The 670-page document - the most comprehensive blueprint for independence ever produced by any country ahead of an independence vote - was launched to an audience of hundreds of journalists from across the globe.
Scotland’s Future also contains a comprehensive Question and Answer section, running to more than 200 pages, providing answers to 650 questions on independence.
The guide shows how Scotland will move from a Yes vote on September 18th next year, toward its independence on March 24th 2016 – ahead of the first elections in an independent Scotland. It also describes the huge financial savings that can be made – including half a billion pounds on defence spending due to Westminster's underspend in Scotland, and savings from no longer contributing to the funding of the Westminster Parliament.
Besides addressing the various questions asked about what independence offers, Scotland's Future also outlines the Scottish Government's ambitious plans to use the powers to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country – should the SNP win the first elections of an independent Scotland in 2016.
At the heart of this is a transformational increase in childcare provision that would help more people into work – particularly women – and provide up to 35,000 jobs in the process. This only becomes possible with the powers offered by independence, because only an independent Scotland would have the resources to make it happen. Currently all the increased tax revenues that would help make the policy affordable would go to the Westminster Treasury, rather than staying in Scotland.
As well as guarantees on the minimum wage and a ‘triple lock’ on pension increases to ensure that they rise at least in line with the cost of living, the Scottish Government also proposes new measures to permanently reduce energy bills by 5% and ensure basic rate tax allowances and credits to rise in line at least with inflation.
The SNP has said that there is a clear choice between two futures open to the people of Scotland – the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a fairer, more prosperous Scotland, or the relentless negativity of the No campaign, who never have a positive word to say.
Commenting, SNP MSP Bruce Crawford – who convenes the Scottish Parliament’s Referendum (Scotland) Bill Committee – said:
"This landmark document takes the independence debate into a new phase. No country in history is as well-equipped as Scotland is to move towards independence, and even the staunchest opponents of Yes now accept that Scotland has got what it takes to be an independent country.
“Not only does Scotland’s Future outline a clear process in which Scotland can move from a Yes vote next September to our independence day on March 24th 2016. It also offers a set of exciting policies, using the powers of an independent Parliament, designed to improve opportunities for people Scotland, should the SNP win the first elections in 2016 - including using full access to the resources of Scotland to bring about a transformational change in childcare provision.
"And we set out a timetable to remove Trident nuclear weapons from Scotland within the term of the first independent parliament.
“The people of Scotland now have a clear choice in next year’s referendum between two futures – a choice between the fairer, more prosperous Scotland offered by a Yes vote, and the relentless negativity of the No campaign, who are unable to offer anything positive. The fact that the No campaign were commenting on the document before they could even have seen it renders their position ridiculous, and by definition ill-informed.
"The No side never have a positive word to say. It's time they answered the questions about what would happen to Scotland in the event of a No vote.
“Scotland’s future is now well and truly in Scotland’s hands – and it is time for all of us to grasp the historic opportunity offered by a YES vote on September 18th next year.”