Independence will give us a better future that suits our needs and circumstances.
Why? Because the best people to make decisions about Scotland’s future are the people of Scotland. Over time we will take decisions on our economy and society that are better designed for Scotland’s circumstances and better reflect people’s priorities.
This means, year after year, we will make Scotland a better place to live.
But what about..
Our relationship with the rest of the UK? The ties of family and friendship and trade with our neighbours will continue, strengthen and prosper including, under the Scottish Government’s plans, continuing to share the Queen as Head of State. We will continue to share a great deal in common – language, the arts, music, tv and radio, our love of sport. We will work together on common interests.
Can we afford the benefits and state pension bill? Yes. Government figures show that the current bill for benefits, state pension and other tax credits in Scotland, uses 38% of taxes raised in Scotland. For the UK as a whole, the bill is slightly larger at 42.3% of UK taxes. This means we are better able to afford our welfare system than the UK.
The EU – will we be members? Having been a member for 40 years, Scotland will retain membership of the EU. We will negotiate new terms as an independent member, while we remain part of the UK. Our voice will be stronger – we will vote direct on the vital issues – influencing decisions relating to our direct European interests.
Our currency? The Scottish Government’s proposal means that we will continue to use the pound sterling. Scotland is able to use the pound because Sterling is a fully tradable currency. A panel of economic experts including two Nobel Laureates has designed the arrangements for monetary union. Scotland cannot be forced to join the euro. In order to join the euro a nation has to be part of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) for 2 years and participation in ERM is voluntary according to EU law.
Our defence? The Scottish Government’s plans mean that Scotland would be one of 25 non-nuclear members of NATO and, like other similar sized countries, would have its own defence force. Scotland currently contributes £3.3 billion to the UK defence budget – Denmark, a similar sized country, spends £2.8 billion on defence. We could also choose not to renew Trident and remove nuclear weapons from our country.
Border Control? As an EU member, Scottish borders would remain open to EU nationals, just as we are free to travel across the EU today. We would also remain part of the Common Travel Area in the British Isles, which means no-one from Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Ireland would need a passport to travel between these countries, in the same way as today.