Scottish independence: Accountancy body claims there is no clear plan for pensions

Scottish banknotes ICAS has questioned whether responsibility for some state pensions lies with Scotland or the UK

Scotland's accountancy body has said there is no clear plan of how pensions would be managed if Scotland votes for independence.

Industry body ICAS said a "yes" vote in September's referendum could force "substantial" costs on employers with under-funded schemes.

It has also highlighted uncertainty over whether Scotland or the rest of the UK would pay some state pensions.

The Yes Scotland campaign has insisted pensions "will continue to be paid".

On 18 September, voters in Scotland will be asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The Scottish government has set out its proposals for the future of pensions in the paper Pensions in an Independent Scotland and in its white paper on independence.

'Key questions'

David Wood of ICAS - the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland - said: "These Scottish government papers have provided useful additional detail in relation to pension regulation and provision in an independent Scotland but some of our key questions remain unanswered.

"While we recognise that it will not be possible to answer every question prior to the referendum, nevertheless important questions remain on how legacy issues will be resolved and new arrangements will be implemented."

ICAS claims:

  • There remains no clear plan as to how the Scottish and UK governments will work with the EU to minimise the impact of the cross-border funding rules on defined benefit schemes carrying deficits, which become cross-border schemes in the event of independence.
  • The Scottish government's proposed three year transitional period for addressing pension deficits held by cross-border schemes is likely to be wholly insufficient as many UK employers currently fund scheme deficits over a much longer period.
  • There are further questions about the feasibility of an independent Scotland sharing pension protection arrangements with the UK while establishing a separate pension regulator.
  • There could questions over whether an individual's entitlement to a state pension at the date of independence would sit with an independent Scotland or with the UK. Similar issues arise in respect of entitlement to a pension from an unfunded public sector pension scheme.

Mr Wood added that ICAS had "taken a neutral stance in the independence debate".

'No change'

Yes Scotland's website says: "On independence, people living in Scotland will be entitled to the Scottish state pension based on years of national insurance credits built up in the UK.

"From that point onwards, entitlement built up in Scotland will accrue to the Scottish state pension."

Yes Scotland claims there would be no change to private pensions after independence, as "private pensions are a private matter between individuals and their pension providers".

The campaign group added: "The Scottish government plans to establish a Scottish Pensions Regulator which would support a pan-UK approach to the regulation of private pensions and an integrated financial services market."

'Damning report'

The pro-Union Better Together campaign described the ICAS report as "damning".

Speaking on behalf of Better Together, Labour MP Greg McClymont said: "ICAS are clear; there are no answers on who is responsible for your state pension, funding the multi-billion pound deficits or the future of the UK guarantee which protects Scottish savers."

Mr McClymont, who is Labour's spokesman on pensions at Westminster, continued: "The pensions system in the UK works well through the pooling of resources, where the risks are spread and the rewards shared across 60 million people.

"Why would we want to put the pensions of hard working Scots at risk?"

However, a Scottish government spokesman said: "Pensions are more affordable for Scotland than the rest of the UK, and will be fully protected and paid in an independent Scotland, and the single-tier state pension we propose will be worth more than the UK's.

"Cross-border management of pensions already takes place elsewhere in Europe as this paper acknowledges, and there is absolutely no reason why an independent Scotland would be in a different position to any other country in that respect."

The UK government said the ICAS report illustrated that "time and time again" the Scottish government had failed to provide the answers to the big questions on independence.

A spokesman for the Scotland Office added: "Despite the Scottish government's assertions that the White Paper would answer our questions on pensions, this report shows there are major unresolved issues when it comes to how cross-border schemes will work, who regulates and protects people's pensions, and where responsibility for state and public sector pensions lies.

"Scottish people deserve to know the answers."

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Scotland Decides: SCOTLAND VOTES NO

  1. No 2,001,926
  2. Yes 1,617,989
After 32 of 32 counts Results in detail

Referendum Live

  1.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 21:23: Get involved

    Carl: I am pleased with the result of the referendum but what a shame has Salmond resigned after what he has done for Scotland. I am sure the Scottish people do not want him to resign. He has done a fantastic job and should also hold his head up high on the results achieved on the referendum. He should stay and continue to be the great asset to Scotland that he is.

     
  2.  
    21:15: Salmond's 'great ability'

    Lib Dem MP Sir Menzies Campbell told BBC News: "I think there are 25% of the people in Scotland who believe in independence unequivocally.

    "Alex Salmond's great ability was to convert that 25% into nearly 50%.

