Scottish independence referendum: Experts examine the claims

With the debate on Scotland's future entering "referendum year", the "yes" and "no" sides are intensifying their campaigns.

But what are their messages and how are they being viewed, not only by each other, but by experts, commentators and academics?

Throughout the coming months, the BBC news website will be picking out statements from both sides of the debate and asking a panel of experts to analyse the claims.

Here, we look at some of the key messages in the UK government's series of papers arguing for the Union.


UK government paper on Currency and Monetary Policy: "Scotland and the rest of the UK are economically well placed in the current UK arrangements. Independence would change this assessment, even if an independent Scotland were to remain part of a sterling currency zone. Fiscal independence would make the monetary policy of the Bank of England less well suited to Scottish economic conditions."

PRO-UNION: Better Together leader and former UK chancellor Alistair Darling, says: "A currency union can only work if you have increased economic and political union - the very thing that nationalism is dead against."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: John Swinney, Scottish finance secretary, says: "The benefits of a currency union are clear for both sides in terms of issues like promoting investment, eliminating transaction costs, reducing borrowing costs and facilitating the movement of labour and capital, and we welcome the governor's recognition of these benefits."

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Angus Robertson

In a formal currency union the Bank of England would continue to deliver a single overall monetary policy”

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EXPERT - Angus Armstrong, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, says: "If Scotland becomes independent then the economies of Scotland and the rest of the UK are likely to diverge: for one thing, Scotland would become a large oil exporting nation and the rest of the UK would continue as an oil importer.

"In a formal currency union the Bank of England would continue to deliver a single overall monetary policy.

"Given that the rest of the UK would be ten times the size of Scotland, under any reasonable voting arrangement it is fairly clear to see in whose interests policy would be set. If an independent Scotland had its own currency there would be scope for setting its own policy."

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City of London

UK government paper on Business and Microeconomic Framework: "Splitting the UK market, by introducing a border of whatever form, will introduce a barrier to the free flow of goods, capital and labour to the detriment of firms, workers and consumers in both states and risks making it more challenging to attract overseas investors."

PRO-UNION: UK Business Secretary Vince Cable, says: "Breaking up Scotland's most lucrative market would destabilise enterprise and potentially put growth and jobs at risk. My message to the Scottish business community is that we're stronger and more secure together."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE - Fergus Ewing, Scottish Enterprise Minister, says: "There is so much scaremongering going on that people are shutting off. We want businesses to succeed - we want regulation that is appropriate and not cumbersome."

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David Gibbons-Wood

Predicting the winners and losers is not easy, but change would occur as Scotland, and the rest of the UK, became less integrated”

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EXPERT - David Gibbons-Wood, Robert Gordon University,says: "The UK is one of the most highly integrated economic unions in the world and the establishment of a border between Scotland and the rest of the UK could be criticised using basic economic theory.

"Splitting such an integrated market is generally perceived to be against the interest of consumers and against the economic consensus of the last 60 years. A set of border controls post yes is in neither sides interests, and no one is currently proposing a border in the sense of checkpoints.

"A border need not be physical, it could be based on differing regulations, differing income tax or more stringent labour laws. Any of these factors could create a differential between prices paid by someone in Newcastle relative to someone in Glasgow. Predicting the winners and losers is not easy, but change would occur as Scotland, and the rest of the UK, became less integrated. The first small signs of differing prices would come in the increase of postage costs from mail order companies or eBay traders based in England. Similarly, the existence of separate countries might make people view working north or south of the border as no longer viable. This may exacerbate skills shortages as labour markets become fragmented, but it depends upon the perceptions people have if there is a yes vote rather than any actual barriers.

"Border differences between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK, will be similar to those between Denmark and Germany if both nations remain part of the EU. A vote by the people of the rest of UK to leave the EU would make the debate about borders a central issue to Scotland's future economic wellbeing and connectivity. The danger for Scotland is that a democratically separate 'rest of the UK' outwith the EU might have very different policies on immigration and trade, resulting in significant border restrictions."

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RBS logo

UK government paper on Financial Services and Banking: "As part of the UK, firms and individuals benefit from a world-leading financial services sector and a large, integrated domestic market for financial services, with clear and effective arrangements for protecting consumers. This position would be put at risk if Scotland were to become independent."

