Scotland faces a key choice in 2014: whether it becomes independent or whether things stay as they are. We know you have many questions - about the economy, about the NHS, about our welfare system, about defence and many other issues. We are keen to provide the answers. For a start, here's a selection of the most commonly asked questions about an independent Scotland.
If you have any other questions about our country's future we'd be happy to answer them. Just fill in the form at the bottom of this page and we'll post the answers on this site.
Why become independent?
There are many reasons people support independence, but for most it is because they believe independence will allow us to create a fairer and more prosperous country. They look at all the resources Scotland has, our ingenuity as a people, and they wonder why we aren’t doing better? They ask themselves, if current arrangements are so good, why is Scotland so unequal?
How will an independent Scotland be different?
Becoming independent is just the starting point. It will be the people who live in Scotland who will be in charge. That’s why being independent will mean a fairer and more successful Scotland. We’ll be able to take the right decisions for our future, based on our shared values and priorities and using our wealth of resources and talent.
How will we become independent?
Scotland will be independent only when the people of Scotland vote for it. The decision is yours to take.
- First: the Scottish Government must make sure the referendum is fair and meets the highest international standards.
- Second: the people of Scotland must get all the information they need to make this choice. In 2013 the Scottish Government will publish a White Paper setting out the full case for being independent. Between now and then, we will be providing you with more information and answering key questions, which you can submit.
- Third: the referendum itself will be held in autumn 2014.
Will Scotland continue to be a member of the EU?
An independent Scotland will remain an integral part of the European Union and will not have to re-apply for EU membership from the outside.
Can we afford it?
Scotland has, in fact, had a current account surplus in two of the past five years (we’ve been “in the black”), and a balanced budget in one of the years. This is one of the best financial records in Europe. In contrast, the UK has had a current account deficit in each and every one of those same 5 years. Scotland is in a stronger financial position than most other independent nations. That means we have strong enough financial foundations to become an independent country.
Will we be financially secure?
Scotland is fortunate to have, for the next 40 years, revenues from oil & gas. The wholesale value of that oil & gas is over £1 trillion – that’s 10 times our share of the UK national debt. This is a massive safety net and one that gives Scotland, if we become independent, the sort of financial protection that very few other nations have.
Will the Queen still be our Head of State?
Scotland is currently a monarchy and will remain so until the people of Scotland decide otherwise.
The proposal of the current Scottish Government, which will feature in the white paper on independence due to be published in 2013, is that with independence, the Queen will remain Head of State in Scotland.
What about pensions in an independent Scotland?
Many of you have asked how pensions, both state and private, will be affected in an independent Scotland.
Click the "Read more" link below to see the answers to a range of questions about pensions in an independent Scotland.