Scottish independence: What's going on in Scotland?

On 18 September, voters in Scotland will be asked in a referendum whether they want the nation to become independent from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Why is it happening?
Wallace monument The Wallace monument, built to honour Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace

The Scottish National Party, whose central aim is independence, won the 2011 Scottish Parliament election by a landslide, giving them a mandate to stage the vote.

On referendum day itself, voters across Scotland will head to polling booths to answer the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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The arguments for and against
Alex Salmond

The Scottish government, led by First Minister Alex Salmond, says the 300-year-old Union is no longer fit for purpose and that an independent Scotland, with its oil wealth, would be one of the world's richest countries.

He says it's time for Scotland to take charge of its own destiny, free from what he describes as the "shackles" of a London-based UK parliament.

On the opposite side of the debate, the UK government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, says Britain is one of the world's most successful social and political unions.

The differing styles of Salmond and Cameron

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What are the key issues?
Oil rig

In recent months, two major issues have emerged - oil and currency.

Oil

North Sea oil and gas reserves (or more precisely the tax take from Scotland's share) are vital to the Scottish government's case for independence.

Mr Salmond says earmarking a tenth of revenues - about £1bn a year - could form an oil fund similar to the one operated in Norway, creating a £30bn sovereign wealth pot over a generation.

Mr Cameron says the North Sea has been a British success story - and now the oil and gas is getting harder to recover it's more important than ever to back the industry with the "broad shoulders" of the UK.

The SNP's opponents also argue they're pinning future hopes on something that's eventually going to run out.

North Sea oil in numbers

40bn

barrels extracted

24bn

could remain

  • 30-40 years of production remaining

  • £57bn tax revenue predicted by Scottish Government by 2018

  • 38% fall in oil revenue predicted by Office for Budget Responsibility by 2017-18

PA

North Sea oil: Facts and figures

Currency

Currency has been the other big area of disagreement.

Under independence, the Scottish government wants to keep the pound as part of a formal currency union with the rest of the UK.

It argues this is in everyone's best interests, but the three main UK parties - the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats - won't go for it, and say that whoever's in power after the next UK election will not agree to such a move.

This position came as the UK Treasury published analysis from its top civil servant, Sir Nicholas Macpherson who outlined several reasons why currency unions were "fraught with difficulty".

Scotland's first minister has warned the UK government not to dictate the terms of the debate

On the currency, the PM says Alex Salmond is now a man without a plan

Currency debate explained

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Do people want independence?
woman

Hard to say with any great certainty at the moment.

Polls generally indicate that most people don't want independence, but "Yes" campaigners say the needle is swinging in their direction.

Polling expert John Curtice said that, for a long time, support for independence wavered between about a quarter and a third.

The professor of politics at Glasgow's Strathclyde University now says the average "Yes" vote may have edged up to more than 40%, but warns there is still "considerable uncertainty" as to how close the referendum race is.

You can keep up with the latest trends through the BBC's referendum poll tracker.

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Who gets to vote
cakes

People aged 16 and over who live in Scotland get a direct say on the nation's future - as long as they're registered to vote.

There are some requirements, though. Eligible voters must be British, EU or Commonwealth citizens with permission to enter or stay in the UK.

That means the 800,000 Scots who live in other parts of the UK don't get a vote, while the 400,000 people from elsewhere in Britain who live in Scotland do.

Voter breakdown

Members of the armed services and their families serving overseas who are registered to vote in Scotland also get to vote.

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What happens on 19 September?
A Yes campaigner and a girl with a union jack painted on her face

On the day after the referendum, if there's a "Yes" vote, the Scottish government is likely to have a big party. After that, it will get down to the process of negotiating with the rest of the UK.

Mr Salmond wants to declare "Independence Day" in March 2016 with the first elections to an independent Scottish parliament in May. But, first, an agreement will have to be reached with what remains of the UK on issues like Scotland's share of the national debt.

