Scottish Independence Faq

Scottish Independence Faq

This is a list of commonly asked question complied to be used as a quick reference to some facts, dont let the media fog your judgement, investigate for yourself, the vote on Scottish Independence should  not be taken lightly, its better to be armed with the truth rather than the propaganda!
For more information on Scottish Independence, please continue to our blog!

  • Affordability - Can Scotland afford to be independent?

    The most recent available statistics show Scotland received 9.3% of UK spending to run our services, but generated 9.9% of UK taxes.  In 2011/12, Scotland’s finances were stronger than the UK’s as a whole by £4.4 billion, or £824 per person according to official National Statistics.

  • Banks - Could an independent Scotland have bailed out the banks?

    Scotland could have met its share of the Scottish bank bailouts, which cost the tax payer £66 billion (not the £470 billion quoted by Better Together – which includes guarantees that were never paid out on). When banks which operate in more than one country require a bailout, the costs are shared in proportion to where the activities of those banks take place.  So for example, RBS also received support from the US – while Fortis bank received support from Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg.  In the case of RBS, 90% of its operations are in England and 10% are in Scotland.  But what’s important is we learn from the UK’s mistakes – just like Sweden ensured there was no repeat of its own banking crisis in the early 1990s.

  • Benefits - What will happen to the benefits and tax credits I currently receive?

    Yes. An independent Scotland would have all the same benefits we have now. 

    With the measure of independence Scotland already has in areas such as health, we have been able to abolish NHS prescription charges - while they go up to £7.85 in England.  In the election for the first independent Parliament in 2016, people will have the opportunity to vote for a party that holds the same aims and ambitions for Scotland as they have, whether that's keeping prescriptions free, or helping with heating costs.

  • Citizenship - Who will be eligible for Scottish citizenship?

    We anticipate a broad definition of citizenship including qualification through both residency and birth, and provision for dual citizenship too. Detailed plans regarding qualification for citizenship in an independent Scotland will be published later this year.  After independence, it will be for elected Scottish governments to consider any further changes.

  • Currency - Does using the pound mean losing control over monetary and fiscal policy?

    Monetary policy would continue to be decided independently by the Bank of England, taking account of economic conditions across the currency zone – just as it is just now.  And limits on excessive spending and borrowing are sensible for any government, including Scotland’s.   As the expert Fiscal Commission Working Group pointed out, this framework would provide the country with “key new levers for the government to grow the economy and to tackle challenges in Scottish society and Scotland's economy”.

  • Currency - What currency will be used in an independent Scotland?

    Scotland will continue to use the pound, and it is widely agreed that this provides the best starting point for an independent Scotland.  The international economists on the Scottish Government’s Fiscal Commission Working Group argued that retaining the pound after independence would be in the interests of both Scotland and the rest of the UK due to our trade and financial links.

    The recommendation of the Working Group and Scottish Government policy is for Scotland to enter a formal monetary union with the rest of the UK with the Bank of England operating as central bank for the 'Sterling Zone', just as it does just now.   There are many countries around the world in currency unions.

  • Debt - What will Scotland's share of the national debt be?

    Precise arrangements for sharing national debt will be subject to negotiation.  The Scottish Government's Fiscal Commission working group, which includes two Nobel Laureates, provided estimates in February 2013. These look forward to a point after Scotland would be independent. They say that if Scotland assumed a population share of UK public sector net debt, in 2017-18 our debt would be equivalent to 72% of Scotland's national wealth. This would be lower than the equivalent UK figure of 77%.

  • Defence - How will Scotland defend itself?

    There is a consensus in Scotland that nuclear weapons are immoral, illegal, irrelevant to our real defence needs, and should be removed.  An independent Scotland could save our share of the money from the current cost of nuclear weapons and the additional cost of a replacement for Trident.  The Scottish Government propose to use Faslane as a conventional naval base, ensuring it has a secure future.

  • Energy - Do we have enough energy to power Scotland?

    Yes, Scotland currently produces a surplus in electricity generation which we send to help power the rest of the UK.

