Scotland's First Minister is expected to meet with the Prime Minister in the next few weeks to conclude the discussions about the terms of a vote.
He said independence would give Scotland the powers needed to promote jobs and growth.
He told MSPs, "I believe an independent Scotland is a fairer as well as weathier one."
A controversial bill on same - sex marriage will also be brought forward. It will be subject to a free 'conscience' vote in the parliament.
"No faith group will be required to take part in a same- sex ceremony unless they wish to do so. This is the apppropriate thing to do to respect religious and private beliefs, while ensuring equality."
More top news
Gusty winds could cause problems overnight.
A 32-year-old woman from Whitehaven has been jailed and banned from keeping animals for life, after neglecting her pet dog, Charlie.
Residents are being asked for feedback on how to improve transport networks in the region, following a landmark Transport Summit.