Independence Referendum Bill To Be Voted Through

Legislation to enable next year's Scottish independence referendum to take place will be passed by MSPs today.

The Scottish Independence Referendum Bill will be formally approved by Holyrood in a vote this afternoon. 

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hailed the occasion as a ``historic moment in Scotland's home rule journey''. 

The Bill will allow 16 and 17-year-olds across Scotland to vote for the first time when the crucial ballot is held. 

It also sets out the spending limits for political parties and other campaign organisations in the run-up to the referendum, to be held on September 18. 

Voters going to polls then will be asked the question: ``Should Scotland be an independent country?'' 

The Bill, which sets out the details of how the referendum will be organised and regulated, also confirms the vote will be overseen by the Electoral Commission. 

Ms Sturgeon said the legislation would ``put Scotland's future in Scotland's own hands for the first time in more than 300 years''. 

She added: ``It is a special moment for any country to be given the opportunity to decide its own future in the peaceful democratic way we are doing now in Scotland, and that is something worth pausing and reflecting on as we reach this stage of the process. 

``This referendum will give the people of Scotland the power to decide what future we want for Scotland. 

``It is the opportunity for all of us across Scotland to decide whether we want to make decisions on things like the economy and welfare here in Scotland - and whether we represent ourselves and speak with our own voice in the wider world - or have those decisions taken in Westminster. 

``In passing this Bill, we will be meeting our commitment in the Edinburgh Agreement to design and deliver a referendum in Scotland, for Scotland. 

``This is Scotland's referendum. And today is a truly historic moment in the history of our nation and in the story of Scotland's journey of self-determination.''