Scotland makes its case for independence from Britain

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 2:43am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 2:43am


Scotland's government tomorrow publishes its legal blueprint making the case for independence from Britain, with the economy at the heart of its bid to break up the 300-year union.

The "white paper" on Scottish independence is being unveiled by the regional government in Edinburgh ahead of a historic referendum on the issue next September.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the "comprehensive and detailed" document was a blueprint not just for Scotland, but for any prospective independent country.

"It is a landmark document which sets out the economic, social and democratic case for independence," she said yesterday.

Only one third of the 5.3 million Scots are currently in favour of breaking away, according to opinion polls.

But Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) who is heading the pro-independence campaign, insists he has time to convince voters of the economic and political benefits.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative-led government, meanwhile, are pushing hard for a "no" vote, claiming independence would be fraught with risks and problems.

The SNP has painted a vision of an independent Scotland that is rich because of its North Sea oil reserves, but also more egalitarian than Britain.

Sturgeon said the white paper had "economic growth, jobs and fairness at its heart", citing a "decent minimum wage" as one policy featuring in the blueprint.

"The route to a successful Scotland is greater economic growth that benefits all and which supports greater participation - particularly amongst women - in the workplace and the economy as a whole," she added.

Scots will be able to request a hard copy of the 670-page tome, and its 170,000 words will also be available online.

The document plans for Scotland to celebrate its independence day on March 24, 2016, should voters opt to leave the rest of Britain, comprising England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The new country would hold its first elections in May 2016.