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Full report: Independence campaign receives £1.7m donation

The campaign aimed at getting Scots to say yes to independence has revealed it has received over £1.7 million in donations.

£1,000,000 came from a couple who won the lottery.

The news comes on the same day a House of Lords committee criticised politicians on both sides of the debate, for failing to spell out the full consequences of the vote, whatever the outcome.

Kathryn Samson has this report:

"Scotland is financially stronger than UK" says Swinney

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney, has been commenting on the latest report from Westminster on Scottish Independence:

"It will be no surprise to people across Scotland that out of touch unelected Lords think Scotland is too small and too poor.

“All the evidence, including in this report, shows Scotland is in a far stronger financial position than the UK as a whole.

"What the Lords fail to mention is that a No vote would see Scots, within the UK, responsible for over two trillion pounds of debt and liabilities worth 145% of GDP, significantly more than an independent Scotland would face under any calculation."

– John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance

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Lords criticises UK and Scottish Governments

The Lords Economic Affairs Committee has criticised the UK and Scottish Governments for failing to be open with Scottish voters about the economic impact of a ‘Yes’ vote to Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum.

“We took evidence from both Governments, other key politicians, a wide range of businessmen, and business organisations, academics and other economic experts. Our Report is based on their evidence.

"Nearly all of them shared our concerns."

"We hope that our report provides a road map for all the key issues – single market, division of assets and liabilities, North Sea oil, currency, taxation and debt, international issues including membership of the EU and defence."

– Lord MacGregor, Chairman, House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee

Sentence to be passed on Scottish Courts

Firm proposals on the future of Sheriff Courts in Peebles, Duns and Kirkcudbright will be revealed today.

The Scottish Courts Service says it needs to reduce the number of court buildings to save money after a twenty per cent reduction in its budget.

The Justice of the Peace Court in Annan is also under threat of closure.

Opponents argue that visible access to local justice will be compromised.

There are also concerns that many people living in rural areas will struggle with transport costs.

A final decision on court closures will be taken by the Scottish Government.

Civils servants strike ahead of budget

Public and Commercial Services Union strikers at Scottish Government Headquarters Credit: ITV News Border

Civil servants are striking outside of the Scottish Government headquarters ahead of the budget.

It is thought that up to 250,000 Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) members could walk out today in protest over pensions, pay and working conditions.

Lib Dems call for Single Police Force to 'Get back on Track'

The Scottish Government is being urged to get the single police force 'back on track' before it launches next month.

The Liberal Democrats say a power struggle between the Chief Constable and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) over who will control staff in the new service has not been resolved.

Scotland's eight police forces will merge into one on April 1st.

Speaking ahead of a Holyrood Debate on this afternoon, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokeswoman Alison McInnes said:

"The power struggle with the SPA has been allowed to drag on for months with staff none the wiser over who will ultimately have responsibility for human resources or finances.

"I'm concerned that the ongoing battle of wills is going to hinder the new police force in carrying out its duties.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats are asking the Scottish Government to review whether the legislation could be amended now to ensure success for the new single force."

– Alison McInnes, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokeswoman

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Safety concerns for A68

John Lamont, MSP, is calling on the Scottish Government to make the A68 safer.

Statistics revealed there have been nearly 500 accidents on the road in the past 10 years between the Scottish border and Edinburgh.

Mr Lamont is now calling on the Scottish Government to make the road safer after 15 people died on the stretch.

"The A68 is used by Borders residents thousands of times a year, as it is one of the key routes for getting between the Borders and Edinburgh to the north and Newcastle to the south.

"It is therefore important that it is made as safe as possible for motorists to use, but these statistics show that there are too many accidents happening on it.

"Many people will be shocked that nearly 500 accidents have occurred on it in the last ten years, with 100 of them being serious and 15 fatal."

– John Lamont, MSP

He added:

"It is a clear indication that more needs to be done to improve safety on the road, and the onus is on the Scottish Government to take action to cut down the number of collisions."

– John Lamont, MSP
National

Scottish Independence 'would deliver faster growth'

Independence would "provide Scotland with the opportunity to capture and deliver faster sustainable economic growth, with greater opportunities to tackle key challenges in sustainability and inequality over the long-term", according to a report by The Fiscal Commission Working Group.

It described Scotland as a "wealthy country" which is "on a par with many other successful independent countries".

The panel of experts highlighted a number of key strengths in the Scottish economy, including the energy sector, life sciences, food and drink and tourism.

But it said the country faced a number of challenges "not least tackling the long-term growth gap between Scotland and other comparable countries".

It is clear that over the long-term, Scotland has not completely fulfilled its economic potential.

– The Fiscal Commission Working Group report

Independence Union case

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has begun outlining case for the Union to remain Credit: ITV Border

The UK government is setting out its case for the Union, ahead of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Westminster says it will explain in detail why people and companies in Scotland benefit from its place in the UK.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore began outlining the Government's vision if the Union continues.

National

SNP: Govt report shows 'breathtaking arrogance'

The government is making its case against Scottish Independence today.

David Cameron is releasing the first in a series of reports, highlighting how the UK and Scotland benefit from the union.

Speaking in an ITV Daybreak interview Stuart Maxwell from the Scottish National Party said the UK Government's report today showed a "breathtaking arrogance" over their "supposed" recognition of Scotland as an equal partner.

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