    "There will always be people who believe in independence. It is a perfectly legitimate position. They won't go away. But I think most people are pretty well settled with the view that there should not be another referendum for a very long time, if ever."

     
  3.  
    21:08: George Square photos

    Pro-union protesters chant and wave Union Flags during a demonstration at George Square in Glasgow.

    Pro-union protestors chant and wave Union Flags during a demonstration at George Square in Glasgow
    Pro-union protestors chant and wave Union Flags during a demonstration at George Square in Glasgow
     
  4.  
    21:02: George Square

    Catriona MacPhee, STV journalist, tweets: Eerie scene in Queen St Station just now. Quiet & tense, with George Sq exit blocked, lined by riot police, & roar of chanting from outside.

     
  5.  
    20:57: Hannah on Prime Minister

    Actor John Hannah tonight told The One Show he would also like to see David Cameron resign.

    John Hannah

    Mr Hannah said: "It would be nice of him [David Cameron] to follow suit".

    "I think one of the things that we've learnt about this is that 97% of the electorate in Scotland voted because they weren't happy with Westminster."

     
  6.  
    20:52: George Square latest

    There are still angry scenes in George Square in the centre of Glasgow. The police are trying to contain a group of protesters, who are waving union flags and letting off flares.

    The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg said the ruckus in George Square is not a stand-off between Yes and No campaigners. "It is hoolies turning up who want a fight."

    george swuarwe
     
  7.  
    20:46:

    On a lighter, flakier note, Twitter user George Chambers posted this Alex Salmond tribute ahead of last night's results. It's what he calls "Salmond en croute".

    Salmon en croute
     
  8.  
    20:42:

    @sasflan tweets: People saying the yes campaigners are violent. I've just witnessed several saltires being burned & people being jumped. Good going Scotland

     
  9.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 20:36: Get involved

    Carl: I am pleased with the result of the referendum but what a shame has Salmond resigned after what he has done for Scotland. I am sure the Scottish people do not want him to resign. He has done a fantastic job and should also hold his head up high on the results achieved on the referendum. He should stay and continue to be the great asset to Scotland that he is.

     
  10.  
    20:32: Something to add Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Since filing my blog earlier, Alex Salmond has announced he's stepping down as SNP leader and First Minister, once a successor is elected.

    Asked about future strategy, he made clear to journalists that the "once in a generation" view was his and not a pledge which will bind his successor.

    In saying the SNP will "hold Westminster's feet to the fire" on new powers for Holyrood, he left little doubt that this form of torture could well include the prospect of another referendum.

    It came with a sting for his successor, whoever she may be - his observation that there's now a movement of 'Yessers' and other activists who are changing politics, and holding political leaders to account.

     
  11.  
    20:30: George Square Laura Kuenssberg BBC Newsnight

    To be clear, tonight's ruckus in George Sq is not a standoff btw Yes and No campaigners - it's hoolies turning up who want a fight

     
  12.  
    20:26: More powers

    Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran told BBC News there was a "deep disillusionment" with the way politics is conducted, particularly at Westminster.

    She said the proposals for devolution of powers in England would not slow down the promised change in Scotland.

    "The extra powers for the Scottish Parliament can be clearly implemented because we have been talking about them and planning them for some period now," she said.

    "The new proposals from the prime minister I don't think are thought through and he's not clear about them in the way that we are about Scotland."

     
  13.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 20:17: Your Salmond reaction

    James Adams: Whichever side of the debate people have found themselves on no one can deny the impact that Alex Salmond has had on Scottish politics. He managed to lead the SNP to a victory that broke the Holyrood system designed to stop a majority and take the country into a referendum that may well permanently change UK politics for better or worse.

    Alastair Milne: Nice of Salmond to "accept" the result, did he think he had an alternative? An arrogant egotist, won't be missed.

     
  14.  
    20:16: George Square Laura Kuenssberg Chief Correspondent

    Horrible end to day when people absorbing #indyref result but a bunch of people wanting a Friday night fight.

     
  15.  
    20:14: Glasgow leads call for change Nick Robinson Political editor

    Some will ask 'why on earth are politicians talking about constitutional change on the very day the Scottish people rejected independence?'

    The answer is clear and it is here in Glasgow. The people of this great city voted by a majority to leave the UK. The anger they feel at the way Westminster currently runs things is felt up and down what remains our United Kingdom.

