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Independence could aid Scots' health, top doctor says

Independence could be "very positive" for people's health if it left them feeling they had more control over their lives, Scotland's former top doctor said.

Dr Harry Burns was Scotland's Chief Medical Officer.
Dr Harry Burns was Scotland's Chief Medical Officer. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive

Sir Harry Burns, who stepped down as chief medical officer for Scotland earlier this year, also told how he feared for the NHS in England, where ministers have made "very different" decisions to Scotland.

Sir Harry's comments come less than two months before voters in Scotland decide the country's future in a referendum.

He told BBC Radio Scotland's Crossfire programme: "If people felt that they were able to engage more with local government, with central government and make choices more easily for themselves then that would improve their health."

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Labour 'guarantees' Scotland greater powers

Margaret Curran says Labour will pass over powers on tax, jobs and welfare.
Margaret Curran says Labour will pass over powers on tax, jobs and welfare. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

More powers for Holyrood are "guaranteed" if voters reject independence and return Labour to power at Westminster, shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran said.

Labour's National Policy Forum (NPF) has agreed a binding commitment to include a new Scotland Act in the party's first programme of government if it wins the 2015 general election.

Its proposals for more powers to be transferred north - including giving Holyrood more power over income tax and responsibility for housing benefit - will be included in the party's election manifesto.

Ms Curran said: "More powers for the Scottish Parliament are guaranteed next year. This decision today means that Labour's commitment to pass powers over tax, jobs and welfare to the Parliament will be included in our manifesto for the 2015 election and a new Scotland Act will be in Labour's first Queen's Speech."

'Independence would transform Scotland for the better'

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has been sharing his vision of independence during a visit to Liverpool. ITV Scotland Correspondent Debi Edwards is there:

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Alex Salmond: independence would transform scotland for the better and bring wider benefits across these isles #Liverpool #indyref

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AS: we have created the most business friendly local taxation system in the UK...Scottish employment is higher, economic inactivity lower

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AS: independence isn't about waking up one day with three taps - whisky,oil and water. It will create an economic counterweight to London

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AS: once the current rhetoric is over, we would quickly see a good working relationship between the Scottish Gov and UK Gov #indyref

Salmond: 'Yes vote' would protect the Scottish NHS

A Yes vote in the referendum will protect Scotland's NHS from privatisation, says Salmond.
A Yes vote in the referendum will protect Scotland's NHS from privatisation, says Salmond. Credit: PA

A Yes vote in the referendum will protect Scotland's NHS from privatisation taking place in other parts of the UK, the First Minister is set to claim.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Liverpool today, Mr Salmond warned of a "growing threat" from an agenda of "privatisation and fragmentation" at Westminster.

The First Minister is expected to say that under the Westminster system, cuts to spending in England will "automatically" trigger cuts in Scotland.

More: Salmond: Independence will 're-balance economy'

STV to host first live Scottish referendum TV debate

Broadcaster STV has announced that it will host the first live TV debate ahead of the Scottish independence referendum.

The debate will see the leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond, face off against the head of the 'Better Together' campaign, former Labour cabinet minister Alistair Darling.

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The debate will take place on Tuesday August 5th and be broadcast from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow between 8pm and 10pm.

Alastair Darling will represent the Better Together campaign in the debate. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

STV's political editor, Bernard Ponsonby, will chair the debate, which takes place in front of an audience of 350 people chosen to reflect a range of different opinions.

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Salmond: Cameron 'playing roulette with Scotland'

First Minister Alex Salmond has claimed that David Cameron is "playing a game of European roulette with Scotland's future".

Salmond: Cameron 'playing roulette with Scotland'. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr Salmond said the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission had been an "utter fiasco" for the Prime Minister, who had opposed it, and has put the UK "on the fast-track out of Europe".

Writing in The Independent, Mr Salmond said the people of Scotland must "take our destiny in our own hands" when they vote in September's referendum

Huckfield: 'I want to support Yes campaign'

Former Labour minister Leslie Huckfield, who now lives in Auchterarder, Perthshire, said he 'wants to support the Yes campaign'

When I moved to Scotland in 2004 it became apparent that this is a country with a veritable passion for social justice.

The agenda in England represents the disintegration of many principles and policies to which Scots hold dearly.

I find worrying not only the coalition agenda under (David) Cameron and (Nick) Clegg but also that (Ed) Miliband and New Labour don't offer anything really different.

In short, I believe that an independent Scotland is an opportunity not only to free itself from Tories and a UK coalition agenda but also from the agenda of New Labour.

Former minister in Scottish independence Yes vote

A former Labour minister has declared support for a Yes vote in Scotland's independence referendum.

Former Labour minister supports Scottish independence Yes vote. Credit: PA

Leslie Huckfield, who served in James Callaghan's government in the 1970s, is urging Labour supporters to follow his lead and vote for independence on September 18. He said an independent Scotland offers an opportunity to implement the policies and causes that Labour has traditionally supported.

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