However, if there's a "No" vote, the UK government is likely to have a big party, then turn its attention to the issue of giving more powers to the devolved Scottish Parliament.

The Liberal Democrats have been considering this issue the longest, and a commission led by former leader Sir Menzies Campbell, says there is now growing agreement among the pro-Union parties that the Edinburgh parliament should get significant new financial powers, like increased responsibility over tax-raising.

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Let's end with a history lesson
William Wallace impersonator

Thanks to the 1995 Hollywood blockbuster Braveheart, many people are familiar with the Scottish wars of independence, fought between the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

A series of events saw England's King Edward overpower the Scottish kingdom in 1296, before Robert the Bruce inflicted some serious payback in the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 - an event which has just reached its 700th anniversary.

Culloden

Other key moments through the ages included Bonnie Prince Charlie's ill-fated invasion of England in 1745, culminating in defeat at Culloden the following year.

Despite various challenges, Scotland is generally regarded to have asserted its independence from about 843, until the official unification with England took place in 1707.

At the time, the view was that Scotland was desperate for cash, but opponents of the move were outraged by claims that the Scots who put their names to the Act of Union were bribed.

Robert Burns

The episode moved Scotland's Bard, Robert Burns, to write: "We are bought and sold for English gold. Such a parcel of rogues in a nation."

The Scottish government now hopes to write another chapter in Scotland's history.

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    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 17:23: Get involved

    Hugh from Linlithgow: Currency and the economy is critical. We have no hard facts from the Yes camp on this. You cannot hold the rest of the UK to ransom over assets and liabilities. Even if a currency union was achieved, Scotland's central bank would be the Bank of England, and the lender of last resort! Independence?

    Dave from Reading: Following indyref, and must admit I have encountered little to no anti-English sentiment. Both sides have lunatic fringes, but actually seem to get more beef off no supporters. Although that could be because I would vote Yes if I could. Run away from Westminster.

     
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    17:10: Appeal for missing family

    Police have appealed for help in tracing a woman and three children from the Pollok area of Glasgow who have been missing for the past week.

    Kristina Pikse, 28, and her children David Hauberts, eight, Danius Hauberts, four, and nine-month-old Zana Hauberts, were last seen in Brockburn Road at about 16:10 on 26 August.

    Missing family

    Police believe they may have travelled to the Blackburn area of Lancashire.

     
  5.  
    17:02: Yes win 'closer than ever'

    Independence is "closer than it's ever been", First Minister Alex Salmond has said.

    Mr Salmond spoke to the BBC as polls suggested a narrowing of the gap between the Yes and No campaigns.

    Alex Salmond

    He said people who had never engaged with politics were becoming involved, calling it "a democratic sensation".

    The UK government said it would continue to make the "strong, clear argument" that Scotland could have "the best of both worlds" in the UK.

     
  6.  
    16:47: Diver's body recovered

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    Paul Brown

    Paul Brown, 49, was reported missing on 24 August. His body was recovered from waters at St Abbs Head a week later.

    Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and a report would be sent to the procurator fiscal.

     
  7.  
    16:35: Tonight's weather BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    The north west will stay cloudy with a few spots of rain. South and east of the Great Glen it'll stay dry with clear spells and a few mist patches.

    Clearest and chilliest over Aberdeenshire and the Borders, where temperatures will dip to 4C or 5C, more typically it'll be 9C or 10C.

     
  8.  
    Text 80295 16:25: Referendum - your views

    N Matthews, Forres: I am surprised at any concern raised about racist comments on social media since the debate started. I too am English born - I am on social media all the time and what I witness the majority of the time is anti-Scottish comments. OK, there are comments back but not in the same quantity. These sort of comments are aside from the real issue and only clouds proper debate.

    Archie from Larkhall: If the Yes vote goes through, will our UK passports still be valid or do we throw them in the bin?

    What do you think? Text us on 80295, email us here or tweet using #ScotlandLive. Please remember to include your name, especially when texting.

