Do Scots want a referendum on independence from UK?


UK and Scotland flags

Politicians in Edinburgh and London are arguing over plans for a referendum on Scottish independence.

First Minister Alex Salmond is accusing the UK government of trying to interfere in plans for a vote.

He insisted people in Scotland should get to decide in autumn 2014 - despite calls from Prime Minister David Cameron for the issue to be dealt with sooner.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said a plan to hold a referendum without Westminster's involvement would be unlawful.

Greater powers

The Scottish government wants to break free from the rest of Britain.

Polls suggest that only a third of Scots would back the idea though, so the SNP also wants to allow a vote on a second option.

That's been nicknamed "devolution-max" and would ask whether Scots want full decision-making powers on raising and spending tax money, even though things like defence and foreign affairs would stay under Westminster's control.

Paul Scullion
Image caption Paul admires Mr Salmond but wouldn't yet vote for full independence

The SNP propose the Scottish Parliament should be responsible for "all laws, taxes and duties in Scotland".

Paul Scullion - an engineer from Edinburgh - isn't sure his country is ready to break away.

"I admire what Alex Salmond is trying to do, but I wouldn't vote yes at the moment," he says.

Full independence could see Scotland with its own government, own prime minister, maybe even its own army.

It may join the European Union as a separate country, and start using the Euro currency.

"Scotland as an independent country wouldn't survive, I don't think," says Paul.

"We still depend a lot on handouts from Westminster, with things like defence and jobs," he admits.

The Scottish government believe "devolution max" will secure a "yes" vote and so is the party's back-up plan.

It could see a difference in taxes paid by Scottish people and the rest of the United Kingdom.

For example, the rate of income tax could vary by up to 10p in the pound compared with the rest of the UK.

'Totally for it'

The SNP maintain full independence is the party's long term ambition, so this is seen as a stepping stone and a way of achieving independence in the long run.

Asha Rennie
Image caption Asha says independence would let Scottish culture "shine through"

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond hopes by promising to maintain UK links in the short term, independence could be achieved in the long run.

Twenty-one-year-old Asha Rennie is studying to become a teacher at Aberdeen University. She is a big SNP supporter.

"I'm totally for it [independence]. It means being our own country.

"Without being attached to the rest of Britain there would be more opportunity to let our culture shine through," she says.

"Maybe there should be a balance where we are independent but where we could come together on some things," suggests Asha.