Scottish govt to publish blueprint for independence

2013-11-26 14:46
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London - The Scottish government was on Tuesday to launch its long-awaited white paper on independence from the United Kingdom, which it says is the most "comprehensive and detailed blueprint" ever published on the subject.

Scots are to vote on 18 September on whether to become independent, potentially ending 300 of union with the rest of Britain.

The white paper is more than 200 pages long and answers 650 questions about what independence would mean, said the devolved Scottish government, which is led by the pro-independence Scottish National Party.

"The guide and the answers it provides will show clearly and simply the difference that we can make in Scotland if decisions on Scotland's future are taken by those who care most about Scotland - that is the people of Scotland," said Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

She and First Minister Alex Salmond are to launch the paper in Glasgow.

It is expected to address questions including what currency an independent Scotland would use, how its oil wealth may or may not be divided with England, whether it would be an EU member, and what would happen to its tax, health and benefits systems.

The British government's Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has accused the Scottish government of having no concrete answers to the hardest questions.

"There is an inherent dishonesty in pretending that you can walk away from the United Kingdom but keep all the advantages of being part of the UK," he told reporters at a briefing last week.

Former chancellor Alistair Darling, who is leading the Better Together campaign against independence, argued that the white paper must be credible and correctly costed.

"If they ignore the cost of independence or claim that a vote by Scotland can force other countries into doing what Alex Salmond wants, it will be a work of fiction," he said.

In the event of a "yes" vote next year, the devolved Scottish government has already designated 24 March 2016 as "Independence Day”.

The most recent opinion poll, conducted for the Sunday Times and Real Radio Scotland, showed that 47% of Scots were opposed to independence, while 38% were in favour.

Read more on:    alex salmond  |  scotland

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