    At present, Scotland has total energy generating capacity from all fuel sources of just over 12 GigaWatts. By 2020, we will have the capacity to produce 100% of electricity demand from renewable sources like wind. Scotland has wind, wave and tidal energy potential of 60GW - six times current capacity. We have 25% of Europe's wind and tidal and 10% of wave energy potential, with some estimates suggesting this could be worth £14 billion each year.

    North Sea oil will last for at least another 40 years, and if we use the revenues wisely, we will build up an Oil Fund fund that will continue to generate income for many decades beyond that.

  • EU - Would our voice in Europe be weaker?

    On the contrary, it would be stronger!  Currently the Scottish Government has no votes on the vital issues decided by the EU Council of Ministers.  On independence, Scotland could expect to hold around 7 votes on the council (based on what similar sized countries enjoy).  Overall, if Scotland and the rest of the UK voted the same way, they would have more votes than now.  Similarly, while Scotland has only 6 MEPs just now (just one more than Malta and Luxemburg), on independence it could reasonably expect to have around 12 or 13. 

  • EU - Would Scotland have to reapply for membership to the EU?

    Scotland would be a member of the European Union on the date it became independent.  It is now widely accepted that the time between the independence referendum in autumn 2014 and the proposed independence day of March 2016 is sufficient time to complete all the necessary negotiations for continued membership.  Even the UK Government’s international law adviser has agreed this is a “realistic” timetable.  Scotland would continue to enjoy the benefits that come with being part of a single market of 500 million people.  

  • Euro - Will Scotland be forced to join the Euro?

    No.  It is a matter of choice as to whether a country joins the Exchange Rate Mechanism II – and two year’s membership is a criteria for adopting the Euro.  This is the same position that Sweden is in – part of the EU, but not part of the Euro. An independent Scotland will keep the pound.

  • Fairer - How will Scotland be fairer?

    All the decisions that affect people in Scotland will be taken by a parliament and government 100% accountable to the people of Scotland. At present, Scotland is governed by a Tory-led administration at Westminster, but the Tories only have one MP.  In a House of Commons vote, over 90% of Scottish MPs voted against the Bedroom Tax - but it is being imposed in Scotland regardless.

    With independence, Scotland will finally have a say over major decisions such as getting rid of the Bedroom Tax, removing Trident nuclear weapons, and acting on fuel duty.

  • Government - What happens to Government departments?

    There will be new government departments based in Scotland. We will have our own Treasury and Department of Foreign Affairs. But instead of paying for these services to be based in London, we will have them in Scotland, creating jobs here and boosting the Scottish economy.

    And where we already run things independently – the NHS, education, local government and our legal system – things will continue to operate in the same way as they do now.

  • Health - Will Scotland still have free prescriptions?

    Yes. An independent Scotland would have all the same benefits we have now. 

    In 2016, you'll have the opportunity to vote for a party that holds the same aims and ambitions for Scotland as you have, whether that's keeping prescriptions free, or helping with heating costs.

  • Investment - Would businesses invest in an independent Scotland?

    Scotland already has the best record of any part of the UK - including London - in landing jobs from inward investment.  And with the additional economic powers of independence, we can do even better.  In recent years, Samsung, Taqa, Avaloq, FMC Technologies, Amazon, Aker, Ineos, PetroChina, Dell, Gamesa, BNY Mellon, State Street, Hewlett-Packard and Mitsubishi Powers Systems have all announced investment in Scotland to the tune of £400 million. 

    With independence we can create more financial incentives to encourage businesses to invest in Scotland.

  • Jobs - What will happen to people in Scotland employed by companies from other parts of the UK?

    People employed in Scotland by companies based in the rest of the UK (or further afield) would of course continue in the same employment.  Today, around 16% of Scotland’s private sector employees work for enterprises that are owned outside the UK – without any problems.  We would continue to encourage investment in Scotland – from the rest of the UK, our fellow EU members and from across the planet.   In recent years Scotland has outperformed every other part of the UK - including London - in terms of attracting inward investment jobs.  And with full economic powers, we can do even better.

  • Laws - Will existing laws continue in force after independence?

    Yes - all the laws in force in Scotland prior to independence would continue to apply, until such time as they were changed in future by the independent Parliament.  This reflects the continuity of law principle, and is similar to the transition to devolution in 1999 - all the laws previously passed by Westminster continued in operation until they were changed by the new Scottish Parliament.