     
  16.  
    20:08: Onto the streets

    The Guardian's Libby Brooks: Police doing a great job as Britannia-chanting crowds spill onto streets

    Libby Brook's pic aftermath of George Square
     
  17.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 19:55: Your views

    Chris in London: Can we now have a national debate about the issues raised during this campaign? How about a referendum for all UK citizens on the abolishment of Trident and the setting up of an oil wealth fund that would benefit all the citizens in the UK?

     
  18.  
    19:52: Worldwide reaction

    Reuters US News tweets: 1 in 4 Americans open to secession in urge to cut ties with Washington.

     
  19.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 19:47: Get involved

    Stewart Miles: Well done Scotland. You have moved British politics which thankfully will never be the same again. The English regions have regional authorities and Wales and N& Ire will have have more powers.

     
  20.  
    19:43: Yes city

    Actor Brian Cox, who is from Dundee, said it is the "Yes city of Scotland".

    "We are all very proud of that," he said

     
  21.  
    19:41: 'Head and shoulders above the rest'

    Scottish actor Brian Cox, who has been campaigning for a "Yes" vote, told BBC News that Alex Salmond was "head and shoulders above any other political leader in these islands".

    He said: "I was not always a fan but I certainly am now. I have watched him grown and be such a statesman as a result of this."

    Brian cox

    Mr Cox said he thought Alex Salmond would be "at the negotiating table" on the future of Scotland even if he is no longer first minister.

    He said: "He'll want to see that we don't get a bad deal. If you think about it, being leader and being head of negotiations on this so-called vow would be a difficult two jobs to do."

     
  22.  
    19:33: Dundee rally

    "Yes" campaigners in Dundee held a final rally today in the city. Dundee voted "Yes" to independence in yesterday's referendum, by the highest margin of any local authority in Scotland.

    Yes rally in Dundee
     
  23.  
    19:33: More on George Square

    A Police Scotland spokeswoman has said that there are approximately 100 people from each side in George Square in Glasgow.

    There has been some minor disorder which has been dealt with quickly, with no arrests.

    The square is closed to traffic with local diversions in place.

     
  24.  
    19:23: George Square latest Cameron Buttle BBC Scotland

    It is very tense in the square. It has calmed down a bit but is still very tense.

    Both sides have been throwing things, the police are in the middle trying to keep both sides apart.

    One side is singing Flower of Scotland and the other is singing Rule Britannia.

     
  25.  
    19:22: Telegraph 'barred'

    The Telegraph has published a video on their website which allegedly shows their reporter Ben Riley-Smith being "barred" from entering Alex Salmond's resignation press conference.

     
  26.  
    @BBCScotlandnews 19:06: Your views

    @s_ditchfield tweets: Glasgow feels very different tonight to the Glasgow of few months ago at commonwealth games #Glasgow2014 #whatashame

     
  27.  
    19:05: 'Extremely disappointing'

    Speaking on the George Square trouble, Lib Dem MP Sir Menzies Campbell said: "For people like me who are committed to the democratic process and who have valued the way in which this campaign has been conducted until now, it is extremely disappointing.

    "I hope that police will be able to make calm heads prevail and people will go home. The best possible thing would be a heavy shower in George Square. That is often a way of dispersing people who are ready to make trouble."

     
  28.  
    19:04: Weirs 'saddened' at Salmond resignation

    Chris and Colin Weir, the multi-millionaire lottery winners who helped bankroll the "Yes" campaign, said: "Whilst saddened at his decision, Alex Salmond has nothing to reproach himself for.

    weirs

    "He has energised our nation, not just in this campaign, but in all his years of service to Scotland. He has articulated the aspirations of a nation not just as a party leader but as Scotland's most successful first minister ever.

    "We wish him well and thank him for his part in making Scotland the confident, forward looking country it is today."

     
  29.  
    @BBCScotlandnews 19:01: Get involved

    @ScottWWright tweets: Horrible atmosphere building in Glasgow city centre as hardline side of Union "celebrates". Why oh why must it be like this? #infyref

     
  30.  
    18:59: Leaders condemn scenes

    The leaders of Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conservatives have condemned the scenes in Glasgow's George Square.

    Speaking to the BBC's Reporting Scotland, Ms Lamont said she hoped order was restored "as soon as possible" while Ms Davidson said: "We don't want to be seeing scenes like that on our streets."

     
  31.  
    18:59: Glasgow votes 'Yes'

    Yes campaigners and Loyalists who supported the Union have gathered in opposing protests in George Square in Glasgow, and it's fair to say the atmosphere is tense.

    Glasgow was one of four local authorities in Scotland to vote in favour of independence in yesterday's referendum.

