Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP Jamie Hepburn is urging all local residents to get involved in the referendum debate by reading the Scottish Government’s flagship guide to independence.
The 670-page document, which Mr Hepburn says is the most comprehensive blueprint for independence ever produced by any country ahead of an independence vote, was launched to an audience of hundreds of journalists from across the globe.
The document ‘Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to An Independent Scotland’ contains a comprehensive question and answer section, running to more than 200 pages, providing answers to 650 questions on independence.
The answers – along with downloadable copies of “Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to An Independent Scotland” - are available at www.scotreferendum.com as a fully searchable resource so that those interested can easily find the answers they are looking for ahead of the referendum.
Mr Hepburn says the guide shows how Scotland will move from a Yes vote on September 18, next year, toward its independence on March 24, 2016 – ahead of the first elections in an independent Scotland.
He explained the guide also describes the huge financial savings that can be made – including half a billion pounds on defence spending, and savings from no longer contributing to the funding of the Westminster Parliament.
Besides addressing the various questions asked about what independence offers, Scotland’s Future also outlines the Scottish Government’s ambitious plans to use the powers to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country – should the SNP win the first elections of an independent Scotland in 2016.
At the heart of this is a transformational increase in childcare provision that would help more people into work – particularly women – and provide up to 35,000 jobs in the process.
Mr Hepburn says this only becomes possible with the powers offered by independence, because only an independent Scotland would have the resources to make it happen.
Currently all the increased tax revenues that would help make the policy affordable would go to the Westminster treasury, rather than staying in Scotland.
As well as guarantees on the minimum wage and a ‘triple lock’ on pension increases to ensure that they rise at least in line with the cost of living, the Scottish Government also proposes new measures to permanently reduce energy bills by 5 per cent and ensure basic rate tax allowances and credits to rise in line at least with inflation.
Mr Hepburn said: “Today is another important step forward in the debate about Scotland’s future and this landmark document takes the referendum debate into a new phase.
“The people of Scotland have never had an opportunity like that presented by the referendum on 18 September, next year.
“It is vital that everyone who intends to take part in this referendum takes the time to look into the cases for and against independence.
“Now we have a comprehensive prospectus from the Scottish Government of what a vote for independence would mean and a clear road map for how we get there.
“No country in history is as well-equipped as Scotland is to move toward independence.
“Even the staunchest opponents of Yes, including senior members of the No campaign, now accept that Scotland has got what it takes to be an independent country.
“This document shows clearly and simply the difference that we can make in Scotland if decisions on Scotland’s future are taken by those who care most about Scotland, that is the people who live and work here.
“That’s why I’m calling on everyone in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth - regardless of what their current views are on independence - to read this guide, to compare it with any alternative future for Scotland and make up your own mind.”