Answers

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about an independent Scotland. If you do not see the information you are looking for, you can submit a question using the form on the bottom of the page.

  • The franchise for the referendum has been finalised by the Scottish Parliament, after the general principles were agreed by the UK and Scottish Governments in October 2012.

    The list of those who are eligible to vote is almost the same as the list of those who can vote in Scottish Parliament and local authority elections, with the addition of 16 and 17 year olds who have not previously been able to vote.

    This means that the following groups of people will be entitled to register to vote:

  • The referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country is an entirely separate matter from which political party, if any, you usually support.

    Supporters of Yes (just like supporters of the No campaign) have a range of different views.  

    For example, the Yes Scotland Advisory Board is chaired by former Labour MP Dennis Canavan, and also includes, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Greens' Patrick Harvie, the SSP’s Colin Fox, as well as people who have no party political background.

  • The Scottish Government has set out details of how Scotland can move smoothly towards independence after a Yes vote in two documents.  Firstly, “Scotland’s Future: from the referendum to independence and a written constitution”, sets out a timetable for positive and co-operative negotiations between the Scottish and UK Governments, and proposes a modern written constitution to protect the rights of Scotland’s citizens and reflecting the values of its people.

  • Scotland's Home Rule and independence movements have been peaceful, civic and democratic. This is something we should be proud of and the fact we will move to independence only after a fair and democratic vote, which has been agreed by all the political parties, gives us a guarantee that the process of independence will be peaceful and consensual.
  • Scotland, through its Climate Change Act, has set ambitious carbon emissions reduction targets. The rest of the UK and many other countries across Europe also have legally binding carbon emissions targets to meet.

    By 2020, Scotland is set to meet all of its electricity needs, and much of its heat requirements, from renewable sources such as wind, wave, tidal, solar and biomass.

  • In terms of rights and accrued entitlements to private pensions, there will be no changes on independence. This is because private pensions are a private matter between individuals and their pension providers.
  • As the Scottish Government confirms in its white paper, "Scotland's Future: Your Guide to Scottish Independence", a Yes vote will not affect current cross-border arrangements with health services in the rest of the UK. These arrangements exist despite the fact the NHS in Scotland already operates independently - so independence for Scotland will not change that. 

  • Because policy for universities, including tuition fees, is already under the control of the Scottish Government and Parliament, independence will not have any immediate impact on this issue.

    Whether or not Scotland continues with the policy of free tuition will depend on who is elected to form the Scottish Government at the elections scheduled for May 2016.  

  • The Scottish Government proposes to agree the terms of Scotland’s continued membership of the European Union between the date of the referendum, and the proposed date of independence in March 2016.
  • The Scottish Government has published its detailed proposals for pensions in an independent Scotland, including the state pension and related benefits.
  • Yes - without any doubt. The most recent national accounts for Scotland show that our national finances are in a healthier condition than the rest of the UK. This means we are better able to afford current levels of spending on things like the NHS.

    In fact, we have one of the best sets of national accounts of any nation in the developed world.

  • The Scottish Government has published detailed proposals for pensions in an independent Scotland, including public sector pensions. A Yes vote offers the opportunity to ensure future negotiations will be positive and inclusive.
  • Building a fairer society has been and remains at the heart of the Yes Scotland campaign.
  • Public services currently within the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament or local councils, like the police and schools, will not change as a result of independence, as these services are already run independently in Scotland.

  • On independence day in 2016, benefits will continue to be paid as they are just now.
  • On independence, Scotland will inherit the barracks, air bases and naval bases on its territory, including Faslane. These will form the starting point for a new Scottish Defence Force.
  • Scotland will continue to produce oil and gas into the second half of this century. As the UK Government’s own Oil and Gas Industrial Strategy (published in March 2013) confirms - “According to Oil & Gas UK’s Activity Survey, the reality is that the UK will continue to supply oil and gas well beyond 2055.” (p24).

    There will be opportunities beyond this in terms of supply of our skills internationally, and in taking forward a programme for decommissioning. At the same time, new opportunities will be opening up, particularly in industries such as renewable energy.  

  • The question is not whether Scotland can afford to be independent. We have the people, resources and ingenuity to prosper. Instead we should be asking, why isn’t Scotland doing better, given all the natural and human wealth we enjoy?
  • At the outset, the immigration system would be similar to what exists now, and it would then of course depend on who was elected as the Scottish Government as to what changes would be introduced.
  • There is a general consensus in Scotland against the presence of nuclear weapons here because they are immoral, they are incredibly expensive and almost useless in terms of protecting us against the most significant threats to our national security.

    We know already that the current Scottish Government's priorities for defence would include removal of Trident nuclear submarines from the Faslane naval base within the first five year term of an independent Scottish Parliament.

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