote is going to separate between the two counts.

    "I think we have to be really careful about making judgements based on the three declarations that have taken place.

    "The gap between the two positions is about 13,000 votes. These are three relatively small local authority areas. there are much bigger votes to be cast in other parts of the country. It is a very early stage in the night."

     
  51.  
    02:54: Highland count Craig Anderson BBC Scotland

    Final ballot boxes for Highland expected imminently. Turnout figures due around 04.00. So far Better Together campaigners are happier with the count. Some glum faces among the "Yes" campaign.

     
  52.  
    02:53: Fife count Simon Dedman, BBC Scotland News

    Labour MP Thomas Docherty tells the BBC he is confident "No" has won in Fife.

     
  53.  
    02:51: Moray count

    The Moray vote count started after 02:00 - two hours later than expected. Click here for more updates on Moray.

    Moray votes
     
  54.  
    02:50: 'Two year campaign'

    Musician and independence campaigner Ricky Ross agrees it is too early to predict a final result.

    "This has been a two year campaign. Let's not concertina the end!" he jokes.

     
  55.  
    02:49: Murphy 'delighted'

    Labour MP Jim Murphy tells the BBC he is "delighted with the turnout" and the involvement of 16 and 17-year-olds in the vote. He says the "it's too early to say" what the final result will be.

     
  56.  
    02:48: First three results Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    The first three results are a hat-trick for the Better Together side but they are three of the smallest council areas in Scotland.

    In terms of Shetland, they weren't notably keen on devolution in the first place, so it is no great surprise that they are not exactly giving a resounding endorsement to the concept of independence.

    Of the three results, of course, the Clackmannanshire result is far and away the most significant in that it was an area that perhaps should have been doing rather better for the "Yes" side.

     
  57.  
    Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    One of those attending the Edinburgh count tonight is Benny Wenda, leader of the West Papua independence movement, who's currently living in exile in Oxford.

    He says he's here to send a message to the Indonesian government that it is possible to have a constitutional debate in a peaceful and democratic manner, as Scotland has done, rather than through violence. Benny's getting on TV a fair bit this evening, thanks in part to his extremely fetching headgear.

    Benny Wenda
     
  58.  
    02:44: SHETLAND RESULT

    "No" wins by 9,951 votes to 5,669. That is a vote share of 64% for "No" and 36% for "Yes". The turnout was 15,620.

     
  59.  
    02:43: Falkirk count Fiona Walker BBC Scotland

    "No" now confident of comfortable Falkirk win. "Yes" still think they could be in with a chance. Too close to call they say.

     
  60.  
    02:42: Glasgow turnout

    SNP MSP John Mason tweets: 75% turnout in Glasgow. Twice turnout of 37% when I was elected in 2011. Congratulations to the electorate whatever the result.

     
  61.  
    02:40: Edinburgh forecast Laura Maxwell, BBC Radio Scotland

    A senior figure in the Better Together campaign tells me Edinburgh is about 60%-40% for "No".

     
  62.  
    02:38: Fife count Lisa Summers BBC Scotland

    What they are saying here is that it is too early to say with any certainty.

    On behalf of the "No" campaign, Thomas Docherty, the MP for Dunfermline, says he is fairly confident everything is going in their favour and it looks as if Fife will vote "No" this evening.

    That is based on sample counts from areas like Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes that they thought would go in favour of "Yes" but are showing growing evidence of a "No" vote.

     
  63.  
    02:38: 'Politically aware'

    East Renfrewshire Labour MSP Ken McIntosh said of the area's 90.4% turnout: "East Ren has got a very good record of high results. I think we had the highest turnout at the EU election, the highest turnout at the last UK general election.

    "We have got a very politically aware constituency and I think people are very concerned about their children's future and they have exercised that democratic right at the ballot box."

     
  64.  
    02:36: Western Isles turnout Catriona MacLean, BBC Scotland

    Western Isles turnout was 19,758 votes, which was 86.2%.

     
  65.  
    02:33: Social media

    Nearly 83,000 tweets about the referendum were sent between 01:00 and 02:00 - down 16% on the previous hour.

    Many of the top tweets are about the Clackmannanshire "No" vote result. The most shared - retweeted over 2,000 times - came from @BBCBreaking.

