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The Scottish Government has published its white paper on independence, outlining how it believes a Yes vote in next year's referendum could pave the way for a new era for the nation.
The long-awaited document said there are ``three overriding reasons'' for Scotland to leave the UK and become a separate state. It claimed independence will create a more democratic Scotland, as well as a country that is both more prosperous and fairer.
The 670-page paper sets out how independence could have an impact on all areas of life, including currency, taxation, childcare and education, pensions, welfare, defence and broadcasting.
The SNP administration also sets out a number of promises if it was elected as the first government of a newly-independent Scotland, with Nationalists pledging ``transformational extension of childcare'' to help working parents, a cut in corporation tax to boost business and a simplified and fairer tax system.
They also pledge to end controversial welfare reforms brought in by Westminster by axing the so-called ``bedroom tax'' and halting the roll-out of Universal Credit and personal independence payments.
The independence referendum, to be held on September 18 next year, gives voters ``a choice between two futures'', the paper states. A Yes vote will mean ``the most important decisions about our economy and society will be taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is by the people of Scotland''.
It adds that ``the door will open to a new era for our nation. Scotland's future will be in Scotland's hands''.
But it claims a vote in favour of staying part of the UK would mean that ``Scotland stands still''.
As a result of that, the paper states a ``once-in-a-generation opportunity to follow a different path and choose a new and better direction for our nation is lost''.
Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, said the document is the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published. ``But more than that, it is a mission statement and a prospectus for the kind of country we should be and which this Government believes we can be,'' he said.
``Our vision is of an independent Scotland regaining its place as an equal member of the family of nations. However, we do not seek independence as an end in itself, but rather as a means to changing Scotland for the better. ``We know we have the people, the skills and resources to make Scotland a more successful country. What we need now are the economic tools and powers to build a more competitive, dynamic economy and create more jobs.
``This guide contains policies which offer nothing less than a revolution in employment and social policy for Scotland, with a transformational change in childcare at the heart of those plans.
``Our proposals will make it far easier for parents to balance work and family life, and will allow many more people, especially women, to move into the workforce, fostering economic growth and helping to boost revenues - which will in itself help pay for the policy.
``With these policies, we can begin the job of undoing the damage caused by the vast social disparities which have seen the UK become one of the most unequal societies in the developed world. ``We believe it is only with the powers of independence - by completing the powers of our national Parliament - that we will gain the tools we need to create a more prosperous and fairer society.''
you can see the White Paper here http://www.scotreferendum.com/reports/scotlands-future-your-guide-to-an-independent-scotland/