     
  9.  
    16:14: Oil field delay

    Production in the Buzzard oil field near Aberdeen could remain disrupted for another week.

    Buzzard oil field

    Operations were originally shut down on Saturday to allow a drilling rig to be decoupled.

    Owners Nexen had hoped to have the field back up and running by today, but has now said it could take longer.

     
  10.  
    16:05: Alasdair Lamont Senior football reporter, BBC Scotland

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  11.  
    15:57: 'Careworn' Celtic

    Celtic have faced challenges on and off the park in the opening few weeks of the season, writes Richard Wilson. What now for the Scottish champions and manager Ronny Delia?

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    15:39: Spiers on Gallacher

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    Stephen Gallacher
     
  13.  
    Text 80295 15:31: Get involved

    M Smith, Thurso: I am English, lived in Scotland for 27 years. I have never felt nervous living here until 6 months ago when referendum campaigns started. I have read some awful things on the internet, racists remarks, hateful language and very aggressive attitudes. I hope this doesn't continue after the 18th.

    Helen in North Berwick: John from Airdrie - let's see those hard facts and figures. Tell us exactly how and why a Yes vote will impact negatively on pensions, mortgages and jobs. Facts please?

     
  14.  
    15:15: Glasgow woman 'promoting terrorism'

    A young woman from Glasgow has travelled to Syria and has been promoting terrorism back home via her Twitter account, it is understood.

    Aqsa Mahmood, 20, was reported missing by her family in November 2013.

    A Twitter account under the name Umm Layth, believed to be Ms Mahmood, said: "Follow the examples of your brothers from Woolwich, Texas and Boston."

     
  15.  
    Text 80295 15:03: Independence - your views

    Scott from Perth in reply to John from Airdrie: This is not about Alex Salmond. This is about Scotland, a country, deciding to control its own affairs just like all other countries i.e. being normal. Will we get all decisions right? No. But they will be our decisions. Don't be put off by exaggerated claims from both sides Vote Yes.

     
  16.  
    14:54: Referendum on the stage

    How has the Scottish independence referendum debate been represented in art?

    stage

    From musical theatre and horror to romantic comedy, Louise Sayers looks at how performances are being used to try to shed some light, as well as light relief, on the debate.

     
  17.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 14:39: Your pictures

    Tim Kelly sent us this great pic of the stunning views to be found from the top of Kinnoull Hill, just outside Perth.

    Kinnoull Hill

    Send us your photos via email or twitter using #ScotlandLive and we'll feature the best online.

     
  18.  
    Text 80295 14:27: Get involved

    John from Airdrie in reply to Wilson Paterson on Scotland Live: We really need to let go of this type of misty-eyed romanticism and look at the hard facts and figures. A Yes vote is playing Russian roulette with people's jobs, mortgages and pensions. Let's think logically here and step back from the brink. Do NOT trust Alex Salmond please.

     
  19.  
    14:17: Referendum funding

    More than a quarter of a million pounds has been donated to groups campaigning in the Scottish independence referendum in the last month.

    Electoral Commission figures show the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign got £168,000, while the Better Together campaign to keep the Union received no donations.

    Yes campaign

    The rest of the money went to other groups campaigning for and against independence ahead of the 18 September referendum.

    Among the donors were Craig and Charlie Reid of The Proclaimers, pictured above, who donated £10,000 to Yes Scotland.

     
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  24.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 13:04: Get involved

    Wilson Paterson from Rutherglen: The underlying question is, who will run Scotland and in whose interests? Whilst Westminster politicians continually harp on about the stability and security a larger UK gives Scotland, it also means the priorities of Westminster are spread thinly over the UK, thinner and thinner the further North you go. The debate was in Dundee - we Scots certainly don't have jam today, perhaps with independence the jam might be sweeter tomorrow.

     
  25.  
    12:47: Currency debate Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

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    Paranormal Festival

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    Brian McLauchlin BBC Scotland

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    Stephen Gallacher

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  30.  
    12:28: Weather update BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    It will be a dry but cloudy afternoon for most of the country .

