Asking the experts: What are economists saying about indyref figures?

Are people in Scotland better off in the United Kingdom, or as an independent country?

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Scotland Decides

Go to the BBC's Scotland Decides page for analysis, background and explainers on the independence debate.

On Wednesday, both the UK and Scottish governments put forward their cases for why they believe they provide the best economic path for Scotland.

Here, we take five claims from each side and ask a panel of economic experts to weigh up whether or not they stand up to scrutiny.

Experts, Prof John McLaren, Prof David Bell, and Dr Roger Cook give their thoughts.

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The case for the Scottish government
Money

1. Scotland's finances in 2016-17 will be similar to, or stronger than, both the UK and the G7 industrialised countries as a whole.

Prof John McLaren (Economist, University of Glasgow): "Scotland's relative position will depend on, difficult to predict, future oil revenues and debt interest payments. The latter will be affected by future negotiations over the sharing out of UK debt.

Prof David Bell (Economist, University of Stirling): "The key issues would be how much of the UK debt Scotland agrees to shoulder, and whether North Sea oil revenues are as buoyant as the Scottish government hopes."

Dr Roger Cook (Head of Research, Scotland Institute): "This is realistic on several grounds. First, the current proposal is for independence to occur in April-May 2016. On this basis, in 2016-17 it will be unlikely that the main underlying figures (tax revenues, public expenditure) will have varied substantively. Since Scotland is a net contributor to the UK, then simply retaining more revenue will ensure a short term improvement over what would have happened if Scotland votes to stay in the UK."

2. Scotland's public finances show debt on a downward trajectory, enabling future Scottish governments to start an oil savings fund.

Prof John McLaren: "Such a trajectory depends on positive shifts in long term economic trends coming about. Even with these trends, the choice to start an oil savings fund would be at the cost of higher debt. Whether this would produce a net benefit depends on the rates of interest paid and received, attached to each."

Prof David Bell: "This would require Scotland to implement a substantial rebalancing of the public finances (i.e. an austerity programme) in order to create enough fiscal room to start building up the oil fund."

Dr Roger Cook: "In part this is related, as an immediate effect is the retention of additional revenues, even despite the likelihood of one-off costs around independence. The extent that this really means that debt is on a downward trajectory over the longer term is less clear. That depends on the gains (ie, not funding Trident, and lower defence spend in general), costs (ie, a move to a more generous social welfare system); economic performance and the contribution of North Sea Oil)."

3. Scotland's fiscal position between 2008-09 and 2012-13 is estimated to have been worth £8.3bn, equivalent to £1,600 per person.

Prof John McLaren: "This is in line with the figures published in the latest GERS publication."

Prof David Bell: "Scotland's fiscal deficit was smaller than that of the UK as a whole over this period. It was still large in relation to its historical level and in comparison with other countries, but it wasn't as large as that of the UK as a whole."

Dr Roger Cook: "As with all these estimates, this depends on the allocation of revenues and costs to Scotland. However, the methodology is well used and generally accepted, so on that basis, the sum claimed is realistic."

4. An independent Scotland could see tax income increase by £2,4bn a year by 2029-30, under a predicted 0.3% productivity increase.

Prof John McLaren: "A benefit of this order of size might arise. However, the difficulty is in achieving such an improvement in productivity, which is the holy grail for all economies."

Prof David Bell: "It would increase even more if there was a 0.5% productivity increase. The key question is what are the new mechanisms and policies that we can be confident will bring about these changes."

Dr Roger Cook: "The Office National Statistics has been reporting for some time that UK productivity has dropped substantially since 2008 and the UK as a whole lags badly by EU and OECD comparisons. Thus there is scope (and a need) to improve productivity and if it increased by 0.3% then the potential revenue gain is realistic. This question is really one of public policy. Does the SNP approach offer the means to avoid the problems that have plagued the UK in recent years?"

5. A 3.3% increase in Scotland's employment rate would move it up to the level of the top five performing countries in the OECD and could increase revenues by £1.3bn a year, by 2029-30.

Prof John McLaren: "A benefit of this order of size might arise. However, the difficulty arises in putting in place policies that will result in such an improvement in Scotland's employment rate."

Prof David Bell: "Again this is true. But we need to have some evidence as to what policies could be put in place that are not already available to the Scottish government that might help bring it about."