    The others were Dundee, North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.

     
  32.  
    18:55: Salmond tweet

    First Minister Alex Salmond tweets: Heading home to Strichen. With love and thanks from Moira and I for all your kind messages of support.

    Alex and Moira Salmond
     
  33.  
    18:52: Salmond's second resignation

    This is the second time First Minister Alex Salmond has decided to stand down as SNP leader.

    Alex Salmond

    He first won the leadership of the party in 1990 before stepping down in 2000. Scotland's now Finance Minister John Swinney then took charge before Mr Salmond assumed office again in 2004.

     
  34.  
    18:51: More on George Square Cameron Buttle BBC Scotland

    The Loyalists have signs saying "Scotland is British". I see a flag that says Springburn/Derry Union up on the railings.

    Another flag says "Scotland is British, No surrender". There is lots of shouting of "this is our country".

     
  35.  
    18:50: Swinney 'respects' Salmond decision

    Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney tells the BBC's Reporting Scotland that he respects Alex Salmond's decision to stand down.

    He repeats Mr Salmond's view that the referendum is a "once in a generation opportunity" and says the SNP "will work make sure that the commitments made in the referendum" by the UK parties about more powers are kept.

    "These have to be delivered and they have to be delivered within the timescale," he adds.

     
  36.  
    18:48: George Square latest Cameron Buttle BBC Scotland

    There is definitely evidence of riot-trained police officers now coming in.

    The trouble started very quickly with the charge from the Loyalist side. We believe it was a coordinated charge. It came from different parts of the square and different angles.

    You could see flares going off in different directions. You could see people running in and they had concealed Union flags within their coats and jackets which they pulled out.

     
  37.  
    18:45: 'Atmosphere changed' Cameron Buttle BBC Scotland

    I have been in George Square all day. It has ebbed and flowed, the crowd occasionally unpleasant, but about 20 minutes ago the atmosphere changed very noticeably.

    What I would describe as a Loyalist crowd turned up with lots of Union flags. All day the Saltire has been in evidence.

    There was a rush from the Loyalist side. Flares went up, the police came in, it all got very nasty for a while. the police have separated the crowds on either side of the square now.

     
  38.  
    @BBCScotlandnews 18:37: Get involved

    @Scanwich tweets: the only thing that's made me feel guilty for voting no is @AlexSalmond resigning #indyref #whatnow

     
  39.  
    18:35: Flares in the square

    Protesters have let off flares at the gathering in Glasgow's George Square.

    geirge square
     
  40.  
    18:33: Firecrackers in George Square

    Both campaigns are chanting slogans in George Square in Glasgow. A few firecrackers have been set off by both sides. Police are present and are trying to keep protesters separated.

    george square
     
  41.  
    18:32: More from George Square

    Here's another picture of the events at George Square.

    geroge
     
  42.  
    18:31: George Square protest

    This is the scene in Glasgow's George Square right now.

    Crowds of "No" supporters and "Yes" supporters are being kept apart by police.

    george square
     
  43.  
    18:30: 'Changed political landscape'

    Mr Swinney said Alex Salmond had changed the political landscape.

    He added: "The challenge for the next SNP leader and first minister will be to put the Westminster parties under pressure to deliver against the commitments that they made during the referendum campaign."

     
  44.  
    18:26: Swinney's 'deep appreciation'

    John Swinney said he wanted to make clear his "deep and profound appreciation" for what Alex Salmond did to get the party and the Yes movement to "this point".

    Mr Swinney said: "He took us into government in 2007 when all the pundits said we couldn't do it. He won a majority in 2011 when absolutely every commentator said it was an impossibility and then he delivered an independence referendum which commanded 1.6 million votes for independence yesterday.

    "Alex has earned the right to decide at what moment he wanted to stand down."

     
  45.  
    18:23: Rennie on Salmond

    The Sunday Herald's Scottish Political Editor Tom Gordon: Pretty brutal farewell statement from @willie_rennie on Salmond: "He has exhausted his political purpose."

     
  46.  
    18:22: Salmond's 'astonishing gains'

    Finance Secretary John Swinney told BBC Scotland that Alex Salmond had delivered "astonishing gains" for the SNP and "astonishing improvements" for Scotland.

    Mr Swinney, who was leader of the SNP before Mr Salmond, said: "I think that culminated in creating the opportunity for the people of Scotland to have the most engaged democratic decision we could have had about our future in the referendum yesterday, in which 85% of the public that were eligible to vote, participated. That was a great triumph for democracy and it was brought about by Alex Salmond."

