Opposing views are entrenched by white paper

Paper launch with Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon
Paper launch with Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon

Borders residents are being urged to read the Scottish Government’s white paper on independence - all 670 pages of it.

Paul Wheelhouse, the SNP MSP for South Scotland, describes it as “the most detailed independence blueprint ever produced”; but Conservative MSP, John Lamont says it’s “a huge disappointment”.

The long-awaited document gives “three overriding reasons” for Scotland to leave the UK. It says independence will create a more democratic Scotland which will be prosperous and fairer. The paper sets out how independence could impact on all areas of life, from currency and taxation to broadcasting.

In the Yes corner, Ayton resident Mr Wheelhouse said: “No country in history is as well-equipped as Scotland is to move toward independence.

“The guide will show clearly and simply the difference that we can make in Scotland if decisions on Scotland’s future are taken by those who care most about Scotland, that is the people who live and work here.

“As one example, we know that an independent Scotland would have automatically benefited from an uplift in area payments under the Common Agricultural Policy – which would have generated an additional €1 billion between 2014 and 2020.”

In the ‘Better Together’ camp, Coldstream resident Mr Lamont, said: “Despite a huge build-up from the SNP, this white paper can do nothing but disappoint.

“It was supposed to offer an insight into how the SNP would pay for a separate Scotland, but instead has offered nothing but the usual assertion and bluster that we have had already.

“The reality is that if the SNP want to pay for the things they have promised they will either have to slash public spending or introduce a massive hike in taxes.

“Many people in the Borders will be extremely disappointed with what they’ve been given, and they deserve better. When we currently have the best of both worlds by being in the UK, this paper totally fails to convince why we should give it up.”