Dr Roger Cook: "The figures are perfectly true. In my estimate, the SNP has a more realistic policy around improving employment than it does in terms of productivity, mainly as it plans to address the ageing population issue through encouraging migration. It is also worth noting that the restructuring of the Scottish public sector by creating a full range of departments and agencies in Scotland will also create more jobs. Other realistic areas of net job creation lie in the renewable energy industry (and exporting the skills could be a valuable source of export earnings)."

Scottish tax receipts
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The case for the UK government
Money pile

1. Scotland, as part of the UK, was projected to be able to have lower tax or higher spending than under independence. This "UK Dividend" is estimated to be worth £1,400 per person in Scotland in each year from 2016-17 onwards.

Prof John McLaren: "This figure is based on a number of assumptions which could be questioned, including over future oil revenues and debt interest payments, any future borrowing premium, demographic trends, start up costs, etc. It is a possible figure but only one in a wide range of potential results."

Prof David Bell: "Again, this depends on the assumptions made about oil revenues. In the longer term, there is certainly an issue around somewhat greater costs of ageing in an independent Scotland. This could in theory be offset by very high net migration into Scotland. But firstly, the only recent experience of substantial net migration into Scotland was when the A8 countries joined the EU in the early part of this century and secondly, would the rest of the UK be willing to share open borders with Scotland if there were large numbers of immigrants coming into Scotland that could potentially move to the rest of the UK (rUK)?"

Dr Roger Cook: "There are two major problems in this claim. First it relies on the claims of setting up the governance of an independent Scotland that has already been debunked - not least by the experts the Treasury claims to have used. Second the table on page 10 is based on a series of assumptions. In effect, yes the number is valid if you believe the logic behind it. But even in its own terms, it assumes that an independent Scotland will carry on paying for things (such as Trident's renewal) that the SNP has indicated will not be the case. The analysis also depends heavily on the allocation of debt."

2. Under independence, the loss of the UK Dividend would mean £1,400 per year for each Scottish person in higher taxes and lower public spending.

Prof John McLaren: "This depends on the £1,400 figure being accurate and there are many questionable assumptions attached to it."

Prof. David Bell: "This follows, based on the assumptions about oil. See my blog for further details."

Dr Roger Cook: "There is no real evidence for this. At the moment, Scotland is a net contributor within the UK, so the most likely short term position will be fiscally neutral and the longer term is as much a matter of the consequences of public policy rather than based on simple financial models."

3. The "direct costs" of independence would include higher interest rates for an independent Scottish state to borrow, the net costs of setting up new institutions, and the net costs of funding the Scottish government's White Paper policies (including the potential economic benefits).

Prof John McLaren: "All of these higher costs could potentially arise. However, their scale is very uncertain and depends on decisions made by an independent Scottish government. Equally the UK would also be subject to some extra start up costs after the allocation of various UK assets."

Prof David Bell: "Small states tend to have to pay a "liquidity premium" on their interest rates. This arises simply because their markets are small and therefore it's more difficult to match buyers and sellers. Clearly, many of the policies listed, or hinted at, in the White paper would involve additional costs. The funds for these would have to come from higher taxes levied on Scottish taxpayers."

Dr Roger Cook: "One major criticism of the SNP's White Paper is that it rarely addresses set up costs. The figures used in the Treasury paper have been discredited, but that is not to deny they will exist and maybe substantial. The Scotland Institute has done some work (due to be published soon) on the approach to regulation of public utilities and estimated that the unitary regulator that is being proposed would cost £80m-£110m (depends mostly on whether a new office would be built or leased). A lot of this is the cost of a merger with considerable voluntary severance. Of course, the other side of the coin will be the creation of 180 or so jobs in Scotland."

4. If the UK debt was split according to population at the end of 2015-16, an independent Scotland would take on debt of about 74% of its GDP, which could reach "unsustainable levels without policy action".

Prof John McLaren: "The very fact that it would reach 'unsustainable levels without policy action' suggests that there would indeed be such policy action. The Scottish government have put forward proposals with respect to productivity, the employment rate and migration that they see would give a very different outcome."

Prof David Bell: "Some countries quite happily exist with much higher levels of debt - Japan, for example. The difficulty for Scotland would be that, unlike these countries, it has no 'credit history' so it will be difficult for the market to price its debt. If the market takes a very negative view about Scotland's capability to repay its debts, it might be charged punitive interest rates. It would then have no option but to adopt very tough policies aimed at reducing the debt."