PRO-UNION: Former Scottish secretary Michael Moore, says: "If you put a border in the middle of that market, if you introduce different tax and regulatory regimes, it's wishful thinking to think it's not going to have any effect on the range of products you and I can buy to protect our families and our futures."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Deputy Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, says: "We see other small European countries that, right now, have mortgage rates lower than people get here in Scotland and it is also the case that increasingly we are looking at global action, European wide and and global-wide action, to make sure that we never experience again what the banking sector experienced some years ago."

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Piotr Jaworski

The clarity of arrangements for protecting consumers should not be very different than the one which governs the UK market now”

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EXPERT - Piotr Jaworski, Edinburgh Napier University, says: "If Scotland becomes independent with its own separate financial services sector, the clarity of arrangements for protecting consumers should not be very different than the one which governs the UK market now. Assuming that Scotland will be aiming at the membership of the European Union such arrangements must be in line with the EU system, which does not leave much space for differentiations among the Member States or Candidate Countries.

"However, effectiveness of such arrangements depends on the size of the market behind it, which in the case of an independent Scotland will be much smaller. This is especially true in the case of administrative costs of such a system: it seems that on average they must be higher. On the other hand, leaving such costs aside and assuming that Scotland will aim at small and medium size banking serving mainly the domestic economy it should not matter too much. All of this is also true in the long term while as in the short term uncertainty, which must be attributed to the process of creating such a system, would adversely affect both efficiency and clarity."

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UK government paper Science and Research: "The UK is ranked second only to the US in terms of world-class research, and the UK's share of the world's top 1% most cited publications is on an upward trend. If Scotland were to become independent, its continued success in these areas could not be guaranteed."

PRO-UNION: UK Universities Minister David Willetts, says: "British science across the UK is great. Edinburgh science is great, Glasgow science is great, all the other ones are as well. If the best you can say is you would strain every sinew to try to keep the same thing as you had pre-independence then the game hardly seems worth the effort - why not just stick with what you have got, which everyone says is working?"

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell, says: "We have more world-class universities per head of population than any other country and it is precisely because of that global excellence that in an independent Scotland will continue to attract valuable investment, research funding and students from around the globe."

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Roger Cook

While the government paper is accurate to note that the relative apportionment to Scotland (roughly 10%) is higher than Scotland's share of GDP it should be noted that Scottish universities are much less dependent on this source of income than their English equivalents”

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EXPERT - Roger Cook, The Scotland Institute,says: "There is practically no evidence for this claim which really is little but an assertion. The bulk of research funding received by Scotland's universities is allocated by a fully devolved process as of now.

"To make sense of the government claim, first the ratio of non-Funding Council research income to total research income needs to be calculated. This means breaking the research funding down into the difference between that received from the relevant funding council and the amount of research funding received from all other sources (research councils, charities, industry etc).

"The existing research councils are constituted on a UK basis. They allocated £298m to Scotland and £2,977m to England for 2011/12. In other words, while the government paper is accurate to note that the relative apportionment to Scotland (roughly 10%) is higher than Scotland's share of GDP it should be noted that Scottish universities are much less dependent on this source of income than their English equivalents.

"There is no evidence that the SFC is planning to reduce the core research grants to Scottish universities. In the case of independence, it is possible that the current UK wide Research Council system would cease, it is equally possible that a joint system could be created. Even if all the current funding was lost from the Scottish sector, total research income per member of staff would remain above that in the rUK

"There is no reason to believe that the charitable sector funding for research in Scotland would be affected by independence. The government paper makes a series of strange claims, such as loss of NHS funded research, which takes no account of the reality that most NHS funded research in Scotland comes from the Scottish NHS; loss of EU funding for research, or of the loss of international networks when many academics work outside their country of origin already.

"The only valid claim in the paper is the loss of access to Research Council grants (depending on the post-independence arrangements). As noted this funding stream is less important for Scottish universities."

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UK government paper on Security: "Police Scotland would lose automatic access to the capabilities and resources of MI5, SIS and GCHQ and the UK's wider intelligence analysis capabilities. An independent Scottish state would have to build up its own infrastructure because new capabilities would be required."

PRO-UNION: UK Home Secretary Theresa May, says: "I don't think it is possible to guarantee that the threat would diminish with a separate Scotland, but what would change would be the scale of capability that Scotland would have access to."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, says: "An independent Scotland will have first rate security arrangements to counter any threats we may face. And we will continue to work in very close collaboration with the rest of the UK and international partners on security and intelligence matters, which is in everyone's interests."

