Scottish independence: Nicola Sturgeon says No campaign 'must set out vision'

Scotland's Future document The Scottish government unveiled its White Paper "guide to independence in November

The pro-Union campaign must set out in detail what a No vote in the independence referendum would mean for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The deputy first minister said the Scottish government had provided "a compelling case for independence" in its White Paper.

Unionists must respond with a competing vision, she added.

Better Together, which opposes independence, said the White Paper was a "wish list without a price list".

Ms Sturgeon gave a speech at the University of St Andrews in what was described as the "curtain-raiser" to the 2014 independence campaign ahead of the referendum on 18 September.

She appealed to Labour and Conservative supporters to vote Yes in the referendum, stating that the decision "transcends party politics".

What are the 'No' parties offering?

Scottish Labour - Its commission's interim report says there is a case for income tax to be devolved fully, but control of corporation tax, VAT, North Sea oil tax, benefits, pensions and alcohol and tobacco duties would remain at Westminster.

Scottish Lib Dems - Its constitutional commission argues for "fiscal federalism", where Scotland would raise and spend most of its own taxes and borrow on its own terms. The Barnett Formula would be scrapped and replaced with a new "needs-based" arrangement reflecting the fiscal changes.

Scottish Conservatives - It set up a commission which will report later in the year. The Scottish Conservatives say they want devolution "to work better for people in Scotland".

She told her audience that voters did not need to back the SNP to support independence.

Ms Sturgeon stated that anecdotal evidence suggested there was already "a pronounced movement" away from a No vote among traditional Labour supporters.

"We all want Scotland to succeed - no party has a monopoly on that ambition," she said.

"If you accept the principle that the best way of ensuring success is to give ourselves the powers that help determine it, then it doesn't matter whether or not you support the SNP or our specific plans for using those powers."

She added: "Party loyalty should not be a decisive factor in this debate.

"Indeed, I would have thought that for most Tory voters the idea of a parliament that has the power not just to spend money but also responsibility to raise it and be accountable for how it does so, would be inherently appealing."

'Risky step'

Speaking ahead of her address to members of the public, university academics and staff, Ms Sturgeon had said the Scotland's Future White Paper, which was published in November, "sets out a compelling case for independence" and gives "robust, credible and common sense answers to the legitimate questions that people have".

But to make an informed choice, people also need to know what a No vote will mean for Scotland, she said.

Ms Sturgeon added: "It is time for the No campaign to spell that out in detail to allow you to compare and contrast the competing visions for the future of Scotland and make your own minds up."

A spokesman for Better Together said: "The SNP's White Paper manifesto for breaking up the UK was nothing more than a wish list without a price list.

"Rather than facing up to the consequences of breaking up the UK, the nationalists promise us the sun would shine brighter every day if only we were independent. The idea that the White Paper was compelling is, frankly, laughable."

He added: "The SNP are the ones saying that we should take the risky step of leaving the UK, but they cannot even answer the most basic questions like what currency we would use if we go it alone.

"People understand that devolution inside the UK works for Scotland. We have the best of both worlds. Our Scottish Parliament allows us to make decisions on the areas that matter most like health, education and childcare and we get the strength and security of being part of one of the world's biggest economies.

"Why should we trade the success of devolution for the risk and uncertainty of independence?"

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