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Independence Bill provides "appropriate foundation for referendum"

As set out in the Bill, the vote will take place on September 18th 2014.

People will be asked to answer 'yes' or 'no' to the question "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

"While the committee identified some issues that require clarification or amendment ... the whole committee was able to agree that the Bill provides an appropriate foundation for next year's referendum.

Indeed, the Electoral Commission told us it was 'a strong piece of legislation' able to deliver a referendum 'that truly puts the voter first'."

– Bruce Crawford, Convener

The Bill also sets out spending limits for the two main campaign groups, Yes Scotland and Better Together, and the rules surrounding the referendum's purdah period which prevents government from announcing any new legislation.

MSPs have already agreed to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds.

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MSPs claim nearly £13 million in expenses

MSPs claimed just over £12.8 million in expenses in the last year.

The total is 8 % higher than 2010/11.

A parliament spokesperson says the rise is due to 'winding up' expenses paid to 48 MSPs who were not returned to the Scottish Parliament after the May 2011 elections.

If those costs are excluded, the total expenses paid out to Holyrood politicians was just over £11.3 million - a decrease of more than £500,000 on the previous year.

First Minister Alex Salmond claimed £13,361 on expenses such as office rent, travel costs and phone bills.

Here's a breakdown of expenses totals for MSPs in the South of Scotland 2011/2012:

  • John Lamont MSP (Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire, Cons) £28,688.15
  • Joan McAlpine MSP (South of Scotland, SNP) £24,611.84
  • Elaine Murray MSP (Dumfries, Labour) £23,911.03
  • Alex Fergusson MSP (Galloway & West Dumfries, Cons) £23,162.95
  • Chic Brodie MSP (South of Scotland, SNP) £21,251.68
  • Claudia Beamish MSP (South of Scotland, Labour) £21,217.21
  • Christine Grahame MSP (Midlothian South Tweeddale & Lauderdale) £13,227.81
  • Jim Hume MSP (South of Scotland, Lib Dem) £11,840.80
  • Paul Wheelhouse MSP (South of Scotland, SNP) £11,431.71
  • Aileen McLeod MSP (South of Scotland, SNP) £10,314.14

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