SNP are 'fired up and optimistic' says ITV Border's Political Editor Peter MacMahon
A look at the highlights from the Scottish Cabinet's two day visit to Hawick in the Scottish Borders.
Nicola Sturgeon used her speech on the final day of the SNP conference in Perth to launch an attack the UK government's welfare reforms.
South African flag flying at half-mast alongside the Saltire outside Scottish Government headquarters http://t.co/B3D7S5Ar4G
First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“The death of Nelson Mandela marks the passing of a great statesman and a global icon, so it is only appropriate that we here in Scotland, a land Mr Mandela had great affinity with, mark his passing appropriately.
“That is why I have today instructed that the South African national flag should fly at half-mast alongside the Saltire outside St Andrew's House in Edinburgh.
“The whole world is marking the loss of a great leader – all of Scotland feels that loss, and we join the people of South Africa in particular in marking Mr Mandela’s passing.”
Speaking ahead of the White Paper launch, First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“We are setting out a positive plan for job opportunities and economic growth based on Scotland’s vast natural resources, key growth sectors and human talent.
“The Scottish Government is setting out plans for the future, and we will seek to engage the whole Scottish population in a debate about how to build a better Scotland.
“We will set out a series of reasonable proposals and ask people to judge for themselves this common-sense approach.
“The white paper will detail how Scotland’s public finances are healthier than the UK’s and will show that we have raised more in tax per head than the UK as a whole for every one of the last 30 years.
“As well as demonstrating these firm foundations, the white paper will put the focus of the referendum campaign firmly on Scotland’s future and the issues that matters most to people - jobs, economic growth and security.
– First Minister Alex Salmond
“It will make the economic, social and democratic case for independence and show that the better Scotland we all seek can only be achieved by putting the decisions about Scotland’s future in the hands of the people of Scotland.
“Everyone in Scotland should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and to make a contribution to our society. This white paper will show that with the powers of independence we can and will grow our economy, boost our population, and ensure everyone in Scotland benefits from our wealth."
First Minister Alex Salmond has revealed the date the Scottish Government will publish its detailed blueprint for independence.
The White Paper will come out on Tuesday 26 November, Mr Salmond told the SNP conference in Perth. More to follow...
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond will use his keynote speech at SNP Conference to say that a Yes vote in next year’s independence referendum will be “an act of national self-confidence and self-belief”.
The SNP leader will argue that the devolved Scottish Parliament has delivered a “taste of independence” with policies to make Scotland a better and fairer country. Mr Salmond will say:
“A Yes vote is not about a victory for the SNP, or even a victory for the Yes campaign – or even the huge coalition of interests and enthusiasm that supports a Yes vote. be, above all, an act of national self-confidence and self - belief.''
“The case for independence is about what is best for people in Scotland wherever they come from. It is about who should be taking decisions about Scotland: those who live here or politicians at Westminster.
“This central question of who should be taking decisions is not an academic argument. It is a common sense argument based on our experience. "
Alex Salmond will deliver his keynote speech tomorrow to the last Scottish National Party conference before the independence referendum next year.
Ahead of that, the First Minister spoke to our Political Editor, Peter MacMahon, at the SNP conference in Perth.
Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister, has told the SNP conference that an Independent Scotland would bring about a "real and lasting cut in Scottish energy bills."
"I can announce today that an SNP government in an independent Scotland will remove the cost of energy saving measures and the warm home discount from energy bills. We will provide that funding from central government resources.
"That will mean direct government funding for fuel poverty schemes of at least £200 million per year.
"That money will be spent in a fully joined up way, on schemes designed in Scotland to meet Scottish circumstances.
"And this won't just allow us to deliver our energy efficiency schemes more effectively. It will also save hard-pressed consumers money.
"We estimate that it will cut energy bills by around 5% - or £70 a year.
"Not a short term measure - but a real and lasting cut in Scottish energy bills."
The Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been addressing the SNP conference this afternoon in Perth.
In her speech today, she mentioned the departure of the former Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore, and said that it was as a result of the message he sent at the live debate, "not the messenger."
"Michael might be a political opponent but he is a decent man who helped deliver the Edinburgh Agreement. We wish him all the best.
"Of course, it has been said that Michael's fate was sealed by his performance in the debate he and I had on STV a few months ago. I'm far too modest to comment.
"However, I will say this.
– Nicola Sturgeon MSP
"If there's going to have to be a new Secretary of State every time the Yes and the No arguments come head to head and Yes wins the day, the No camp better have a very big subs bench.
"Michael's problem in that encounter was not his debating skills. It was the substance of his argument. It was the message not the messenger.
Voting 'No' in the independence referendum will allow the UK Government to "turn the screw" on Scotland, according to SNP's deputy leader.
In her speech at the party’s annual conference in Perth today, Nicola Sturgeon will state budget cuts, threatened public services and the dismantling of Scotland's social security system if the vote does not back independence.
She'll tell delegates that Westminster politicians from across the political parties are "itching" to abolish the Barnett formula which is used to calculate Scotland's share of the UK budget.
Voters will be urged "not to let anyone pull the wool over their eyes" about the consequences of a No vote.
A spokesman for the Better Together campaign said:
"Every time a nationalist mentions their positive campaign over the next year, they should be handed these ridiculous words from Nicola Sturgeon. This takes scaremongering to a new level. It is embarrassing."