Dr Roger Cook: "The basic assumption in the UK paper is that debt would be allocated on the basis of population but there are alternatives such as per GDP or on a historical basis. All of these give different starting positions. Fundamentally, there is no agreement between the Scottish government analysis which shows Scotland with a lower debt/GDP ratio and the UK government's claims.

"The variance is partly due to the Treasury analysis not taking account that Scotland is currently a net contributor to the UK and partly their assessment of the costs of the proposals in the White Paper, and an assumption that an independent Scotland could not manage to solve the issues of an ageing population, productivity and employment rates. These are essentially political judgements dressed up as dispassionate numerical analysis (on both sides of the argument)."

5. Scotland's fiscal position already relies on spending all of the revenues from a geographic share of the North Sea. So there would be no fiscal benefit from independence.

Prof John McLaren: "Most of the analysis put forward by the Scottish government includes North Sea revenues within the annual fiscal balance figures. Its removal would worsen the balance. The potential to use such revenues elsewhere e.g in an Oil Fund, would be a policy decision. The key variables which currently determine whether Scotland would see a fiscal benefit or loss from independence remain future North sea revenues and future debt interest payments."

Prof David Bell: "Oil revenues are likely to decline in the future. But if Scotland can find policies that increase the productivity of the average Scot (better skills, new products etc) the Scottish economy could grow more rapidly and generate more taxes. This would make its spending plans more affordable."

Dr Roger Cook: "This is of no particular importance. Scotland is currently a net contributor to the UK (so will gain in the short term on independence) and it doesn't really matter in the first instance if this is driven by oil revenues or other economic activity.

"Again, this is a political argument. Successive UK governments have found it expedient to treat oil revenue as a means to fund current expenditure (or cut taxes) so the assumption is that an independent Scottish government will do so too. However, there will be real set up costs and these could well absorb the immediate gain of no longer contributing to the rUK, and in turn that could make it harder for the Scottish government to make an early start on creating a long term oil fund."

Treasury graph

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Scotland Decides: SCOTLAND VOTES NO

  1. No 2,001,926
  2. Yes 1,617,989
After 32 of 32 counts Results in detail

Referendum Live

  1.  
    09:19: Lamont praises youth

    Johann Lamont, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, thanks party members - and particularly young activists - for helping to secure the No result. "This was a huge moment for Scottish Labour... much of this campaign was driven by the Scottish Labour party," she tells the Labour rally in Glasgow.

     
  2.  
    09:17: Tax and benefits

    Scotland has voted to remain part of the United Kingdom but Scots can still expect significant changes in the taxes they will pay and the welfare benefits they will receive, writes Personal Finance Reporter Brian Milligan.

    Personal finance
     
  3.  
    09:16: Referendum reaction

    Football pundit Gary Lineker tweets: GREAT Britain!

     
  4.  
    09:14: UK to play 'leading role' Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General

    I fully respect the choice that the people of Scotland have made in yesterday's referendum.

    I welcome Prime Minister Cameron's statement that the United Kingdom will go forward as a united country.

    The United Kingdom is a founding member of NATO, and I am confident that the United Kingdom will continue to play a leading role to keep our Alliance strong.

     
  5.  
    Sadiq Khan MP 09:13: Referendum reaction @SadiqKhan

    tweets: Most important vote in generation saw 1000s of 16 & 17 year olds vote in #indyref How can we deny them vote in General Election?

    Iain Macwhirter, Political commentator Herald & Sunday Herald tweets: Scots thought this was about their future - turns out it was all about setting up an English parliament.

     
  6.  
    Duncan Mavin, Europe Finance Editor, Wall Street Journal 09:11: Referendum reaction @dumav

    tweets: #indyref raised big questions about UK governance. For investors, politics likely to remain messy and unpredictable.

    John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday columnist tweets: Opinion polls underestimated No vote by 2 or 3 points. How much will shy Tories be worth in general election next year?

     
  7.  
    09:09: 'Work together'

    Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has just released a statement. He says: "I hope all parties will now accept this vote was fair, legal and decisive and we have settled the question in a way which means we will not keep coming back to it.

    Alistair Carmichael

    "The decisive choice of people in Scotland to remain part of the UK is the beginning of a new, stronger country for us all.

    "It comes at the end of a hard-fought two year process which has raised important issues for Scotland and engaged a huge number of people in the debate.

    "We will continue that process by working together as one country, across the whole political spectrum, making life better for the people who live and work here.