     
  47.  
    18:15: Firm favourite

    Bookmakers have already priced Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as the odds-on favourite to become the next SNP leader.

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Ladbrokes have Ms Sturgeon at 1/4, with Humza Yousaf next in line at 8/1. Alex Neil, Derek Mackay and Mike Russell follow at 10/1, with John Swinney priced at 16/1.

    William Hill is also offering odds - they price Ms Sturgeon at 1/3 and Mr Yousaf at 6/1.

     
  48.  
    18:14: STUC on Salmond

    Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary Grahame Smith said: "Alex Salmond has been a dominant figure in Scottish politics for over two decades.

    "Whatever you think of his politics you cannot deny his political achievements. The longest serving first minister; the first party leader to secure a Scottish Parliament majority; delivering a referendum on independence and increasing popular support for it.

    "His disappointment in not seeing the job through must be immense and, although a surprise to me, it is perhaps the right time for him to step aside as we now look to enhance Scottish devolution."

     
  49.  
    18:08: More from The Queen

    The Queen's statement from Balmoral concludes:

    "Now, as we move forward, we should remember that despite the range of views that have been expressed, we have in common an enduring love of Scotland, which is one of the things that helps to unite us all.

    "Knowing the people of Scotland as I do, I have no doubt that Scots, like others throughout the United Kingdom, are able to express strongly-held opinions before coming together again in a spirit of mutual respect and support, to work constructively for the future of Scotland and indeed all parts of this country.

    "My family and I will do all we can to help and support you in this important task."

     
  50.  
    18:06: Queen statement

    The Queen has issued a statement on the outcome of the referendum.

    It says: "After many months of discussion, debate, and careful thought, we now know the outcome of the referendum, and it is a result that all of us throughout the United Kingdom will respect," it reads.

    "For many in Scotland and elsewhere today, there will be strong feelings and contrasting emotions - among family, friends and neighbours. That, of course, is the nature of the robust democratic tradition we enjoy in this country.

    "But I have no doubt that these emotions will be tempered by an understanding of the feelings of others."

     
  51.  
    18:04: Queen statement

    The Queen said Scotland's vote to stay part of the UK was "a result that all of us throughout the United Kingdom will respect".

     
  52.  
    17:59: Harvie: Salmond changed political landscape

    Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie said: "It's no secret that the Scottish Green Party and I haven't always agreed with Alex Salmond about a range of policy issues, but nobody in Scottish politics can doubt his commitment to the cause of Scottish independence, or the impact he has had, not only within Scotland, but also on a movement which still has the potential to reshape politics throughout these islands.

    "The first minister is 100% right to say that the aftermath of the independence referendum remains redolent with possibility, and that the incredible public engagement in our political process means that power must now lie with the public will, not with political parties in Westminster or Holyrood.

    "Despite our differences on a range of issues, I want to pay tribute to Alex Salmond for the role he has played in changing our political landscape. The future of Scottish, and of UK politics, could be entering a more open and creative period than we have known for many years.

    "If nothing else, Alex Salmond has been central to bringing us to that moment."

     
  53.  
    17:51: @HumzaYousaf

    Humza Yousaf SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow tweets: @AlexSalmond's legacy not only his own political achievements but thousands like me who've been inspired by him to become politically active

     
  54.  
    17:48: 'Outstanding parliamentarian' Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick, who was elected as an SNP MSP before quitting the party to take up the politically-neutral Holyrood role, commented on Mr Salmond's decision to step down as first minister.

    She said: "Members from across the chamber will recognise the first minister as an outstanding parliamentarian and will join me in recognition of his substantial achievements and public service as an MP, MSP and as Scotland's longest-serving first minister.

    "He will bow out following the most remarkable national debate and democratic renewal of our nation."

     
  55.  
    Tweet @BBCScotlandnews 17:47: Get involved

    @HughWallace74 tweets: @AlexSalmond I am sad to see you go. This was never all about you but at the same time, without you we would have been nowhere. Thank you.

     
  56.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 17:45: Get involved

    Jim Daisley from Greenock texts: "Disappointed with the result but the 1.6 million people of Scotland standing up against Westminster, banking, big business and the media, and the politics of fear, should be proud. Congratulations and well done to Alex Salmond and I agree with his decision to resign and make way for new invigorated leadership.

     
  57.  
    17:44: Law Society on Salmond

    The president of the Law Society of Scotland, Alistair Morris, said Alex Salmond's place in "our nation's political history is assured".