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Bill Buchanan

No matter which way it goes, every nation, every region, every city and every organisation needs to understand where its key risks are around its infrastructure, and try to mitigate against these”

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EXPERT - Bill Buchanan, Edinburgh Napier Universitysays: "Scotland is a small nation, and, in an independent Scotland, it is likely to have a different threat profile than the UK generally. For us, the focus is likely to be in the protection of our key business sectors, such as oil and gas, the finance sector, education, and health and social care. It is most likely that our defences will focus on protecting citizen rights against threats, while trying to enable increased access to data, and providing citizens with more control over it. Through increased devolution, Scotland has made major strides towards this, in a way which the UK has tended to struggled with.

"No matter what happens, the nation is becoming increasingly dependent on its cyber infrastructure. This is highlighted by certain key internet routes from Scotland to the rest of the world. Any problems with these routes would have a major impact on both businesses and the public sector.

"Scotland mainly depends on its internet and wireless communication infrastructure on route that go through London. Any issues around power outages in London could cause significant problems in Scotland. No matter which way the vote goes, Scotland needs to understand its critical infrastructure and the routes for the provision of energy and internet connectivity.

"In conclusion, the ball has been rolling for a more developed information infrastructure in Scotland, and nothing should stop this. While the nation may lose out on the connections to the larger UK intelligence network, it could gain from a connection to a large international one. No matter which way it goes, every nation, every region, every city and every organisation needs to understand where its key risks are around its infrastructure, and try to mitigate against these.

"At present Scotland has an under-investment in its cyber defence, and no matter which way the country votes, there needs to be more funding around this by the Scottish government."

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Shipyards on Clyde

UK government paper on Defence: "Companies based in an independent Scottish state would no longer be eligible for contracts that the UK chose to place or compete domestically for national security reasons; and where they could continue to compete they would be pitching for business in a competitive international market dominated by major economic powers. Other than procurement activity undertaken during the World Wars, the UK has not had a complex warship built outside the UK since the start of the 20th century at least."

PRO-UNION: UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, says: "The debate on the future of defence in Scotland is too important to be ignored, or brushed under the carpet, or fobbed off with half-baked sound bite policies which are financially and strategically incoherent."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Scottish government minister Keith Brown, says: "We would increase the number of defence jobs in Scotland, from around 11,000 to 15,000 and we believe that's the optimum number for the kind of things which we want to see a defence force in Scotland carry out - not illegal wars."

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Phillips O'Brien

The final point that needs to be made about independence and shipbuilding is that if the union breaks up, the future of all future shipbuilding plans will come under review”

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EXPERT - Phillips O'Brien, University of Glasgow, says: "The real problem that an independent Scotland would have in securing warship building from the rest of the UK (rUK) is political. States overwhelmingly choose to build their warships in their own shipyards, even if the cost is considerably higher than that offered by outside companies. For many years the UK has shown a willingness to pay this domestic premium, only opting for outside construction - most famously in the case of the next generation of military fuel tankers now being built in Korea - when there was no British yard capable of doing the work.

"That being said, the recent decision to concentrate the shipbuilding of the new Type 26 frigates on the Clyde, while reducing the capabilities of Portsmouth, means that it is almost certain that Scotland would be able to build the new class of vessel at lower cost than anywhere in the rUK. It is therefore not inconceivable for an independent Scotland to secure some work building these vessels. However, to get the work, one assumes that an independent Scotland would have to place orders for the purchase of military equipment from the rUK for approximately the same amount. In other words, it is very difficult to imagine that the rUK, after Scotland decided to leave the Union, would then turn around and spend much money employing Scots, unless it received money for orders in return.

"The final point that needs to be made about independence and shipbuilding is that if the union breaks up, the future of all future shipbuilding plans will come under review. Right now the UK is still trying to maintain enough military force to justify its position as a global power with a seat on the UN Security Council. A diminished rUK, however, could opt for a much reduced global role with reduced capability. In that case, there simply might not be many ships built anywhere."

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European Union
EU flag

UK government paper on EU and International Issues: "Scotland will receive €228 million more in structural funds than if it were an independent state. On the Common Agricultural Policy, an independent Scottish state's receipts are uncertain and would depend on the terms of accession, which would have to be agreed by all 28 member states."