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    Temperatures will range between 18C to 21C.

    You can watch a full forecast here.

     
  31.  
    12:02: John Beattie BBC Scotland

    Join me live on Radio Scotland where I'll be discussing the referendum, in particular the economy. I'll be joined by campaigners from both sides.

    Tune in here.

     
  32.  
    11:59: Hanging up their kettle

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    Singing Kettle

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  33.  
    11:42: Debate finished

    The Radio 5 Live debate from Dundee has now ended.

    But here at Scotland Live we still want to hear your views on what you heard from the Caird Hall, or indeed anything else referendum-related.

    Get in touch via Twitter using #ScotlandLive, email us at newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk or text on 80295.

     
  34.  
    11:31: Dundee debate

    Undecided voters in the audience are being asked by presenter Victoria Derbyshire whether they have made up their minds.

    Victoria Derbyshire

    Of the seven who answered, three say they are now more inclined to vote "Yes", two that they will probably vote "No" and one remains undecided.

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  35.  
    11:26: The Press and Journal

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  36.  
    11:18: Dundee debate - your views

    Adam from Northern Ireland: If Scotland becomes independent Northern Ireland will be even more disconnected from the rest of the UK. This will make it harder for the UK to work as a country, it may in fact lead to Northern Ireland becoming independent and realistically this isn't feasible economically or politically because of the huge divides that still exist.

    James Guild: May I point out Panama, going by the IMF table of countries of the world's financial stability, is ranked 7th in the world...it proves 'dollarisation' works. I believe that 'sterlingisation' is the way forward for Scotland. Why the continual project fear?

     
  37.  
    11:14: Ferry site plans

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    Stranraer harbour

    Any development is expected to include a mix of commercial, retail and residential use.

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  38.  
    #ScotlandLive 10:59: Get involved

    @AndyMurrayScott tweets: Prof Curtis - Pollsters have unique problem with indy ref. polls but Yes making progress. Yes at 45 or 47 all to play for.

    @trethewey20: #ScotlandDecides Please answer what happens when SNP are not the government.Because everything so far is based on SNP policies.

    @Marty_Mc: #No don't want a better Scotland, they want a better UK at the expense of those in Scotland.

    @JudgementalBast: Why has no one mentioned the 2 Scots banks that collapsed? and how an independent Scotland would have handled it?

     
  39.  
    10:54: Jim Spence BBC Sport

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  40.  
    10:50: Digital hub for Highlands

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    Broadband

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  41.  
    10:49: Jamie McIvor BBC Scotland local government correspondent

    A controversial new restriction on cars in Glasgow has earned the city council at least £800,000 in just two months.

    Nelson Mandela Place

    Since the end of June cars have been banned from going through Nelson Mandela Place, near Queen Street Station, for much of the day.

    The Glasgow Restaurant Association wants the city council to reconsider the restriction as it fears it is deterring business.

    The council says the bus gate will remain but hopes to reduce the number of cars going through it.

     
  42.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 10:41: Get involved

    Tom Dowds emailed Scotland Live: Since the main political parties have decided to each offer more, as yet unspecified, devolution, the choice seems clear on 18 September. Is Scotland's future to be decided by people representing all shades of opinion after a Yes vote, or, in the event of a No vote, is it to become a party political football to be kicked about at Westminster?

    What do you think? Tweet us using #ScotlandLive, text 80295 or email us here.

     
  43.  
    10:38: Cyclist injured

    A major road in Dundee was closed for several hours this morning after a cyclist was seriously hurt in a crash with a car.

    The male cyclist suffered head injuries in the collision on the city's Riverside Drive at about 07:20.

    Riverside Drive

    The 50-year-old was taken to Ninewells Hospital by paramedics and diversions around Perth Road were put in place.

    The road reopened around 10:30.