    He said: "His achievements cannot be underestimated, not only as the longest-serving first minister and the first to obtain an overall majority at Holyrood, but also in securing a historic referendum on independence.

    "His passion for Scotland, his commitment to creating a fairer and more prosperous society and his formidable debating skills, both at Holyrood and Westminster, have been at the heart of Scottish politics for over 30 years. He has also been a proud and effective ambassador for Scotland on the world stage."

     
  58.  
    17:42: Miliband reaction

    UK Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "Alex Salmond has been a formidable frontline politician.

    "Whatever our disagreements, he always spoke his mind and he has always stood up for what he believed in.

    "Our task now is to make sure that we deliver on the timetable we've set out, to deliver extra powers to the Scottish Parliament, and we will deliver on that."

     
  59.  
    17:41: Salmond and the press

    The Guardian's Scotland correspondent Severin Carrell tweets: Newspapers not invited to @AlexSalmond resignation press conference: Financial Times; Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express. #indyref

     
  60.  
    17:39: Miliband on further powers

    Leader of the Labour party Ed Miliband tweets: We will deliver on our promise of further powers to Scotland on the timetable set out during the referendum campaign.

     
  61.  
    17:38: Your reaction to Salmond resignation

    Iain Murdoch from Fife emailed: Thank you Alex Salmond for all you have done to take Scotland forward to this point. You thoroughly deserve any rest you will now get. You have truly placed Scotland at the forefront of UK politics.

    Alvan Judson wrote: Just read your great news that Alex Salmond is resigning. Now he can go and spend his time watching re-runs of Braveheart until he, too, is blue in the face.

     
  62.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 17:36: Get involved

    Sam Wakerley: The only thing progressive about this whole debacle is the fact we gave Scotland the vote. True progress would be one world freedom passport, one currency, one renewable energy policy & every child having basic needs taken care of, with wants allocated based on effort and attainment. Call it UKIP call it SNP, call it BNP, nationalism is ugly.

    William Wright: And the lies have begun already. Millipede is scurrying back under the bench and retracting all his promises. I wonder how long it will be before Westminster fully rejects the lies they promised?

     
  63.  
    17:33: Cameron on Salmond

    David Cameron has said: "Alex is a politician of huge talent and passion. I respect and admire his huge contribution to politics and public life."

     
  64.  
    @William_Bain 17:33: William Bain MP

    Labour MP for Glasgow North East, William Bain, tweets: Huge aspect of #indyref level of public engagement with where power lies: why UK constitutional convention proposed by @Ed_Miliband is vital

     
  65.  
    17:32: Thanks from lesbian and gay charity

    Scotland's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality charity, The Equality Network, said it wanted to say a "huge heartfelt thank you to Alex Salmond for significantly advancing LGBTI rights in Scotland".

    Policy coordinator Tom French said: "While more needs to be done, Alex Salmond should be incredibly proud of leading a government that has spoken out for LGBTI human rights, put in place some of the best hate crime legislation in Europe, and delivered one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world."

     
  66.  
    17:32: Analysis Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    In some ways it is a shock decision but in other ways it was not really a shock given the scale of the defeat.

    In a way he must reflect that although he has improved the SNP's standing hugely - they are now in government in Scotland and they got about 45% of the vote last night - he is a man who has a lot of people who just will simply never vote for Alex Salmond. There is a limit to his appeal.

    He may take the view that he does not have that final ingredient that will get a majority of people in Scotland voting for independence.

    He says he only made the decision this morning and that probably indicates that it was the scale of the defeat that made him decide to go.

     
  67.  
    17:31: 'Tip our hats' to Salmond

    Sir Richard Branson tells the BBC News Channel that the referendum was "a great day for Britain", adding: "We should tip our hats to Alex Salmond for changing Britain for the better."

     
  68.  
    17:30: Lamont on Salmond

    Johann Lamont said Alex Salmond "should be proud of his career and not allow the manner of its ending to dominate his thinking.

    "There is no question that Nicola Sturgeon and he were a formidable team."

     
  69.  
    17:29: Salmond an 'immense figure'

    Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont says: "Alex Salmond turned a minority party into a party of opposition, into a party of government, and was responsible for there being a referendum on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom.

    "He has undoubtedly been an immense figure in Scottish political history.

    "I do not detract from his achievements when I say that his love of Scottish independence sometimes blinded him to its consequences."

     
  70.  
    17:28: 'Greatest Scottish politician of his generation'

    Former SNP leader Gordon Wilson said Alex Salmond fought a brilliant referendum campaign.

