The UK government will undertake a programme of work to inform and support the debate on Scotland’s future within the UK.
Ahead of a proposed referendum on independence the UK government will produce detailed evidence and analysis to assess the benefits of Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom, the Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore told the House of Commons today.
This analysis will be carried out across the UK government and will be undertaken in conjunction with respected academics, think-tanks and other expert bodies who will provide expert support and challenge to the work.
Mr Moore informed MPs at Scottish Questions that the work will report in stages over a number of months once the detailed arrangements for the independence referendum have been agreed between the UK and Scottish Governments. He said that the analysis will provide clarity and fact to inform the debate in the run up to the referendum.
The work will evaluate the benefits of Scotland remaining in the UK to both Scotland and the rest of the UK across a number of key themes including:
our position in the world - our currency and monetary policy; financial services; and membership of the EU and international institutions
the protection of our citizens - our defence capability and the way we secure our borders
the economic benefits of the UK - our economic performance; our public services; our welfare system and our shared energy sector
Michael Moore said:
“The government’s position is clear. We believe Scotland is stronger in the UK and the UK is stronger with Scotland in it. Leading up to the referendum the government will produce detailed evidence and analysis to assess the benefits that Scotland gains from being part of the United Kingdom and the contribution that Scotland makes to our United Kingdom.
“It is right that this debate is fully informed by thorough evidence and analysis to address many of the key questions facing people in Scotland.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:
“This work will be a careful and detailed analysis of the benefits to Scotland of being part of the UK. It will look at some of the key questions in this debate, questions that the Scottish people have a right to know the answers to. Scotland is a great place to live and that is in no small part because of its partnership with the rest of the UK.”
The Scotland Office Minister David Mundell said:
“As the Prime Minister has made clear we believe passionately in the United Kingdom and the benefits that it has brought to all of its citizens. This work programme will provide the robust analysis and evidence that the people in Scotland need to make an informed decision in the referendum.”