  • Mortgages - Will my mortgage rate be affected?

    Banks base their mortgages on the interest rate set independently by the Bank of England, which in a sterling zone would be exactly the same for Scotland as for the rest of the UK, just as it is now.

  • NHS - Will it still exist?

    Yes, the National Health Service is currently run by the Scottish Parliament and Government and will remain so.  In terms of health policy, Scotland is already effectively independent.

    The Scottish Government will continue to fund all the health services it currently provides, including cross-border services.  Medical experts have already made clear that the contracts already in place to provide for cross-border treatment would carry on in exactly the same way.

    EU Directives protect our access to cross-border treatment, and there are also seperate agreements in place with countries outwith Europe.

  • Oil - Do we rely too much on oil? What else does Scotland have?

    According to the Scottish Government’s Fiscal Commission Working Group – which includes two Nobel Prize winning economists – “By international standards Scotland is a wealthy and productive country. There is no doubt that Scotland has the potential to be a successful independent nation”.   We have many other strong industries on which Scotland can build.  We have 25% of the EU’s offshore tidal and wind energy potential, worth up to £14 billion per year.  We have the strongest university research base in the world for our size, and key strengths in tourism, food and drink, the financial sector, engineering and life sciences.  Even without oil and gas, Scotland’s wealth per head of population is 99% of the UK’s, and ranks behind only London and the South East of England on this measure. 

  • Oil - Is it running out?

    North Sea oil and gas will flow for at least another forty years.  There are estimated to be up to 24 billion barrels of oil remaining in the North Sea – worth up to £1.5 trillion in real terms.  This means more than half of the value of North Sea oil and gas is still to be extracted.   Norway has established an oil fund now worth £447 billion.  The UK Government has raised around £300 billion (in today’s prices) in direct taxes from oil and gas production – and the people of Scotland have almost nothing to show for it.  It's time to build a Scottish Oil Fund for the future. 

  • Oil - Who gets Scotland's oil?

    International law dictates that around 90% of the UK’s oil revenues come from the Scottish sector of the Continental Shelf. 

  • Pensions - What will happen to my pension?

    Pensions and benefits are more affordable for Scotland than they are for the UK - whereas 38% of Scottish tax revenues need to be spent on pensions and benefits, the figure for the UK is a bigger 42%.

    An independent Scotland would acquire the same pension obligations as the UK currently holds.

    Your entitlement would remain the same, and you would receive your state pension in the same way as you do now, although it would be paid by the Scottish Government rather than the Department of Work and Pensions.

  • Queen - Will the Queen still be our Head of State?

    The Queen is currently Head of State in Scotland, and would remain so in an independent Scotland.

    SNP policy is to retain the monarchy, on a similar basis to her role in Australia and Canada.  At present, the Queen is Head of State of 16 Commonwealth countries - Scotland would be the 17th.

  • Royal Mail - What happens to Royal Mail and my post?

    An independent Scottish Government will maintain existing postal services in the interests of people both north and south of the Border.

  • Size - Is Scotland too small to be independent?

    No - of nearly 200 independent countries, around half are smaller than Scotland.  Seven of the ten wealthiest countries in the OECD have populations of less than 10 million, including 4 that are very similar to or smaller than Scotland.  Looking at life expectancy, education and income, half of the top 20 countries on the UN Human Development Index have populations of less than 10 million - including five that are smaller than Scotland. 

  • Taxation - What will the tax system look like?

    At first our taxation system would be the same as it is just now.  It would then be for future Scottish Governments to decide which improvements to the tax system would work best for Scotland.    An independent Scottish Government would have many options to improve sustainable growth and promote fairness, including competitive business tax to boost investment, jobs and revenue.  For example:

    • changes to income tax and national insurance to promote new and  developing businesses or to establish fairer tax bands;
    • providing incentives to aid the development of new technologies like renewables;
    • targeting economic policy to assist important sectors that have a particularly significant impact on the Scottish economy – perhaps varying VAT rates to support the tourism and hospitality sectors;
    • using tools such as tax credits, or simplifying rules on  intellectual property to boost research and development.

    The very fact that we are smaller means that we can be more flexible and responsive to the needs and demands of the Scottish economy and Scotland’s people.

