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Scotland warned against independence from UK

The UK Government will today reveal the advice it has been given on what would happen if Scotland became independent from the rest of the UK.

According to Professors James Crawford and Alan Boyle, who set out their opinions in the paper, Scotland would be treated as a new country, having to renegotiate its relationship with world bodies.

Two men wave a Union and Saltire flags in Edinburgh, Scotland Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive

The Scottish Government issued a paper last week, which assuming a Yes vote occurred in autumn 2014, could see negotiations between Scottish ministers and the UK Government, EU and international organisations concluded by March 2016.

Today's publication does not include specific advice from the European Commission on the implications of Scottish independence in the EU.

Read: Cameron and Salmond sign Scottish referendum deal

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David Cameron launches defence of United Kingdom

David Cameron speaks during Prime Minister's Questions
David Cameron speaks during Prime Minister's Questions Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

David Cameron has launched a defence of the United Kingdom as his government prepares to put the "facts" about Scottish independence to the public.

While people in Scotland will make the decision in autumn next year, the implications will have obvious impacts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Conservative leader said.

"Britain is admired around the world as a source of prosperity, power and security," he said.

"Those glorious Olympics last summer reminded us just what we were capable of when we pull together: Scottish, English, Welsh, Northern Irish, all in the same boat - sometimes literally.

"If you told many people watching those Olympics around the world that we were going to erect barriers between our people, they'd probably be baffled. Put simply: Britain works. Britain works well. Why break it?"

Cameron spoke out one day before the government publishes the first in a series of analysis papers about Scotland's role in the union.

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Scottish Government announces ban on tobacco display and vending machines

Tobacco displays and vending machine sales will be banned in Scotland from 29th April, the Scottish Government has announced.

The laws will initially prevent large shops from openly displaying tobacco and will prohibit tobacco sales from self-service vending machines.

The announcement follows the defeat of a legal challenge by one of the world's biggest tobacco firms last December.

The same ban, which is set out in the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, will come into force for smaller retailers on 6th April 2015.

"We know that reducing the number of people that smoke will have wide benefits for Scotland's health and evidence shows that these bans will help prevent young people from taking up smoking.

"I am delighted that we are now in a position to implement these bans, which is a key step in maintaining Scotland's position as a world leader on tobacco control.

"We appreciate that smaller retailers need extra time to make the necessary changes and so we have decided that April 2015 represents a fair timescale for implementing the display ban for them."

– Michael Matheson, Minister for Public Health

Appeal for new ambulance station in Borders

The Scottish Ambulance service are making an appeal to the Scottish Government, after plans for a new ambulance station at the Borders General Hospital were rejected.

The ambulance service want to replace the old depot in Galashiels with a new facility near the hospital in Melrose.

However, councillors rejected the plans due to 'landscaping' concerns, as they were worried the possible felling of trees would affect the scenic landscape of the Eildon hills.

Campaigners say that the new site would improve ambulance response times, which are below the current government target.

Dumfriesshire MSP welcomes road improvements

Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said she is 'relieved' that the Scottish Government is investing 36 million pounds to improve the safety of roads in the south of Scotland.

Major improvement works will take place on the A77 Symington to Bogend Toll, A75 Dunragit Bypass and the A75 Hardgrove to Kinmount.

“I am relieved that the Scottish Government are finally investing in roads south of the central belt.

"For too long there have been accidents and fatalities on these roads, and I have long campaigned for an upgrade to allow substantial overtaking opportunities.

“With the work scheduled to finish in 2014, it is imperative that the Scottish Government start progress soon, and work to the timetabled programme to ensure there are no further delays.”

– Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray

Borders MP slams independence paper

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, a Borders MP, has accused the Scottish Government of creating a distraction from the bigger issues.

"Once again, they are devoting their energy to the picture-frame when they don't have a painting to put in it.

"We have not even got a date for the referendum, let alone any detail on what independence would mean for people in areas like the economy, welfare, energy and financial services.

"We have already been setting out our views in public on the issue of the post-referendum process.

"We will spell out further thoughts on this process in our forthcoming analysis papers, including our first paper, in February."

– Scottish Secretary of State, Michael Moore

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Independence report to 'pressure UK Government'

The SNP say the paper puts pressure on the UK Government to open talks about the transition process before the vote in 2014.

"Today's paper provides the people of Scotland with a clear road map as to how Scotland would make the journey from a devolved system of government with the levers of power retained at Westminster, to a nation in which the powers of our national Parliament are complete and in which the people are sovereign."

– Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon

SNP says 'Independence Day' will come in March 2016

The Saltire Credit: PA

Plans for Scotland's "Independence Day" have been published by the Scottish Government.

In a paper out today (5th February), Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlines a timetable for what will happen following the referendum in 2014.

The Scottish National Party have made predictions that Scotland will become independent in March 2016 and elections to an independent parliament will take place in May 2016.

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Scottish government draws up independence plans

Scottish and UK flags
If voters say 'yes' in the 2014 referendum, independence day would be in March 2016 Credit: Press Association

The Scottish government has drawn up a detailed plan for transition to independence, according to BBC Scotland.

The plans, based on a "yes" vote in the 2014 referendum, independence day would be some time in Scotland in 2016. Elections to the independent parliament would follow in May.

The paper calls for UK ministers to open talks on transition now, but the prime minister has said he will not pre-negotiate independence.

£1m funding to restore Scottish war memorials

The Scottish Government has announced a new £1 million scheme to help restore the country's war memorials.

Next year marks 100 years since the start of the First World War, and the fund has been announced to try and repair and maintain memorials in Scotland.

The Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund has been welcomed by local members of the War Memorials Trust - a charity which tries to protect and conserve the monuments.

Exact details of the fund have not yet been announced, but the Trust are encouraging anyone who thinks their local memorial needs work to get in touch with their local council.

"A war memorial isn't just a piece of stone, it's personal - each name is a lost member of a local family and memorials continue to play an important role in the community today.

"The fund will be a very useful addition to the money currently available through the War Memorials Trust's grant schemes."

– Paul Goodwin, Dumfries and Galloway Representative, War Memorials Trust
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