PRO-UNION: Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, says: "The bottom line is this - Scotland outside of the UK would have to negotiate its own way back into the European Union, and as such its terms of membership would be entirely different to those we currently enjoy."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Deputy Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, says: "Nothing we propose changes the material conditions of any other member state - while they are so certain of complete success in their own ill-advised re-negotiations with the EU over proposals that will fundamentally change the provisions of treaties on which the entire EU, and its single market, rests."

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Kirsteen Shields

Of greater significance is what lies beyond 2020”

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Expert - Kirsteen Shields, University of Dundee, says: "Expense to other member states in increasing CAP receipts to an independent Scotland may in time be offset by reduction in CAP receipts to the UK. Member States would likely be motivated to ensure that it would remain viable for Scotland to remain in the EU.

"The budget ceiling at issue relates to a six-year period only. Of greater significance is what lies beyond 2020. In that respect it is important to consider the budgetary implications for Scotland were it to remain in a UK which is severed from the EU or whether, in the long-term, it may be more advantageous for Scotland to be in the EU than in the UK."

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Fiscal policy
Bank of England building

UK government paper on Macroeconomic and Fiscal Performance: "A separate Scottish state would have to establish its own macroeconomic and institutional framework. Institutional and policy divergence between Scotland and the continuing UK would be likely to lead to a weakening of economic integration. And over the longer-term, some business networks might end as a result of economic, historical and cultural ties being weakened.

PRO-UNION: UK chancellor George Osborne, says:"Let's lay to rest some myths once and for all - independent countries of a similar size do not outperform Scotland."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Deputy Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says: "If you were sitting in Norway listening to George Osborne you would laugh at him, because they are a country of similar size to Scotland that is sitting right now on a £470bn oil fund for the future."

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David Ulph

A separate Scottish state might choose to mimic some of the institutional framework in the rest of the UK (rUK) - e.g., competition framework - or pursue a very different competition policy”

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EXPERT - David Ulph, from the Social Institute for Research in Economics, says: "While it is true that a Scottish state would have to develop its own macroeconomic and institutional framework, what this statement seems to ignore is that Scotland already has a very different institutional framework from rest of UK - different legal system, education system, health system etc.

"A separate Scottish state might choose to mimic some of the institutional framework in the rest of the UK (rUK) - eg, competition framework - or pursue a very different competition policy. There is nothing inevitable about a widening divergence, this is to some extent a matter of policy choice.

"Almost by definition it is certainly true that the creation of a separate Scottish state would bring to an end the devolution of powers from UK to Scotland. But that doesn't mean that all devolution would end. There are interesting questions about devolution of powers within the rest of the UK, and devolution of tax and spending powers within Scotland to local authorities.

"While true that sharing of fiscal risks would be reduced there is nothing inevitable about not being able to coordinate policies and share costs. Note: Airbus provides example of coordination and sharing of costs across national boundaries.

"Finally, for reasons set out above, I don't think there is a lot one can learn from the literature of trade, labour and capital flows. Given the existing institutional divergences, are Scotland and the rest of the UK best thought of as two regions of a single country or as two otherwise similar regions in different countries?

"But one important point is that it is essential to distinguish trade flows from capital and labour flows. It makes a great deal of difference whether some goods or services are produced in rest of UK using capital and labour in rest of UK and then exported into Scotland, or whether there are flows of labour and capital into Scotland to facilitate local production to serve the domestic market. Institutional and other barriers may limit trade flows but encourage flows of labour and capital."

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    Sean Kennedy in action for Edinburgh

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    Paul Murray

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    Galloway Dark Sky Park

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    John Gilligan, Paul Murray and Dave King following the Rangers EGM at Ibrox

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    David Booth

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    Murray, King, Gilligan
    15:22: Coach required, not manager

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    15:20: Delisting?

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    15:18: Investment

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    15:17: Promotion challenge

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    Dave King

    "Hopefully they can get across the line. In year two, with improved cash flow they will have a squad that can take them up."

    15:14: What about Ally?

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    Ally McCoist
    15:12: Sports Direct contracts

    "It is important that we look closely at these given the concerns that have been raised," adds King.

    15:11: 'Here to stay'

    King: "If I'm deemed not to be fit and proper than I will remain a supporter and investor and stay involved from the sidelines."

    15:10: 'Strong mandate'

    Murray describes the 85% vote across the board as a "pretty strong mandate".

    Paul Murray
    15:07: New Nomad

    "Now that the meeting is over we can formally engage with the new Nomad [nominated stockmarket advisor]," says King. "My indication from the Nomad is that if I confirm that we were successful then they will start formally engaging on Monday and the process can take four weeks."