     
  44.  
    #ScotlandLive 10:28: Get involved

    @MrMalky tweets: The NHS is being privatised. These MPs are lying to the people. It is 70%+ privatised.

    @aoshay Pharmacist says he can do his job well bcause NHS is ran in Scotland, but has security of being part of something bigger.

     
  45.  
    10:21: NHS and the referendum

    Voters in Dundee are discussing the future of the NHS in an independent Scotland with a panel that includes Scottish government sport and equalities minister Shona Robison and Dundee Labour MP Jenny Marra.

    BBC debate in Dundee

    Tell us what you think by emailing here, texting 80295 or tweet using #ScotlandLive.

     
  46.  
    #ScotlandLive 10:11: Get involved

    The debate in Dundee is now under way.

    Tell us what you think by emailing here, texting 80295 or tweet using #ScotlandLive.

     
  47.  
    10:09: Radio 5 Live debate

    You can watch this morning's Radio 5 Live independence debate from the Caird Hall in Dundee, hosted by Victoria Derbyshire, here on Scotland Live by clicking on the link above.

    You can also watch on BBC Two Scotland and the BBC News Channel, or listen on Radio 5 Live.

     
  48.  
    10:05: Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

    While Radamel Falcao's loan move to Manchester United and Danny Welbeck's transfer to Arsenal were the big talking points in England, transfer deadline day in Scotland was a much quieter affair with the will he/won't he transfer of Stefan Scepovic to Celtic sparking interest late on.

    How did your team do? Who should they have signed? Who are you looking forward to seeing in action in Scotland? Let us know on Twitter using #ScotlandLive, by texting 80295 or send us an email.

     
  49.  
    09:50: Referendum 'assault' video

    A video has emerged which appears to show a supporter of the United Kingdom kicking out at a female protestor.

    Confrontation video

    The footage is claimed to have been taken during a confrontation in Glasgow's Argyle Street on Saturday.

    It is said to show a group of "Yes" supporters confronting members of a right wing organisation who were speaking in favour of the Union.

    A man can be seen kicking out at a woman who had apparently tried to grab his megaphone.

    A man had been arrested in connection with an allegation of assault and a report sent to prosecutors.

     
  50.  
    09:38: Dundee debate

    At 10am, Victoria Derbyshire presents a live debate on the Scottish Referendum from the Caird Hall in Dundee.

    Three hundred BBC Radio 5 Live listeners will have the chance to put their points to a panel of high profile pro-independence and pro-Union supporters.

    Victoria Derbyshire

    You can listen live on BBC Radio 5 Live.

     
  51.  
    09:30: Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Don't forget, by clicking on the Scotland Live link, you'll go through to our full live page with its enhanced video, audio and picture capabilities.

    Screenshot
     
  52.  
    09:20: Being a burden - your views

    Mary Berry has said she wants her family to give her "a pill" when she becomes a burden. Here's what you think:

    Jude from Dunblane: My dad's the life and soul of the party at 84. He still looks after his family. Still playing golf and carries his clubs. We cherish him very much. Perfect gent. Why should he get the pill?

    H in Edinburgh: What a stupid comment Mary Berry made. Elderly people feel burdensome and lonely as it is with selfish people like Ms Berry putting ideas into people's heads.

    Join the debate by calling 0500 92 95 00, emailing morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk or texting 80295.

     
  53.  
    09:11: Murray back on form

    Andy Murray believes he is almost back to peak form after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach the US Open quarter-finals.

    Murray beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

    The Scot played some impressive tennis as he won 7-5 7-5 6-4 at Flushing Meadows to set-up a clash with world number one Novak Djokovic on Wednesday.

    Murray said: "I don't feel like I'm that far away from playing my best tennis."

    "Obviously winning matches does build confidence. I played against some very good players this year and lost a few close matches."

     
  54.  
    08:57: Last show for Singing Kettle

    Children's entertainers The Singing Kettle have announced they are to stop performing from early next year.

