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Scottish Independence and Scotland's Future
Letter from Nicola Sturgeon's Office 8 January 2013


Our ref: 2012/0039049

8 January 2013

Dear Mr McIntyre

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.

Scotland’s membership of the European Union provides Scotland with many opportunities. This includes access to the world’s 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.

This administration 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.

The Scottish 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.

The Scottish 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 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/11/26155932/0.

The Government 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 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/01/1006. Responses to the consultation were published in October.

The consultation 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 November 2013.

I hope this helps.

Yours sincerely

Jessica Roscoe
Constitutional Development Team


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