    15:05: 'Value system'

    King says: "There was a great danger that if this thing continued that there could have been a lost generation of Rangers fans. We want to take Rangers back to where it was. We want to restore the value system at the club."

    15:04: 'We'll take our time'

    New director Paul Murray says one of the main priorities is simply to stabilise things.

    "We'll go to Murray Park [the training ground] to talk to the staff," he says. "They need reassurance. We're going to take our time and do the right thing."

    15:02: 'Broken' Rangers

    King tells reporters Rangers is broken in many areas - pretty much everything has to be looked at. Information gathering has to be part of our immediate priority, he adds.

    Dave King
    14:59: Dave King speaks

    The news conference at Ibrox is now under way.

    14:51: Rangers First reaction

    Fans group Rangers First spokesman Ricki Neill said: "Rangers First members voted in favour of Dave King's general meeting resolutions so we are delighted with the confirmation there is a change at boardroom level at last.

    "Our club has been abused by those only interested in themselves for long enough and the rehabilitation of Rangers begins today with the appointments of Dave King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan.

    "The Rangers supporters have voiced their discontent at the way the club has been run in recent years but we are confident the new board will treat the club and supporters with the respect they deserve after years of being taken for granted."

    14:45: Fit and proper person challenge

    King's plan is for Paul Murray to act as interim chairman while he satisfies the Scottish Football Association and financial regulators that he is a fit and proper person to run the club.

    His previous directorship with Rangers and his troubles with South African tax authorities represent challenges he must overcome if he is to be in charge at Ibrox.

    14:43: New appointment Chris McLaughlin BBC Sport

    Douglas Park also appointed to the board

    14:39: 'Turning point' Andy Campbell BBC Sport Scotland

    Speaking to supporters outside Ibrox, King said: "We've come a long road and the Rangers fans have suffered for too long now. What happened today is something that couldn't be understated. This is a turning point in the future of the football club.

    "It's a long road but it's a clear road. We want to work with the fans. We'll look to get fan representation on the board."

    14:37: Meet the new team

    The new men in control at #Rangers

    14:36: £20m for starters

    Dave King, speaking to reporters at Glasgow Airport last night, estimated that it would take £20m over the next two years to lift Rangers to second spot in the Scottish game. He also acknowledged that the club is in many ways broken and that it will take a long time to compete again with Celtic.

    14:32: Watch live

    Don't forget, you can watch a live stream of the Rangers press conference, which is due to start soon, by clicking on the link at the top of the full live page or clicking here.

    14:19: Four years for culpable homicide Ken Banks BBC Scotland North East reporter

    A teenager has been sentenced to four years in custody for culpable homicide after the death of a man in Buckie.

    Crime scene

    Reece Munro, 19, was convicted after 66-year-old James Robson was attacked in 2012 and died almost a year later.

    Munro's stepfather Garry Munro was previously jailed for life for the murder of Mr Robson. Both men had previously been jailed for attempted murder in the case.

    Reece Munro was sentenced at the High Court in Livingston.

    14:14: 'Applause for King' Jonathan Sutherland BBC Scotland

    Spontaneous applause and cheering from the assembled Rangers fans at the news Dave King has won control of the club. @BBCSportScot

    14:10: Mary Barbour statue fund

    A fund is being launched to erect a statue of a Govan woman widely regarded as one of the most important social reformers of the last century.

    Mary Barbour Mary Barbour was elected as Glasgow's first female Labour councillor in 1920

    Mary Barbour led the Glasgow rent strikes of 1915, forcing a change in the law with the introduction of the Rent Restrictions Act.

    She later became the city's first female Labour councillor, baillie and magistrate.

    Sir Alex Ferguson has already pledged £5,000 towards the memorial campaign.

    14:08: EGM votes Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    84%/85% of votes cast were for each of the resolutions. Llambias and Leach voted off, King, Murray, Gilligan voted on #rangersegm

    14:05: Changes confirmed Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    #rangersegm results. Boardroom changes confirmed. Read the stock exchange notice here.

    14:02: Rangers: King in EGM victory Chris McLaughlin BBC Sport

    #Rangers confirm Dave King's EGM resolutions have been passed. The old board has been voted off.

    14:00: Funds approved for castle tower Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    Funding of £100,000 has been approved for a project to turn Inverness Castle's North Tower and its look-out into a new tourist attraction.

    Inverness Castle

    The money has been allocated from the Inverness Common Good Fund.

