Scotland’s Future: Statement to the the Scottish Parliament

With permission, Presiding Officer, I would like to make a statement on Scotland’s Future, the Scottish Government’s comprehensive guide to an independent Scotland, which was published earlier today and made available to all members from 10 o’clock this morning.

Scotland’s Future runs to 670 pages and 170,000 words.

It is the most detailed prospectus for the independence of a country that has ever been published.   The Government promised the people of Scotland, and this Parliament, detailed proposals for independence – the opportunities of independence, the benefits for individuals, families, communities and the nation as a whole and the practicalities of how we move from a Yes vote in September next year to becoming an independent country in March 2016.

Scotland’s Future provides all of this detail and more.

I realise that members will need time to read and digest the contents of this landmark document.

The Government has therefore made time for a full debate tomorrow afternoon, and I am sure that there will be many opportunities to discuss and debate the detail of it, both in parliament and across the country, in the months leading up to the referendum.

Today I want to set out the key themes of Scotland’s Future and provide information on how the Government intends to raise awareness of it and ensure that the public knows how to access the guide and the detailed information that it contains.

As members will be aware,  the guide is in five parts.

Part one gives an overview of the compelling case for independence and describes what our newly independent Scotland will look like.

Part two sets out the financial strengths of our country, forecasts Scotland’s fiscal position at the point of independence, and makes clear how this government – if elected in 2016 to be the first government of an independent Scotland – would deliver our early priorities within sound public finances.

Part three details the benefits and opportunities of independence across the entire range of government responsibilities that will transfer from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament in the event of a Yes vote and illustrates, through a set of Scottish Government policy choices, how we can start to use the new powers of independence to grow our economy and tackle the inequality that is so unacceptable in our rich country.

Part four describes how we will become independent – the negotiations, agreements and preparations that will be required in the transition period between a Yes vote next year and Independence Day on 24 March 2016. It also considers the opportunity that independence will give us to develop a modern, written constitution fit for the 21st century.

And, finally, Part 5, provides a comprehensive set of answers – 650 in all – to the range of questions that we have been asked about the practicalities of independence.

Read the full statement here.

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