    He said: "It is not his fault that the Scottish people did not vote for independence on this occasion. The winning of 45% of the vote in the Scottish independence referendum is a superlative achievement.

    "It is a mark of Alex's integrity that he has taken personal responsibility.

    "He is undoubtedly the greatest Scottish politician of his generation."

     
  71.  
    17:27: The view from London
    Evening Standard

    The London Evening Standard - an evening paper - has splashed on David Cameron's pledge for "English votes for English laws" - this picture tweeted by the paper's political editor, Joe Murphy.

     
  72.  
    17:27: 'I wish him well'

    Mr Darling added: "He has rightly said that the referendum was a once in a lifetime event and that we all need to work to bring Scotland together.

    "He can look back with pride on being the longest serving first minister and to the huge contribution he has made to public life in Scotland.

    "I wish him well in the future."

     
  73.  
    17:26: Darling on Salmond

    Better Together campaign leader Alistair Darling said: "Alex Salmond is a formidable political figure. He transformed the SNP into a party of government and delivered their referendum on independence which they had craved so long.

    "Today he has accepted Scotland's verdict, recognising that it is for others in his party to take the SNP forward."

     
  74.  
    17:26: Salmond: No plans to withdraw

    Mr Salmond reiterates that he has no plans to withdraw or retire from political life, when asked about his future by BBC Newsnight's Kirsty Wark.

     
  75.  
    17:25: More Lamont

    Ms Lamont, who faced Mr Salmond on a weekly basis at first minister's questions, said: "I do not detract from his achievements when I say that his love of Scottish independence sometimes blinded him to its consequences.

    "He should be proud of his career and not allow the manner of its ending to dominate his thinking.

    "There is no question that Nicola Sturgeon and he were a formidable team."

     
  76.  
    17:24: Lamont on Salmond

    Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: "Alex Salmond turned a minority party into a party of opposition into a party of government and was responsible for there being a referendum on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom.

    "He has undoubtedly been an immense figure in Scottish political history."

     
  77.  
    17:22: More on Salmond

    London editor of news and opinion website The Daily Beast, Nico Hines, tweets: Christ, everyone is in tears at Holyrood. Incredible scenes. It's like a funeral

     
  78.  
    17:21: Salmond reaction

    MP for Glasgow Central Anas Sarwar tweets: Haven't always agreed with Alex Salmond's politics but recognise his contribution & commitment to Scotland. Wish him well for the future

     
  79.  
    17:20: Business on Salmond

    Business leaders have paid tribute to Alex Salmond, following his resignation.

    The Federation of Small Businesses, which has 20,000 members, said he had made "a huge contribution" to Scottish public life and wished him well for the future.

     
  80.  
    17:20: Davidson on Salmond

    Ruth Davidson argued that Alex Salmond's "decision to step down will help our country come back together again".

    She added: "I am pleased that the first minister says he will continue to serve in Scottish politics.

    "Scotland will benefit from his experience and service as we move forward."

     
  81.  
    17:17: Ruth Davidson statement

    Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: "Alex Salmond has been the dominant figure in Scottish politics for the last seven years.

    "No-one can dispute his political achievements, nor fail to acknowledge his political gifts.

    "He has done the right thing in resigning.

    "While the referendum campaign has been hugely invigorating, by its very nature it has divided too."

     
  82.  
    17:15: Salmond reaction

    Shona Robison, SNP MSP for Dundee, tweets: Really sad day, but watching the resignation of @AlexSalmond as FM, he has done so in a great statesmanlike manner

     
  83.  
    17:14: 'Joint ticket' Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Nicola Sturgeon would be a clear frontrunner to take over as SNP leader and first minister after Mr Salmond steps down, but the question of who would succeed Ms Sturgeon as deputy is much less clear.

    Last time round, Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon stood for the SNP leadership on a joint ticket.

     
  84.  
    17:13: The next SNP leader?

    In a statement, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has just said she could think of "no greater privilege" than leading the SNP, adding that the decision to stand was "not for today".

    Back in April, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke to the BBC's Marianne Taylor about her life and career, and the responsibilities of power.

    Nicola Sturgeon
     
  85.  
    17:08: 'Finest first minister'

    "Alex's announcement today inevitably raises the question of whether I will be a candidate to succeed him as SNP leader," she added.

    "I can think of no greater privilege than to seek to lead the Party I joined when I was just 16. However, that decision is not for today.