    Highland Council has set aside £200,000 and Highlands and Islands Enterprise could provide £60,000 to the £360,000 project.

    The rest of the 19th Century building would continue to be used as a sheriff court.

    13:50: Kitten killed by banned pesticide Angie Brown BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

    An animal welfare charity is appealing for information after a kitten that was poisoned died in her owner's arms in Midlothian.


    The owner of Edgelaw Farm Livery near Gorebridge found her eight-month-old cat named Bootes fitting and unable to walk and called the Scottish SPCA.

    The toxicology results showed residues of carbofuran in Bootes' stomach contents and liver.

    Carbofuran is a highly toxic pesticide which is banned.

    13:42: Council apology over information leak

    A local authority has apologised after posting personal information online.

    Computer information

    It is understood that the data included details of redundancy payments to named Dumfries and Galloway Council staff.

    It was published in response to a Freedom of Information request asking for details of all invoices for more than £500 received and paid by the council from 2009-2013.

    The council said it had informed the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

    13:33: Rangers LATEST Jonathan Sutherland BBC Scotland

    Dave King press conference will happen at 2:30pm #RangersEGM @BBCSportScot

    13:27: Cash for women entrepreneurs

    A charity that helps women from some of Scotland's poorest communities become entrepreneurs has been awarded £200,000 from the Scottish government.

    Women from WEvolution

    WEvolution is a network of self-reliant groups of women who co-operate to develop ideas and learn new skills.

    Since the project was set up in 2013, 15 groups have established across Glasgow, Inverclyde, Edinburgh and Dundee.

    The network aims to set up a further 20 new groups across Scotland.

    13:20: Man arrested over raid on jewellers

    A 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection with an armed robbery at an Edinburgh jewellers.

    Laing the jewellers in Frederick Street Pic: Brian Innes

    The robbery took place at Laing the Jewellers in Frederick Street on Monday morning.

    The man is being held after police carried out a search of a property in Chesser Grove on Thursday.

    Officers recovered a significant quantity of heroin with a street value of about £47,000, two firearms, ammunition and a quantity of cash.

    13:13: Warning of heavy rain and flooding Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    The Met Office has issued an amber "be prepared" weather warning for Inverness and areas surrounding Loch Ness.

    Flood sign

    Persistent, heavy rain has been forecast for the area from Friday night until Sunday morning.

    It warns of the risk of flooding from burns and rivers that drain into Loch Ness in the Great Glen.

    Flood alerts have been issued for Easter Ross and the Great Glen, Skye and Lochalsh, Argyll and Bute, Wester Ross, and Caithness and Sutherland.

    The Met Office warning covers the period from 18:00 on Friday to 06:00 on Sunday.

    13:07: Weather disruption BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Strong winds are affecting the Skye, Kessock, Dornoch, Clackmannanshire and Forth Road Bridges. The Tay Bridge is closed to double deckers and has a speed limit of 30mph.

    In Dundee, an accident on the A972 Kingsway east is partially blocking the road eastbound and traffic is tailing back to Forfar Road.

    In the Borders, the A72 in Clovenfords is blocked by a lorry on fire near the Nest roundabout.

    In Edinburgh, Gorgie Road is partially blocked by an accident at the junction with Dalry Road.

    Also in Edinburgh, Main Street in Kirkliston is closed because of a fire in a shop. Police are directing traffic.

    In Stirling, Easter Cornton Road is partially blocked in each direction by an accident.

    And Calmac say ferries to and from the Western Isles and the Small Isles service from Mallaig have been cancelled because of poor weather/

    13:00: Your afternoon forecast BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    A cloudy afternoon to come for many, with outbreaks of persistent rain across north Argyll, the west Highlands, the northwest, Skye and the Western Isles.

    Across southern Scotland we may see a few spots of rain blowing in the wind but remaining largely dry.

    Eastern areas will remain predominantly dry too although some patchy rain will reach Tayside and Angus at times.

    There will be some brightness for the Berwickshire coast, brightening up to across the Grampian area.

    A drier brighter look for Orkney with outbreaks of rain for Shetland

    South westerly winds will continue to strengthen during the day reaching gale force in exposed parts of the west coast along with Shetland.

    Possible severe gales at times over the far north west with gusts of 60mph. Mild with temperatures of 10C to 12C and 9C for Shetland.

    12:52: Three charged over 'bike offences'

    Three teenage boys have been charged with motorcycle offences in Aberdeen.

