Independence: The Main Issues
Scots will go to the polls on 18 September to decide whether or not the country should be independent.
Many experts believe undecided voters could hold the key to the final result.
Heart asked the two official campaigns, Yes Scotland and Better Together, to give us 5 reasons each why people should support their case.
Why should people vote Yes?
Yes Scotland said:
Wealth: Scotland is an incredibly wealthy country – one of the top twenty wealthiest in the world according to the Financial Times. We’re wealthier per head than the UK, France and even Japan, so we can choose independence with confidence. Our range of highly competitive industrial sectors, excellent universities and well-established international export networks means we have what we need to succeed as an independent nation.
Powers: We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make Scotland a better place to live by choosing independence. A Yes vote means we will have the powers we need here in Scotland to grow our economy, create more jobs and make our society fairer and more equal.
NHS: A Yes vote is vital to protect Scotland’s NHS. The health service in England is being privatised by the UK Government, and that could see it broken up within ten years, according to the Labour Party. That means a No vote could have serious consequences for Scotland’s budget and our NHS. In an independent Scotland the founding principle of an NHS which is free at the point of need will be enshrined in a written constitution
Spending: By voting Yes, we can spend Scotland’s vast wealth and resources on the things that matter to us – so instead of wasting billions of pounds on Trident nuclear weapons that we don’t want, we can invest in more free childcare for families and improving pensions.
Democracy: Independence is about democracy – the ability of the people who live in Scotland to decide our country’s future. We currently have a Tory Prime Minister despite there only being one Tory MP in Scotland! That’s not fair. With Yes for independence, we’ll always get the governments we vote for.
Why should people vote No?
Better Together said:
Currency: Walking away from the UK means walking away from the pound - one of the strongest, most trusted and secure currencies in the world. Alex Salmond hasn’t told us if he has a Plan B. We can keep the pound, safeguard pensions and protect public services by voting No.
Spending: As part of the UK, Scotland spends £1200 more per person on public services - employing doctors, nurses, teachers and police. The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has shown independence would mean spending cuts of £6 billion, around half the entire NHS budget in Scotland. We can’t afford to put the health service at risk like this.
Jobs: As part of the UK, Scottish employers have access to a home market of 63 million people, not just 5 million. That supports thousands of jobs and boosts the economy. We sell twice as much to the rest of the UK as we do to the rest of the world combined. Independence would put a barrier between us and our biggest export market, risking jobs.
Pensions: The UK State Pension gives everybody equal access to a pension regardless of where you were born, lived or worked. Scots are living longer, and while that is welcomed, it means we will eventually have a bigger proportion of retired people and fewer people of working age than elsewhere in the UK. By spreading the responsibility across 63 million taxpayers UK wide it is easier for us to support pensioners in Scotland.
Strength: Scotland can get the best of both worlds. A strong Scottish Parliament, with more powers guaranteed, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger United Kingdom. Only separation puts that at risk.
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