  • University fees - Would Scottish students still get free education?

    In terms of education policy, Scotland is already effectively independent - which is why we have been able to abolish tuition fees and maintain free education, even as tuition fees have soared in England and student numbers have plummeted.  With full independence, people would be able to vote for parties which are committed to maintaining Scotland's tradition of free education.

  • Voting in the referendum - Who is eligible to vote in the referendum?

    Under the terms of the Edinburgh Agreement, powers to hold the referendum were transferred to the Scottish Parliament. The referendum will be held under the same rules as Scottish Parliamentary elections, other than the Scottish Government is extending the vote to everyone who will be 16 or 17 at the time of the referendum.  For further information on how to register to vote, please see http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/

  • Why independence?

    The best people to make decisions about the future of Scotland are the people who care most about it - that is, the people of Scotland.  Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. But we also have key problems to address – our rate of economic growth has been 40% lower than in equivalent, independent countries over the past 50 years, and we suffer from problems of inequality with 1 in 5 Scottish children living in poverty.  With the full powers to tackle these problems, we would give ourselves the opportunity to make our nation a more prosperous and fairer place to live, for this and future generations. 

  • X marks the spot - What will the ballot paper say, and how will future elections be run in an independent Scotland?

    The question, as approved by the Electoral Commission, is:

    Do you agree Scotland should be an independent country?

    If Scotland votes Yes in the referendum, Scotland will elect the first independent Parliament in the election that is scheduled for May 2016.  Since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, we have had fixed term parliaments of typically 4-years.  This system would continue to operate.  The SNP will contest these elections along with other political parties, but it will be up to the people of Scotand to choose the government they want at each election.  That is one of the great benefits of independence - Scotland always gets the governments we want, unlike the situation now when we have a Tory-led government at Westminster even though the Tories have just one MP in Scotland.

  • Yes Scotland - What is it?

    Yes Scotland is the organisation representing the political parties, organisations and individuals campaigning for a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.   You can find out more at www.yesscotland.net

  • Zoo - What happens to the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo?

    The pandas are here on a 10-year loan, with the agreement signed between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA). They would remain in Scotland in the event of independence - the assertion to the contrary by politicians supporting the No campaign was a particularly ludicrous piece of scaremongering.

 

Comments

  • Please please please change this light blue text to something darker, im getting a headache from trying to read it!

    Chris JacksonApril 16, 2013
    • haha sorry about that, your the only complaint!
      I will resolve this tonight for you as long as you promise to vote yes..
      only kidding..
      I will get the text colour changed today/tonight at some point.

      sorry about that.

      IndependentScotApril 16, 2013
  • Oh yes lets keep the English/pound money system….I mean every time i hear a news caster say “And the bank of England raised the interest rate today” i never really knew what that meant until recently. It means that the bank of England is a PRIVATE bank owned by investors. They print money for the government, but attach interest to that money. WE PAY this interest perpetually to the banks investors, and have been for many years. Therefore when the bank of England raises the interest rate, its the interest on the money in your pocket. Its been postulated that paying the rich goes away with most of our working tax, hence the government has to find hundreds of ways of stealth taxing us with VAT, road tax, fuel tax etc….This is why we are one of the most taxed countries in the world. This system is called fractional banking, and a quick look on youtube will reveal EVERYTHING about this corrupt system that no politician ever talks about. Only two men have ever publicly stated their intention to be rid of this morally corrupt system and they were dead within one week of saying so; they were Lincoln and Kennedy. Of course this system of banking is also integral to the equally corrupt maritime/ corporate legal system we have been duped into contracting with. John Harris (Its an Illusion) youtube will bring it all home to you. Now why would Mr Salmond really want to retain such a corrupt monetary system. Why is this not on the agenda for discussion. Is this fractional banking to be retained in a free Scotland, were they even going to tell you about it…..I very much doubt it! Rather it was going to be quietly put back into place when we were watching the Xfactor with a nice glass of wine…..

    Ray TrustyMay 13, 2013
  • I think you have the wrong wording in 32. The question will be ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ not ‘Do you agree…’.

    AirttethJune 24, 2013
  • Thanks, its been corrected now.

    AdminMay 12, 2013

Leave a Reply