    "It's also clear that the people of Scotland have overwhelmingly voted for a stronger Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom based on the cross-part plan for more powers. That work will begin today and we will deliver it for everyone."

     
  8.  
    09:06: Tax, spending & welfare James Landale Deputy political editor

    The Downing Street constitutional declaration - as it will become known - marks the start of what potentially could be massive constitutional change.

    In particular, the prime minister has promised to give English MPs a greater say over legislation that affects England. He made clear this would cover the same issues over which Scotland will have greater control - tax, spending and welfare. And the changes will be agreed at the same pace with draft legislation by January.

    But David Cameron did not spell out the detail, leaving a policy vacuum that will now be filled by Conservative MPs and an army of constitutional experts and think tanks. Everything from a full English parliament to complicated plans for English grand committees will be discussed.

    The risk for the PM is that he loses control of this debate.

    Full blog.

     
  9.  
    09:05: Analysis John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    Total number of votes cast:

    Yes - 1,617,989

    No - 2,001,926

    3,429 rejected papers - want of an official mark 16, voting in favour of both 691, voter identified 168, unmarked or void for uncertainty 2,554.

    This means that Yes won 45% of the vote and No 55% of the vote exactly in line with the BBC prediction at just after 05:00.

     
  10.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 09:03: Get involved

    There have been nearly 130,000 tweets about the Referendum between 8am and 9am this morning. That's a dip of 22% on the previous hour.

    One of the most shared tweets in the past hour has come from comedian Frankie Boyle: "To be fair, I've always hated Scotland" retweeted nearly 3,000 times.

    A transcript of David Cameron's speech is amongst the more shared photos.

    You can join the conversation via #indyref, tweet @BBCPolitics or go to the BBC News page on Facebook.

     
  11.  
    09:00: Continuing coverage Gerry Holt BBC News

    BBC One's results programme has just ended - but stay with us for continuing coverage and all the latest reaction.

     
  12.  
    08:56: Referendum recap

    A reminder now of the dramatic events of the last 24 hours:

    Pro-union supporters celebrate as Scottish independence referendum results come in at a "Better Together" event in Glasgow, Scotland
    • Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom
    • 55% of voters said No to independence, while 45% said Yes
    • Turnout was nearly 84.5%
    • The final result was announced in Edinburgh in the last hour by Scotland's Chief Counting Officer Mary Pitcaithly

    Full story.

     
  13.  
    08:55: 'Momentous decision'

    Labour MP Douglas Alexander: "A momentous decision, a momentous night and, I think, a great, great, day for Scotland.

    Douglas Alexander

    "I couldn't be more proud of the decision that we have made to work for faster, safer and better change than the risks of separation. The choice was ours but the consequences are going to be felt in every part of the United Kingdom."

     
  14.  
    @fleetstfox 08:54: fleetstreetfox, Daily Mirror columnist

    fleetstreetfox, Daily Mirror columnist tweets: Well thank goodness for that. Thank you, Scotland.

     
  15.  
    08:53: Galloway reaction

    Speaking on BBC Radio Leeds, the Respect MP and No campaigner George Galloway says: "It was a very tough fight, we were reminded all over again just how hated the Westminster political class is."

     
  16.  
    @Nigel_Farage 08:52: Farage plea

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage has just posted letters from Westminster to all 59 Scottish MPs asking them not to vote on English issues...

    Mr Farage tweets: We need a full, proper national debate about the democratic future of England #indyref

     
  17.  
    @jonsnowc4news 08:51: Jon Snow, Channel 4 News presenter

    Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow tweets: Final 45% YES 55% NO: I'm pretty sure that for all the cash they make, not one polling outfit got the margin right.

     
  18.  
    08:50: Full Results

    Visit our Results Page for a full graphic break down of the independence referendum.

    Results Page
     
  19.  
    08:49: #indyref

    #BBCtrending looks at how the Scottish independence referendum played out on Twitter last night.

    #IndyRef
     
  20.  
    08:48: Stock market reaction

    Shares in London have opened with sharp gains. The FTSE 100 is 0.6% higher in early trading. Royal Bank of Scotland shares are up 4%, Lloyds Banking Group, which owns Bank of Scotland, is up 2.6% and energy firm SSE is up 2%.

     
  21.  
    Kamal Ahmed, BBC Business Editor 08:47: @bbckamal

    tweets: Lloyds Bank statement on Scotland more equivocal than RBS. Keeping options open on legal domicile #indyref.

