THE Scottish Government has today published its vision of the country if voters backs independence in next year’s referendum.
11:50am: Mr Salmond insisted that Scotland would be “welcomed into Nato” after independence, the international defence alliance, which includes the USA and UK.
“It’s the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation - it would have a slight difficulty if a large part of the territorial area of the North Atlantic weren’t part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation which is why we put forward a reasonable position to be part of the Nato framework.”
11:45am: The political reaction to today’s announcement has begun - read the views of Alastair Darling and Patrick Harvie here - check back for more updates throughout the day.
11:25am: Sturgeon insisted that the UK’s submarine-based Trident nuclear weapons system would be removed from its current base on the Clyde by 2020.
She said: “We want to see the speediest safe removal of Trident from the Clyde. We set out in the white paper that our view would be to having Trident removed within the first term of the independent Parliament.”
11:05am: Former Chancellor Alistair Darling, leader of the pro-union better Together campaign says the White Paper fails to resolve any of the major issues over independence.
He said: “The nationalists have ducked the opportunity to answer the big questions about Scotland’s future.
“We have waited months for this and it has failed to give credible answers on fundamentally important questions.
“What currency would we use? Who will set our mortgage rates? How much would taxes have to go up? How will we pay pensions and benefits in future?”
10:57am: Mr Salmond insisted that Scotland will keep the pound as part of a currency union with the UK after independence - despite warnings from the Coalition Government at Westminster that this won’t happen.
The First Minister insisted that a sterling area is not only in the “best interests of Scotland, but also inn the best interests of the rest of the United Kingdom.”
The SNP leader said: “There would be a massive hole in the sterling balance of payments which are not in a condition that they could withstand a massive hole, if Scottish oil and gas weren’t part of the exports.
10:43am: Green party co-leader Patrick Harvie, whose party also backs independence under the Yes Scotland umbrella, welcomed the white paper.
“Today’s launch struck an ambitious tone, just as it should,” he said.
“For those who are already convinced that a fairer future can be won, it’s time to seize this moment and deliver the Yes votes in our communities. For those who remain unsure, they should now ask more questions of the No campaign and how they intend to deliver a better Scotland.”
10:41am: Ms Sturgeon said the employment and social policy proposals in the document, including the “revolution” in childcare”, show what is possible after independence.
“It illustrates how the powers of independence can be used to benefit individuals, families, communities and the nation as a whole - and it has economic growth, jobs and fairness at its heart,” she added.
“This is the only detailed plan for Scotland’s future, and today’s publication marks a decisive shift in the debate on what that future should be.”
10:36am: The Deputy First Minister added: “When it comes to social equality, health, quality of life and economic performance, Scotland has too often lagged behind the performance of our near neighbours across Northern Europe – many of them countries of similar size to Scotland.
“We know that Scotland has huge natural resources and enormous talent among our communities and our workforce – but only independence will give us the ability to make the most of our potential.”
10:34am: If the SNP Government wins power after independence, the document sets out plans for a transformation in childcare, helping more women into work and providing up to 35,000 jobs.
A guaranteed minimum wage that rises alongside the cost of living is pledged, while the basic rate tax allowances and tax credits that will also rise at least in line with inflation.
A change to the way ‘green levies’ are paid for - saving families around £70 a year on their energy bills will also be implemented.
The Bedroom tax will also be abolished in favour of a “fairer” welfare system, including a halt to the roll-out of Universal Credit.
10:30am: The “Guide” sets out an overview of the case for independence, including why Scotland needs independence and what a new state will look like.
The strengths of Scotland’s national finances are also set out, including a projection of Scotland’s opening financial position at the point of independence and the current Scottish Government’s immediate priorities if it wins power in the first elections after independence in May 2016.
This includes a timescale and process for Scotland to become an independent country following a Yes vote, as well as the transition that will take place and negotiations required. It also sets out plans for written constitution and describes how equality and human rights will be protected and promoted.
10:25am: The document is entitled Scotland’s Future - Your Guide to an Independent Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon said it provided and “ambitious and aspirational guide” to the opportunities and benefits of independence.
She added: “It is built on the simple but powerful belief that decisions about Scotland should be taken here in Scotland by the people who live and work here.”
10:21am: The issues will not be decided by the politicians or the media, Mr Salmond told his audience in Glasgow today.
“It will be decided by the people - Scotland’s future is now in Scotland’s hands.”
10:19am: The First Minister called on “everyone to play their part in the nation we wish to become - the Scotland we seek.
“I want people to consider the issues, put forward opinions and reach conclusions.”
10:14am: Mr Salmond said the document addresses 650 “reasonable questions” that the Government has been asked.
“Real people asking real questions,” he said.
“But ultimately at the heart of this debate there’s only one question and one choice - do we, the people who live and work in Scotland, believe that we are the best people to take the big decisions about our future.
“That question will be the subject of an impassioned and I hope positive debate between now and next September.”
10:06am: Mr Salmond said that an independent Scotland would start from a “position of strength - in fact becoming independent in more promising circumstances than any other nation in history.”
10:03am: The document is 670 pages long and will set out the blueprint for the creation of a separate Scottish state, ahead of the referendum on September 18. It will also include the SNP’s policy manifesto for independence.
09:59am: More than 200 journalists from around the world are anxiously waiting for Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon to make their way to the stage at the Glasgow Science centre to unveil the historic blueprint for independnece. A select group of journalists have been given access to the report for the past 45 minutes in order to prepare questions.
Analysis of the announcement will be posted here. A live stream of the announcment at the Glasgow Science Centre is available on the scotreferendum.com website.
The White Paper will be launched in Glasgow on Tuesday morning, before Holyrood debates its contents in the afternoon.
Throughout the day, scotsman.com will have live coverage of events.
From 10am, our political team will be providing news updates and expert analysis on our live blog. We will have a breakdown of the Paper’s contents, commentary from our expert columnists and reaction from the streets of Scotland.
We’re also keen to hear your thoughts. Tweet us your reaction @TheScotsman and we will feature a selection in Wednesday’s paper.