    "My priority this weekend, after a long and hard campaign, is to get some rest and spend time with my family. I also want the focus over the next few days to be on the outstanding record and achievements of the finest first minister Scotland has had."

     
  86.  
    17:07: 'Personal gratitude'

    Ms Sturgeon added: "The personal debt of gratitude I owe Alex is immeasurable. He has been my friend, mentor and colleague for more than 20 years. Quite simply, I would not have been able to do what I have in politics without his constant advice, guidance and support through all these years."

     
  87.  
    17:06: Sturgeon statement

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Alex Salmond's achievements as SNP leader and Scotland's first minister are second to none.

    "He led the SNP into government and has given our country a renewed self confidence. Through policies such as the council tax freeze, free prescriptions and the scrapping of tuition fees, he has made a real difference for hundreds of thousands of Scots. And yesterday he inspired 1.6 million of our fellow citizens to vote Yes to independence."

     
  88.  
    16:59: Who is Alex Salmond?
    Salmond

    Alex Salmond may not have achieved the ultimate prize of Scottish independence - and has now stood down as SNP leader and first minister - but no-one should doubt the scale of Alex Salmond's achievements, says BBC political report Brian Wheeler.

     
  89.  
    16:55: Salmond 'provides shocks'

    John Curtice, polling expert and professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says Mr Salmond "has form in providing us with shocks when it comes to the leadership of the SNP".

    "Some must remember the summer of 2000 when suddenly he announced he was standing down as leader of the SNP and was leaving the Scottish Parliament... then in the summer of 2004, he suddenly announced that in fact he was going to stand as leader again.

    "He spots opportunities and as a result of that he does provide us with shocks."

     
  90.  
    16:50: Watch Salmond speech
  91.  
    @joepike 16:44: Joe Pike of Border TV

    Joe Pike, political reporter for Border TV, tweets: Room is transfixed. Salmond's tone soft, his eyes watering. His advisers show no emotion. #indyref

     
  92.  
    @ClyesdAileen 16:42: Aileen Campbell MSP

    Aileen Campbell, SNP MSP for Clydesdale, tweets: Gutted about @AlexSalmond 's resignation - he took us to the brink of independence and gave us all the chance to decide.

     
  93.  
    16:41: Independence dead?

    When asked by the BBC's James Cook if his dream of independence is now dead, Mr Salmond says: "I think a referendum is a once in a generation process - that's my opinion."

    He goes on to say that he does not envisage another constitutional referendum in the "future we can see".

     
  94.  
    @GlasgowMSP 16:40: Bob Doris SNP

    SNP MSP or Glasgow Bob Doris tweets: It has been a privilege 2 serve under Alex Salmond. He has brought gr8 confidence 2 our nation &social progress 2 Scotland in face of UK cuts.

     
  95.  
    @glasgowcathcart 16:35: James Dornan MSP

    SNP member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Cathcart, James Dornan, tweets: Devastated to hear @AlexSalmond going to step down as SNP Leader. Without a doubt the finest politician of his generation. Thanks Boss.

     
  96.  
    16:34: Salmond resigns Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    .@AlexSalmond to remain First Minister until SNP elects new leader, scheduled for mid-November SNP conference, then vote of MSPs.

     
  97.  
    16:33: Salmond: Campaign 'bigger than me'

    Asked if he was adding to the upset for friends and party members on a day that was already difficult for them, he responded: "I have consistently argued... that this was not about an individual or a political party - or any political party - this was much bigger than that."

     
  98.  
    16:31: Salmond: 'People accept result'

    "I see no sign of the divided country that some people were forecasting - 99% of people know we have elections and referendums to have a result."

    He says it's been an "invigorating process".

     
  99.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 16:29: Get Involved

    The number of tweets about the Referendum dropped to under 40,000 between 3pm and 4pm. The figure is down 7% on the previous hour.

    Top tweet in the last hour is from Alastair Ross: "BBC is reporting Labour leader Ed Miliband will not sign up to the PM's plan to give more powers to the Scottish Parliament #indyref" It was retweeted 510 times.

    Comedian Russell Brand tweeted his latest video: "Were the cards stacked against independence? 'How Westminster Fear & Media Bias Shafted Scotland' is today's Trews." It is currently the most shared video.

    You can join the conversation via #indyref, tweet @BBCPolitics or go to the BBC News page on Facebook.

     
  100.  
    16:28: 'Meaningless' James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    Alex Salmond says when he asked David Cameron about the timetable for more powers, the prime minister said it was a meaningless process.

     

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