    Husband and wife team Artie Trezise and Cilla Fisher, who founded the group in 1982, retired in 2013.

    Cilla Fisher and Arty Tresize take their last bow as members of the Singing Kettle

    However, the shows continued with the two other long-term cast members Gary Coupland and Kevin Macleod and new recruit Anya Scott-Rodgers.

    The group has now said their Christmas tour will be their last, with a final show in Aberdeen in February.

     
  55.  
    08:49: What the papers say

    A new poll suggesting the Yes campaign is just three points from victory in the independence referendum makes the front pages of the Scottish Sun and The Times.

    Newspapers 2 September

    Elsewhere, the Daily Record leads with a woman claiming her suicidal mother was given inadequate support by the NHS 24 helpline shortly before she killed herself.

    Read more in our daily review.

     
  56.  
    08:40: Campaign trail

    With just over two weeks to go until the independence referendum, it's another busy day on the campaign trail.

    Scottish and union flags

    First Minister Alex Salmond will set out his vision of the gains of independence for the food and drink industry on a visit to Eden Mill distillery and brewery in Guardbridge, Fife.

    Meanwhile, shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran and Labour MSP Iain Gray will be at Glasgow's Tennent Caledonian Breweries to highlight jobs and opportunities they say will be available as part of the UK.

     
  57.  
    08:31: Transfer round-up

    Celtic's late move for Manchester City striker John Guidetti is still to be rubber-stamped this morning as the paperwork for the loan deal was not processed in time for the 23:00 transfer deadline.

    John Guidetti

    If the transfer is approved Guidetti will be paraded alongside Serbian striker Stefan Scepovic, who finally completed his £2.2m move to Glasgow late last night.

    The champions have offloaded Teemu Pukki, Amido Balde, Holmbert Fridjonsson, Jackson Irvine and Dylan McGeough on loan deals.

    Ross County have also been busy - despite not having a manager - with Darren Barr, Michael Gardyne and Jackson Irvine all signing with the Staggies.

     
  58.  
    08:21: Morning Call

    This morning we're talking about the elderly. Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry, who is 79, says she does not want to live beyond 90 and would like her children to be able to give her "a pill" if she becomes a burden to her family.

    Louise White asks: Is Mary right to worry about becoming a burden as she gets older?

    Morning Call graphic

    Elsewhere, following yesterday's Scottish skin cancer statistics, showing a doubling of the disease in the last 30 years, we're asking why we are still not getting the message.

    Lines are open now. Call 0500 92 95 00, email morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk or text 80295.

     
  59.  
    08:10: Lucy Adams BBC News

    Thousands of people have registered to vote in Scotland in the past week.

    Local registration centres have said in recent days they have received tens of thousands of applications.

    Polling card

    Residents have until midnight on Tuesday to register for the 18 September referendum.

    Figures obtained by the BBC's Scotland 2014 show in the past seven days Glasgow received more than 9,000 applications, Renfrewshire 5,000, and Shetland and Orkney almost 1,000.

     
  60.  
    08:06: Traffic update BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    In Dundee, an accident on Riverside Drive near the roadworks means traffic is very slow in both directions.

    In Fife, the A92 is partially blocked at Thornton - there's a broken down HGV resulting in delays in both directions.

     
  61.  
    08:03: Weather outlook BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    A chilly start in parts of the east, especially the Borders, otherwise a mild, mainly dry start to the day with plenty of fine weather to come.

    Cloud will break to give some sunshine, the best of it over Aberdeenshire, Fife and the Borders. The Western Isles, north west Highlands and Northern Isles will be cloudier, with a few spots of rain driven in on a fresh to strong south-westerly wind.

    Temperatures will range from 15C in Lerwick to 21C in Inverness and Aviemore.

     
  62.  
    07:57: Welcome Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland Scotland Live. We'll be here until 18:00 with all the latest news, sport, weather and travel.

    You can keep in touch using Twitter #ScotlandLive, via email or by text on 80295.

     

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