    A 15 and a 17-year-old were charged over a motorcycle incident the Kingswells area on Wednesday.

    And a 16-year-old was charged after an incident with a mini-moto on the Hardgate in Aberdeen on Tuesday.

    Police Scotland said the three would be reported to the relevant authorities.

    12:45: Dog found beaten to death in canal Philip Sim Tayside and Central reporter, BBC Scotland

    An investigation has been launched after the body of a dog which had been beaten to death was found in a canal.

    Falkirk Wheel

    The Scottish SPCA was called in after British Waterways staff at the Falkirk Wheel made the discovery on Monday.

    The black and white male terrier had suffered a severely fractured skull and broken ribs and officers said it had gone through "prolonged suffering" in a "horrifically cruel and brutal attack".

    CCTV is being reviewed and officers have appealed for information.

    12:39: Former head removed from register Ken Banks BBC Scotland North East reporter

    The former head teacher of Orkney's Stromness Academy has agreed to have her name removed from the teaching register.

    Stromness Academy

    Hilda Learmonth's case was due to come before a disciplinary hearing of the General Teaching Council for Scotland next week.

    More than two-thirds of the school staff signed a letter last year over an "atmosphere of fear and oppression".

    The case has been now designated as "removal with consent".

    12:33: Climate call

    The Scottish Human Rights Commission will today tell the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that action on climate change "must put justice and equity at the heart of responses".

    Melting ice

    Commission chair, Professor Alan Miller, will deliver a statement calling for climate justice to be integrated into the UN Sustainable Development Goals and international climate negotiations due to end in Paris at the end of the year.

    12:26: Why the need for guns? Reevel Alderson BBC Scotland's social affairs correspondent

    MSPs are to be given a further opportunity to question senior police officers about the controversial policy of deploying some armed police on routine duties.

    Armed police

    It follows yesterday's meeting of Holyrood's Justice sub-committee on policing which had to be curtailed for lack of time.

    The committee heard there had been more than 1,600 occasions since October that armed officers had engaged with the public at non-firearms incidents.

    The chief constable previously told MSPs that armed response officers would only be sent to firearms incidents, or when there was a threat to life.

    12:19: Ebola nurse to appear at hearing

    The Scottish nurse who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone is to appear before regulators in Edinburgh.

    Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey

    Pauline Cafferkey is being investigated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

    The watchdog has not outlined the exact grounds for the investigation but it is thought to relate to the screening process Ms Cafferkey underwent during her journey home.

    Friday's preliminary hearing will decide if she can continue working as a nurse until the full case is heard.

    That will most likely be sometime later this year.

    12:12: Second T in the Park consultation Philip Sim Tayside and Central reporter, BBC Scotland

    A second public consultation is to be held on the plan to host the T in the Park festival at Strathallan Castle.

    Strathallan Castle

    Perth and Kinross Council has requested additional information from event organiser DF Concerts and time will be allowed for comment on that.

    An initial 28-day consultation saw 570 responses, split "fairly evenly" between supportive and opposing views.

    A spokeswoman for DF Concerts said this was "standard" procedure and welcomed the extra time for consultation.

    12:05: Grounded ship reaches harbour

    A cargo ship that ran aground in the north west Highlands has been towed to Clydeport's Great Harbour in Greenock ahead of repairs at a dry dock.

    Lysblink Seaways

    The Lysblink Seaways, which was carrying paper from Belfast to Norway, ran aground near Ardnamurchan Point last month.

    It was later refloated and anchored in Scallastle Bay in the Sound of Mull.

    The 394ft-long (120m) vessel was towed about 172 miles (277km) down the west coast.

    12:04: Moving on... Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Right, with the Rangers EGM now well and truly over, we're leaving full-on live coverage of events at Ibrox for now.

    We will, of course, keep you updated with developments throughout the day.

    11:55: The man who would be King

    Shareholders in Rangers International Football Club have voted on resolutions put forward by Dave King as he seeks to oust the current board.

    Dave King arrives to applause

    Watch King being cheered into the EGM at Ibrox Stadium.

    Email: 11:52: Tell us what you think

    David Sky: Except #GarryKing a new board do not have to continue down the road of taking a new loan from Cashley do they?

    Bob, Aberdeen: Yes the hard work certainly begins now. Let's hope Mr King lives up to his name. It's going to be hard work both on and off the field. All the best though.

