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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scotland Unveils Blueprint for Independence Tuesday Nov 26,2013

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond unveiled on Tuesday Nov 26,2013 a 670-page legal argument for Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom ahead of a referendum on September 18, 2014.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Dy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hold copies of blueprint for independence after it was launched at the Science Centre in Glasgow on Tuesday Nov 26,2013

On September 18,2014,Scots voters will be asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Launching the paper - titled Scotland's Future: Your guide to an independent Scotland - in Glasgow, Mr Salmond said: "This is the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published, not just for Scotland but for any prospective independent nation''

"Scotland's future is now in Scotland's hands," Salmond, the head of the Scottish National Party, said at the launch of the ‘white paper' in Glasgow.

The blueprint stated that an independent Scotland would keep -

  • the British pound
  • the Queen and
  • remain in the European Union. 
However, it would have its own defense force and collect its own taxes

White Paper: Main policy pledges

  • Thirty hours of childcare per week in term time for all three and four-year-olds, as well as vulnerable two-year-olds.
  • Trident nuclear weapons, currently based on the Clyde, removed within the first parliament.
  • Housing benefit reforms, described by critics as the "bedroom tax" to be abolished in first year of an independent Scottish parliament.
  • Basic rate tax allowances and tax credits to rise at least in line with inflation.
  • Review UK plan for increasing state pension age to 67.
  • Minimum wage to rise at least in line with inflation.
  • Basic rate tax allowances and tax credits to rise at least in line with inflation.
  • BBC Scotland replaced at the start of 2017 with a new Scottish broadcasting service, continuing a formal relationship with the rest of the BBC.
  • Single tier state pension of £160 per week from April 2016.
  • Royal Mail returned to public ownership.
  • Pound to be retained under "currency union".
  • New employment measures to help more women into work.
  • Scottish citizens entitled to Scottish passport at the same cost as UK one.
  • Scottish Defence Force to enlist 15,000 regulars and 5,000 reservists.
  • Scottish-born British citizens living in another country will automatically be Scottish citizens.
  • British citizens living in Scotland considered Scottish citizens, including those holding dual nationality.

British Prime Minister David Cameron's government is campaigning to keep the 306-year union between Scotland and England. Britain's three main UK-wide political parties have argued against independence and have warned Scotland would be worse off economically and unable to defend itself on its own.

Scotland, which occupies the northern third of Great Britain, has about 5 million residents, many of whom are still undecided 10 months ahead of the referendum.

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