Prime minister David Cameron and Scottish frst minister Alex Salmond are to meet in Edinburgh on Monday to finalise arrangements for a historic referendum on Scottish independence.

If agreed, the plan envisages a vote north of the border in the autumn of 2014.

The referendum ballot paper is expected to have a single yes/no question on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.

It is also expected that the agreement will make provisions for many Scottish 16-year-olds to vote in the referendum.

Downing Street declined to confirm reports of the timing and location of the meeting, saying only that Mr Cameron will meet the first minister "shortly".

In common with the leaders of the other major British parties, Mr Cameron has pledged to campaign hard against Scottish independence, which is the key political goal of Mr Salmond's Scottish National Party.

The announcement came after "substantial progress" was made on Tuesday in discussions between the Westminster and Holyrood governments over how and when the referendum should be held.
scottish referendum

Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish secretary Michael Moore have been paving for the way for the leaders to meet again

Discussions included the use of a Section 30 order which would transfer power to Holyrood to legislate on the referendum.

A joint statement issued by the Scottish government and the Scotland Office after the meeting said: "Further substantial progress towards agreement was reached this afternoon between the Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon and the secretary of state Michael Moore.

"Officials have now been tasked with doing some further work on the final detail of the agreement.

"We are however on track for the full agreement, including the terms of a section 30 order, to be presented to the first minister and the prime minister over the next few days."