    The most influential account in the last hour has been Scottish actress Karen Gillan, who tweeted: "Thanks everyone! I am now watching the results! Good luck Scotland xxx"

    Join the conversation via #indyref, tweet @BBCPolitics or @bbcscotlandnews, or go to the BBC News Facebook page.

     
  66.  
    02:33: West Dunbartonshire count

    A "No" team photo shows the mood in the Playdrome. See here for more updates on West Dunbartonshire.

    No's in West Dunbartonshire
     
  67.  
    02:26: Stirling count Reevel Alderson Home affairs correspondent, BBC Scotland

    Johanna Boyd, Labour leader of Stirling Council has predicted a victory for "No" in the area - greater than the 54% recorded in neighbouring Clackmannanshire.

    She said recent reports of a narrowing of the polls had had the effect of persuading undecided voters to turn out.

    Stirling recorded one of the highest proportions of electors casting their ballot: 90.1%.

     
  68.  
    02:25: Edinburgh count Laura Bicker BBC Referendum Correspondent

    This is quite a hefty count to go through so it could be 05:00 before we get the result. There are a few worried faces within the "Yes" camp.

    I have spoken to a few people here who believe it could be as much as 60% for "No" and 40% for "Yes".

     
  69.  
    @jimmurphymp 02:21: Jim Murphy

    Labour's Jim Murphy tweets: Looks like a very big win for No in our local authority of East Renfrewshire on over 90% turnout.

     
  70.  
    02:21: Argyll & Bute helicopters

    Ballot boxes for the count at Lochgilphead arrived on two helicopters. The first one arrived from Iona, Tiree, Coll and Mull. The second carried ballots from Jura, Gigha, Islay and Colonsay. See here for more updates on Argyll & Bute.

    Helicopter ballot boxes
     
  71.  
    02:20: Close in Inverclyde Sally McNair Reporter, BBC Scotland

    The turnout is 87%, which is quite phenomenal for this area. The vote is neck and neck and could come to the last vote here.

    The "Yes" campaign were more confident earlier in the evening but they are perhaps less ebullient now. They have been fighting for every vote and it appears to be very close here.

     
  72.  
    02:15: Perth & Kinross count

    There are a handful of policemen at the Perth and Kinross count in Perth to assist with the smooth running of the referendum count. See here for more updates on Perth & Kinross.

    Police in Perth
     
  73.  
    02:13: Convincing win Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    A very convincing win for "No" in Orkney - no surprise there, as it's solid Liberal Democrat country. There were two spoiled ballot papers.

     
  74.  
    02:11: North Ayrshire turnout

    Turnout was 84.4% in North Ayrshire.

     
  75.  
    02:11: 100-year-old voter Laura Maxwell, BBC Scotland

    Edinburgh's chief counting officer Sue Bruce says one woman who voted in person today was celebrating her 100th birthday. Ms Bruce described it as "a wonderful demonstration of the voter's commitment to democracy".

     
  76.  
    02:10: 'Remarkable' turnout Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    The high voter turnout is becoming one of the stories of the evening so far at the Ingliston central count.

    Lib Dem peer Lord Wallace says the 83% turnout in his former Orkney constituency is "remarkable", given turnout at elections there never really got above about 67%.

     
  77.  
    02:09: Scottish Borders turnout Morag Kinniburgh, BBC Scotland News

    Scottish Borders turnout is 87.4%.

     
  78.  
    02:08: Orkney analysis John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    This is probably one of the toughest council areas for the "Yes" side thus we should not be surprised if the council reports a very substantial "No" lead here.

    This is exactly what has transpired with "Yes" winning less than a third of the vote. We should probably avoid reading too much into this given the count of the area.

     
  79.  
    02:07: Falkirk count Fiona Walker BBC Scotland

    Both sides say it's neck and neck in Falkirk. Both still smiling...

     
  80.  
    02:07: Dumfries turnout

    Turnout in Dumfries and Galloway was 87.5%.

     
  81.  
    02:04: 'Utter cynicism'

    Conservative peer and former Scotland Secretary Lord Forsyth tells the BBC: "The political class really ought to take a lesson from this referendum campaign because the one thing that came over on the doorsteps was utter cynicism about the political class."

     
  82.  
    02:04: ORKNEY RESULT

    "No" wins by 10,004 to 4,883, or 67% to 33%.