     
  22.  
    08:46: Official declaration
    Mary Pitcaithly

    Mary Pitcaithly, confirming the result, says there were 3,429 rejected papers and the reasons for rejection were:

    • Want of an official mark - 16
    • Voter in favour of both answers - 691
    • Writing a mark by which the voter could be identified: 168
    • Unmarked or void for uncertainty: 2,554
     
  23.  
    @tombradby 08:45: Tom Bradby, Political Editor, ITV News

    Tom Bradby, Political Editor, ITV News tweets: I think history is going to be pretty kind to Gordon Brown, a man who can credibly claim to have saved the financial system and the Union.

     
  24.  
    08:44: Better Together celebrate

    Supporters of Better Together celebrate in Edinburgh as the final results of the independence referendum are confirmed.

    Better Together
     
  25.  
    Text using 80295 08:43: Referendum - Your Views

    Larissa, Fife: The result is a relief but the referendum has divided the people. The 45% who voted for independence must be heard too and the party leaders must keep their promise of more powers. Let's hope that this vote will trigger a much needed overhaul of Westminster and result in more powers for the different parts of the country!

    Gary, Carmarthenshire: I'm interested to know how much this referendum has cost, but more importantly who has foot the bill. If this has been funded by Westminster using British taxpayers money then it's a disgrace. The outcome of this referendum would have impacted on the whole of the United Kingdom with only the Scottish people having a say!

    Lorna: I am deeply depressed. Heard Cameron. He will not deliver on Brown promise.

    J.Fin: Scotland had a chance to make world history. Whitehall now sees Scotland as history.

     
  26.  
    08:39: David Eades, BBC World News @bbcdavideades

    tweets: Referendum result opens Pandora's Box on devolution across the UK. Regional press focus on call for more powers across NE England. #indyref

     
  27.  
    08:39: Lloyds statement

    Lloyds Banking Group, which owns Bank of Scotland and Halifax said: "Lloyds Banking Group has maintained a neutral stance in this debate as we believe the decision was to be solely a matter for the people of Scotland.

    "The group is proud of its strong Scottish heritage and remains committed to having a significant presence in Scotland. We remain fully focused on supporting households and businesses in Scotland as well as right across the rest of the UK."

     
  28.  
    08:36: Final result announcement

    The final result of Scotland's referendum is being officially announced by Mary Pitcaithly, Chief Counting Officer.

     
  29.  
    08:34: Pound surges

    The pound has hit a two-year high against the Euro and a two-week high against the US dollar, as Scotland voted against independence.

    pounds

    In early Asian trade, sterling jumped 0.43% to 1.2743 euros.

    Read the full story.

     
  30.  
    Ruth Davidson MSP 08:33: @ruthdavidsonmsp

    tweets: Scotland had the biggest, broadest conversation about our future. We have to come together again & move forward together. It's all our home.

     
  31.  
    08:32: Robinson analysis Nick Robinson Political editor

    The prime minister has also promised to produce reforms which deliver the soundbite - "English votes for English laws". It was a promise made in the last Conservative manifesto. It was and is a very popular in England. There is a reason, however, why it hasn't been enacted.

    Prime Minister David Cameron

    It could create two classes of MP. It might mean a government has a majority to pass certain laws but not others (if, for example, the next Labour government did not have a majority of MPs in England).

    What's known as the West Lothian question hasn't been answered since it was first asked in 1977. (The question was - Why should the MP for Blackburn in West Lothian in Scotland be able to vote on English matters when the MP for Blackburn in Lancashire can't vote on Scottish issues?).

    This referendum may have ended one debate in Scotland - for now. It has, however, lit the touchpaper on the explosive question of where power lies in the UK.

     
  32.  
    08:28: Robinson analysis Nick Robinson Political editor

    The people have spoken. Scotland has rejected independence. The result has been accepted by both sides. So that you might think is that. Not a bit of it.

    First Minister Alex Salmond

    The fact that over one and a half million British citizens voted to break away from the rest of the UK, the fact that a majority in Scotland's biggest city - Glasgow - backed independence, the fact that the Westminster establishment briefly thought this vote was lost is the reason for that.

    The leaders of the three UK parties are now promising significant constitutional change and not just for Scotland but for England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

    They have agreed on a timetable for giving more powers to the Scottish Parliament but are a long, long way from agreeing proposals. Alex Salmond may have lost this vote but he remains Scotland's First Minister. He's unlikely to merely accept what is offered up by his opponent.

