POLITICS

For Scottish Independence: Arguments And Reasons For A Yes Vote

04/03/2014 14:47 GMT | Updated 04/03/2014 14:59 GMT
Lesley Martin/PA Wire
First Minister Alex Salmond making a speech during a march and rally in Edinburgh, calling for a Yes vote in next year's independence referendum. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 21, 2013. The event appeared to draw crowds from across the country, with marchers filling the top half of the Royal Mile before wending their way along a city centre route. During the day, the gathered crowds were expected to hear speeches from key figures in the pro-independence movement such as First Minister Alex Salmond and his deputy Nicola Sturgeon. The campaigners gathered in the city's High Street before heading slowly along North Bridge, Waterloo Place and Regent Road towards the final destination of Calton Hill. A range of groups took part in the protest, from political parties to organisations such as Farming for YES and Football Supporters for Independence. See PA story POLITICS Scotland. Photo credit should read: Lesley Martin/PA Wire

The Scottish independence referendum on September 18 could result in the break-up of the United Kingdom. The SNP has issued a 670-page White paper that sets out the gains that could be achieved through independence. The Scottish government has also distilled the benefits down to a more digestible list, set out below.

  • Decisions about Scotland will be taken by the people who care most about Scotland – those who live and work here
  • An independent Parliament elected entirely by people in Scotland will replace the current Westminster system. Under that system, elected representatives from Scotland make up just 9 per cent of the 650 members of the House of Commons; the House of Lords is wholly unelected
  • Governments will always be formed by parties that win elections in Scotland. It will no longer be possible for key decisions to be made by governments that do not command the support of the Scottish electorate
  • A guarantee that tax and social security rates will be set in line with the wishes of the people of Scotland. That will mean an end to the imposition on Scotland of policies like the “bedroom tax”
  • Public services can be kept in public hands. The Scottish Parliament has the power to keep the NHS in public hands but it could not stop other services such as the Royal Mail being privatised by Westminster
  • An economic policy aimed at economic stability and job security in Scotland will replace an economic policy which disproportionately benefits London and the South East of England
  • Access to our own resources – for every one of the last 32 years estimates show Scotland has generated more tax per head than the UK as a whole. With independence, decisions about the level and allocation of public spending will be taken here in Scotland
  • An economic policy that can be tailored to take advantage of Scotland’s world-class universities and key growth industries like food and drink, life sciences, and tourism
  • An independent Scotland can invest our oil wealth for future generations.
  • By value there is estimated to be as much North Sea oil still to come as has already been extracted. Norway has a savings fund worth more than £470 billion
  • Our taxes will not be used to pay for nuclear weapons and we can remove Trident from Scotland for good
  • A transformational extension of childcare, giving our children the best start in life, making it easier for parents – especially mothers – to return to work and delivering new job opportunities
  • Abolition of the “bedroom tax” which will save 82,500 households in Scotland – including 63,500 households with a disabled adult and 15,500 households with children – an average of £50 per month
  • A halt to the rollout of Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments in Scotland allowing future Scottish governments to develop reforms to our welfare system that meet our needs
  • The first steps towards a fairer tax system by ensuring that basic rate tax allowances and tax credits rise at least in line with inflation, and ending of the married couples tax allowance and abolishing the Shares for Rights scheme
  • Pensioners’ incomes protected with the triple lock so that pensions increase by either inflation, earnings, or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest
  • Simplification of the tax system to reduce compliance costs, streamline reliefs and help to reduce tax avoidance, with a target revenue gain of £250 million a year by the end of the first term
  • Return of the Royal Mail to public ownership in Scotland, guaranteeing the quality of service that all parts of our country currently enjoy
  • A Fair Work Commission and a guarantee that the minimum wage will rise at least in line with inflation. Over the last five years, this would have improved the earnings of the lowest paid Scots by the equivalent of £675. Continued support for the living wage for central government staff and promotion of it for other sectors of the Scottish economy
  • A timetable for reducing the rate of corporation tax by up to three percentage points to counter the gravitational business pull of London
  • Examination of further help for small businesses, for example with national insurance costs to encourage them to create more jobs
  • Reduction in Air Passenger Duty by 50 per cent, with a view to abolishing it when public finances allow
  • Support for energy efficiency and the roll out of green technology from central government budgets to reduce energy bills by around 5 per cent