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Scotland's first minister unveils independence blueprint

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond on Tuesday unveiled his government's legal argument for independence from the United Kingdom ahead of a referendum in September 2014, but nationalist leaders face an uphill battle in convincing voters to end the 300-year union.

world Updated: Nov 26, 2013 21:11 IST

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond on Tuesday unveiled his government's legal argument for independence from the United Kingdom ahead of a referendum in September 2014, but nationalist leaders face an uphill battle in convincing voters to end the 300-year union.

"Scotland's future is now in Scotland's hands," Salmond said at the launch of the 670-page "white paper" in Glasgow.

An independent Scotland would keep the British pound, the queen and remain in the European Union but have its own defence force and collect its own taxes, First Minister Alex Salmond said in a report published on Tuesday.

In a 670-page blueprint aimed at convincing Scots they should vote on Sept. 18 next year to end a 306-year union with England, Salmond said there would be no need to increase taxes if Scotland broke away.

"We know we have the people, the skills, and resources to make Scotland a more successful country," said Salmond, head of a devolved government in Scotland, which for now is still part of the United Kingdom.

He said Scottish taxes would not be spent on nuclear programmes and the United Kingdom's nuclear missiles would be removed from Scotland for good.

"Independence will put the people of Scotland in charge of our own destiny" he said.