Salmond to make case for independence at SNP meeting
First Minister Alex Salmond will set out his case for why Scotland would be better off if it was independent from Britain in his speech at the SNP spring conference today.
The event comes just two days after he said that voters in Scotland will decide the country's future in an independence referendum to be held on September 18 2014.
Mr Salmond promised the conference would "set out the 'why of independence' to the people - what won't happen in an independent Scotland will be getting dragged into illegal wars, having Trident nuclear weapons dumped on the Clyde for another 50 years, or the imposition of bedroom taxes.
"And what will happen will be the mobilisation of the human and natural resources of Scotland to build a prosperous economy and just society."
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 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.
Scotland would have to 're-negotiate' world relations
Advice on what will happen to Scotland if it became independent from the UK will be published today.
A summary of the report, issued from Downing Street ahead of the publication, revealed that it was an "unusual step" for the Government to publish full legal opinion from experts.
If Scotland became independent, only the remainder of the UK would automatically continue to exercise the same rights, obligations and powers under international law as the UK currently does, and would not have to re-negotiate existing treaties or re-apply for membership of international organisations.
– Government issued summary of the report on Scottish independence
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.
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.
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.