    There was a turnout of 83.7%

     
  83.  
    02:02: East Dunbartonshire John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    Another middle class area that commonly has a relatively high turnout has again repeated past patterns by emerging with no less than a 91% turnout. This is the highest turnout so far.

     
  84.  
    02:01: Eilean Siar count Catriona Maclennan BBC Scotland

    Counting of the ballot papers from the Southern Isles now in full swing. Updated estimated time of declaration for the Western Isles is now 02:30. See here for more updates on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

    Southern Isles
     
  85.  
    02:01: Turnout analysis John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    So far the differences between councils in their level of turnout is very similar to that which was evident in the May European elections.

    Thus, although the turnout is typically more than 50 points up on the turnout in May, it looks as though the places with a relatively high turnout in this referendum are going to be the same kinds of places that usually have a relatively high turnout.

    This casts doubt on claims that the "Yes" side has been successful in mobilising voters who do not normally come to the polls.

     
  86.  
    02:00: It's big

    Turnout for this trip to the ballot box has been huge - from Glasgow at 75% to East Dunbartonshire at 91%, and East Renfrewshire and Stirling at more than 90%.

    This most certainly defies the trend of recent years. Study the figures in this picture.

    Datapic on turnout
     
  87.  
    01:59: Perth and Kinross turnout Suzanne Allan, BBC Scotland News

    The turnout for Perth and Kinross is 86.9% - 104,285 votes cast.

     
  88.  
    01:57: Falkirk turnout

    Falkirk turnout is 88.7%.

     
  89.  
    01:57: More turnout figures Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    More turnout figures for you. West Lothian: 119,115 votes (86.2% turnout) Midlothian: 60,396 votes (86.8% turnout) Shetland: 15,635 votes (84.4% turnout) and Angus: 80,300 votes (85.7% turnout).

     
  90.  
    01:56: City turnout lower John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    Aberdeen has reported a turnout of 82%. This is the third Scottish city to report a lower turnout than much of more rural and suburban Scotland.

     
  91.  
    01:56: East Dunbartonshire turnout Sharyn Fleming

    The East Dunbartonshire turnout figure has been confirmed at 91%, with 79,011 votes cast.

     
  92.  
    01:56: Alex Salmond clarification

    BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson: Aides to @AlexSalmond insist that he has not cancelled appearance at his count. They say he was not going in the first place

     
  93.  
    01:55: South Lanarkshire turnout Catriona Renton, BBC Scotland News

    South Lanarkshire turnout is 85.3%, with 22,2937 votes cast.

     
  94.  
    01:55: Shetland turnout Daniel Lawson, BBC Scotland News

    Shetland turnout is confirmed as 84.4%, with 15,635 votes cast.

     
  95.  
    01:54: Glasgow's lower turnout John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    At 75% the turnout in Glasgow is markedly lower than elsewhere and appears to be fitting in a pattern whereby the turnout in Scotland's cities is lower than the rest of Scotland. Given the "Yes" side's hopes of doing well in the city this will come as a disappointment to them.

     
  96.  
    01:53: Glasgow turnout Gillian Sharpe, BBC Scotland News

    The Glasgow turnout is 75%.

     
  97.  
    01:53: West Lothian No? Alexandra MacKenzie BBC News

    We are hearing early and unofficial talk from the "Yes" camp that they have lost the count in West Lothian. They are telling us it is 45% for Yes.

     
  98.  
    01:51: Get involved

    There have been nearly 94,000 tweets about the referendum sent between midnight and 01:00, down 18% on the previous hour.

    Many of the top tweets were about allegations of electoral fraud in Glasgow and some were about the electoral turnout in places such as Orkney.

    The most shared tweet came from Sky News over the alleged electoral fraud which was retweeted 1,246 times.

    The most influential account in the last hour was that of Scottish entrepreneur Michelle Mone who tweeted asking who was staying up all night.

    You can join the conversation via the #indyref hashtag, tweet @BBCPolitics or go to the BBC News Facebook pageg

     
  99.  
    01:50: South Ayrshire turnout Alasdair Lamont, BBC Scotland News

    South Ayrshire turnout is 86.1%, with 81,716 votes cast.

     
  100.  
    01:49: South Lanarkshire count Catriona Renton BBC Scotland

    TV turned off in foyer after noisy reaction to Clackmannanshire declaration.

     

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