    11:47: Waiting for change

    Rangers fans are waiting for news that a new board has been put in control of the club. Confirmation of the EGM results are not expected until this afternoon.

    Rangers EGM
    11:44: No sign of King Jonathan Sutherland BBC Scotland

    Stock Exchange announcement expected in next couple of hours. Might only see Dave King after that. @BBCSportScot

    11:42: Fans' views

    David Melville: How can these two Ashley puppets expect any kind of pay off? If I don't do my job properly in get sacked. Only in football do you get rewarded for failure.

    Kevan O' Neill: I think you should tell the Rangers fans that 10m loan plus another 20m adds up to 30m. King spinning already - maybe the SA judge was right about him.

    Matt: Am I being cynical, or does 'results to be announced later' mean that the board weren't voted off after all, but they won't announce that till the crowd has dispersed?

    11:40: Questions for King Jonathan Sutherland BBC Scotland

    Waiting outside Ibrox for Dave King to emerge. Hearing suggestions he may not emerge until after Stock Exchange announcement. @BBCSportScot

    11:39: When will it end? Tom English BBC Scotland

    Murray, Duffy, Whyte, Miller, Ng, Kennedy, Green, Ashley, Easdale, Easdale, Sarver, Modi. Is this the day the madness stops at Ibrox?

    11:37: Emotions run high... James Shaw BBC Radio 5 live Scotland correspondent

    An emotional moment for @SonsofStruth at today's #Rangersegm.

    Rangers EGM
    Rangers EGM - your tweets

    Garry King: #rangersegm Llambias and Leach voted off then put back on by Ashley next week as a condition of his loan? I can see that.

    Colin Mathie: Well that was short + sweet.

    John Boreland: #RangersEGM Monday is not good enough. It must be today, I don't have enough blood pressure medication let to keep me going till Monday.

    11:21: And that was that...

    After almost three years of growing calls for boardroom change at Rangers, the EGM takes less than 10 minutes to enact regime change (results later). Now for the hard work.

    11:21: Your views - Rangers

    Don Gordon: Unbelievable that Rangers supporters applaud a convicted criminal and a manager who tried his level. Best to further bankrupt the club...some people will never learn.

    Byers & Birrell: Can't believe the board haven't done the right thing and just stood down to save the club money.

    11:19: Meeting closed Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    #rangersegm Andrew Dickson closes meeting. Results to be published later.

    11:19: Number seven Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    Resolution 7: appointment of John Gilligan #rangersegm

    11:18: Six... Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    Resolution 6: appointment of Paul Murray #rangersegm

    11:18: Resolution five Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    Resolution 5: appointment of David King #rangersegm

    11:18: Rangers EGM - your views

    David Leighton: After Leach and Llambias are voted off the board, Dave King should immediately dismiss them from their respective positions, the justification being that "they have not acted in the best interests of the company". If they want to take their dismissal to an employment tribunal then so be it.

    11:15: Crunch time Alasdair Lamont BBC Scotland

    Votes for removal of Derek Llambias and Barry Leach are taken, followed by those to appoint Dave King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan.

    11:14: And another... Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    Resolution 4: removal of Barry Leach #rangersegm

    11:13: Resolution three Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    Resolution 3: removal of Derek Llambias #rangersegm

    11:13: Resolution two Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    Resolution two: removal of James Easdale. Having resigned, this won't be moved #rangersegm

    11:12: Resolutions Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    Resolution one: removal of David Somers. Having resigned, this resolution won't be moved

    11:10: Voting time approaches Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    Looks like no time is being wasted at Ibrox - they are going straight to the resolutions.

    Your tweets

    Philip Skelly: surely Dave King convicted of tax crimes in South Africa will fail fit and proper person test

    11:04: Ally McCoist arrives Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    Ally McCoist has just arrived #rangersegm to widespread applause.

    11:02: Glasgow, not London

    So, after two aborted attempts to stage the Rangers extraordinary general meeting in London hotels, it's about to begin at Ibrox Stadium - where the fans wanted it to be held all along.

    11:01: Ready to go... Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    King. Murray and Gilligan take their seat at #rangersegm

    Rangers EGM
    10:57: King cheered into EGM

    Rangers shareholders cheer Dave King as he and others take their place for the EGM.

    Dave King
    10:55: Rangers EGM - Top table set Alasdair Lamont BBC Scotland

    No gazebo today at Ibrox as the Rangers EGM is about to get under way.

    Rangers EGM


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