- 5 updates
One of the biggest policy announcements in the White Paper is an expansion of free childcare:
- Every three- and four-year-old could benefit from 1,140 hours of free childcare - equivalent to 30 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year
- This would require a "substantial increase in the workforce" creating about 35,000 jobs
- Policy would be "affordable and sustainable" but there is little detail on the cost
The White Paper on Scottish independence has been revealed by the SNP, here are some of its main points:
- Cut corporation tax by 3%.
- Cut air passenger duty by 50%.
- Keep pound - just as much Scotland's and the UK's.
- No requirement for Scotland to raise the general rate of taxation to fund existing levels of spending.
- End married couple tax allowance.
- Increase benefits in line with inflation.
- Early learning and childcare from the age of one to when they enter school.
- Look again at pension age rise to 67.
- Halt roll out of UC and pip and bedroom tax.
- Stay as member of EU.
- We would make early agreement on the speediest safe removal of nuclear weapons.
- Scrap BBC. Replace with SBS Scottish Broadcasting Service.
The debate over Scottish independence has brought the future of the Union Flag into focus.
The Union Flag, which was adopted in 1801, combines the crosses of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but there are doubts over the long term future of the symbol if Scotland gains independence next September.
However, the College of Arms has told ITV News that there are no plans to change the Union Flag if Scotland becomes an independent state.
The authority for official flags for the UK and the Commonwealth said the Queen would remain the head of state in an independent Scotland, and therefore the Union Flag would not be affected.
The Scottish Government published its White Paper on independence this morning, outlining the overriding reasons why Scotland should leave the United Kingdom and become a separate state.
Here are some of the main details contained in the White Paper on Scottish independence:
- The SNP estimate they will inherit £1,267 billion debt from UK but look to offset that against share of assets
- Pensioners will enjoy an up-rated pension of £1.10 extra per week
- Bedroom tax will be abolished
- Universal Credit roll out will be stopped
- Corporation tax will be cut by 3 percent
- Air passenger duty will be cut by 50 percent
- Energy bills will be cut by 5 percent through various environmental initiatives
- End to the married couples allowance due to be introduced in 2015
- Childcare will be increased to 30 hours a week
Deputy Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined Alex Salmond on stage to launch the SNP's White Paper.
She envisages 24th March 2016 as the date, should Scotland vote yes, for the country to become an independent country.
Sturgeon's particular focus within this white paper addresses the topics of women and child, the bedroom tax and welfare reform, and pensions.
The SNP has set out shop with a proposal that Scotland become independent, it intends to provide free child care for all pre-school children.
This is a policy, they say, that is dual purpose; good for the youngest children and their parents.
It would also mean that by supporting more women to go into the workplace, it would generate more tax revenues.