Thank you for your
email of 3 December to Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities. I am
replying to you on behalf of Ms Sturgeon.
of the European Union provides Scotland with many opportunities.
This includes access to the worlds largest trading market - it is
our most important export market worth £9.6 billion annually - and
access to funding opportunities. These funds support projects in
Scotland designed to ensure that all of our diverse regions and
communities can benefit from European opportunities to advance
sustainable long-term growth.
believes that Scotland needs to be a full and independent Member
State of the EU, to fully benefit from the opportunities that
membership of the EU offers. As an independent Member State,
Scotland would have a full voice in the process of EU law-making,
including, in some areas, a national veto.
Government believes that the people who live in Scotland are the
best people to make decisions about Scotland's future and that
Scotland should therefore have all of the responsibilities and
rights of a normal, independent European state. Independence would
give the Scottish Parliament and Government full responsibility for
all its own affairs, including key economic, tax and social policies
- such as levels of government investment, rates of income tax, and
benefit payments, as well as its own voice in the world and
representation for Scotland in the European Union.
Government published a series of documents during the 2007-2011
parliamentary session which set out options for Scotland's
constitutional future and the opportunities which further devolution
and independence could create. Your Scotland Your Voice, published
on St Andrew's Day 2009, built on the two-year National Conversation
on the future of Scotland. It provided examples and explanation of
how more powers and responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament
could allow Scotland to do things differently and better. You can
find Your Scotland Your Voice at
earlier this year completed a consultation on its plans to give the
people of Scotland their say on Scotland's future in a free and fair
referendum in autumn 2014 . The consultation document, Your Scotland
Your Referendum, sets out our proposals and can be found at
to the consultation were published in October.
paper also includes a detailed timeline for the period leading up to
the referendum. During this time there will be opportunities for
widespread discussion across Scotland about the detailed
implications of independence. The Scottish Government will ensure
that voters have the information they need to participate in the
national debate and to make an informed decision in the referendum.
As part of the process the Scottish Government will set out full
details of the offer to the people of Scotland in a comprehensive
white paper on independence. The Government plans to publish this in
Constitutional Development Team