SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: THE UK Government has launched an anti-independence website which it says will help people “find out how being part of the UK benefits them” in the run up to the referendum.
The site, www.youdecide2014.uk, aims to break down published Government analysis on Scotland’s future, making it “relevant” to individual circumstances, said UK ministers.
The new website allows people to submit questions on referendum issues and find out in detail how being in the UK affects their work life, home life and family life.
However, the SNP said the UK Government was playing catch-up after the Scottish Government launched its own website on the “gains of independence” eight months ago.
The UK government site makes a series of claims about mortgage costs, NHS spending, pensions, energy bills, funding for public services and support for business.
A key claim made on the site is that for the “average home owner with a 75 per cent loan to value mortgage, staying in the UK is likely to save up to £1,700 on mortgage repayments in the first year alone”.
It adds that being part of the UK is also “worth up to £189 a year for an average household energy bill” in Scotland.
Scotland also benefits from more generous spending on public services, an average of 10 per cent higher per person north of the border than in other parts of the UK, it said.
The UK’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said the new online tool would help Scots to further take part in the referendum debate.
He said: “People will be making a very important decision on 18 September so it is essential that they understand the facts.
“This tool is easy to use and can be accessed via mobile, tablet or PC. All people need to do is plug in their circumstances to find out how being part of the UK benefits them. Now the facts are only a click away.”
The Scottish Government launched a website scotreferendum.com setting out the benefits of independence alongside its white paper – the nationalist blueprint for leaving the UK at the end of 2013.
Nationalist MSP Marco Biagi attacked what he said was Westminster’s weak response to the Scottish Government web page on independence and the white paper, which is also available online.
He said: “With the latest poll showing a significant narrowing of the gap between Yes and No – and eight months after the Scottish Government launched the successful scotreferendum.com website, which has provided extensive information on the gains of independence – the Westminster government is now playing catch up.
“Perhaps their website will shed light on issues the No campaign have tried to keep hidden, such as what the £300,000 worth of secret referendum polling paid for with taxpayers’ money said.”
He went on: “Or perhaps this website will finally explain just why it is that the No campaign thinks it is better for decisions about Scotland to be made by Tory governments in Westminster that people in Scotland comprehensively reject.”