     
  33.  
    @faisalislam 08:25: Faisal Islam, Sky News Political Editor

    Faisal Islam, Sky News Political Editor tweets: ...So did one stray opinion poll in the Sunday papers change via panic and GBrown, course of the United Kingdom constitutional settlement...

     
  34.  
    08:23: FINAL RESULT

    The final result is in:

    • 1,617,989 (45%) said Yes
    • 2,001,926 (55%) said No
    • Turnout was 84.5%
     
  35.  
    08:21: Breaking down the vote... James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    Dundee, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, and West Dunbartonshire said Yes. Everywhere else said No. #indyref #Scotland

     
  36.  
    08:19: HIGHLAND RESULT

    "No" wins by 87,739 to 78,069.

    That is 52.9% for "No" and 47.1% for "Yes"

    Total votes 165,808. Turnout was 86.9%.

     
  37.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 08:13: Get involved

    There have been nearly 160,000 tweets about the Referendum between 7am and 8am this morning. That's a dip of 15% on the previous hour.

    The most shared tweet in the last hour is from UK Prime Minister David Cameron. He tweeted: "Just as Scotland will have more power over their affairs, it follows England, Wales and N Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs."

    His account is also the most influential.

    Amongst the most shared photos are those of no supporters reacting to the results.

    You can join the conversation via #indyref, tweet or go to the BBC News page on Facebook.

     
  38.  
    David Mundell MP 08:10: Referendum reaction

    Scottish Conservative MP tweets: Was it only 24 hours ago that I was queuing up outside Moffat Town Hall to vote? As we have seen a long time in Scottish politics!

     
  39.  
    08:09: How the No side won

    Vanessa Barford examines how Better Together managed to win the Scottish independence referendum.

    No thanks
     
  40.  
    08:08: 'Business as usual' Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Clydesdale Bank statement: business as usual, with strong roots in Scotland.

     
  41.  
    08:03: Throws down the gauntlet Andrew Marr, broadcaster and journalist BBC News

    What started as a vote on whether Scotland would leave the UK has ended with an extraordinary constitutional revolution announced outside Downing Street by the Prime Minister.

    It throws down the gauntlet to the Labour party that we are going to see very big change coming and it had better come quickly.

    We always used to be told that if you laid all the economists in the world end to end they still wouldn't reach a conclusion and I think that could be said often about parliamentary committees and inquiries and commissions.

    Well it can't happen this time because it's not taking place in a sealed room with the Westminster parties, the old smug consensus, getting round an argument with each other as before.

    This is really taking place in a huge glass house, being watched by all the Scottish voters and by millions of people around the UK.

    What the Scottish shock has done is produce a constitutional revolution on a very, very tight timetable. Possibly the most exciting political story in my lifetime.

     
  42.  
    08:00: In Pictures

    Our picture gallery on the story of the day and night, from the polling stations to the reaction in George Square.

    George Square reaction
     
  43.  
    @chrisshipitv 07:58: Chris Ship, Deputy Political Editor, ITV News

    Chris Ship, Deputy Political Editor, ITV News tweets: I see the #indyref story is very quickly moving to England. I can imagine the reaction in Scotland to that is "what's new?"

     
  44.  
    07:57: Cameron: Key quotes

    David Cameron closed his statement by saying: "This referendum has been hard fought, it has stirred strong passions, it has electrified politics in Scotland and caught the imagination of people across the whole of our United Kingdom.

    "It will be remembered as a powerful demonstration of the strength and vitality of our ancient democracy."

     
  45.  
    07:53: The verdict from abroad

    The BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent Bridget Kendall reports on how nations around the world will react following a No vote on Scottish independence.

    Catalan campaigners
     
  46.  
    07:52: Hague appointment

    Just a reminder of another appointment made by David Cameron who said the leader of the Commons, William Hague, alongside a Cabinet committee, will draw up plans to allow English MPs to decide the outcome of laws that only apply to England.

     
  47.  
    07:50: Cameron: Key quotes

    "Now the debate has been settled for a generation, or as Alex Salmond has said: 'Perhaps for a lifetime'. So their can be no disputes, no re-runs, we have heard the will of the Scottish people.

    "Scotland voted for a stronger Scottish parliament backed by the strength and security of the United Kingdom and I want to congratulate the No campaign for that, for showing people that our nations really are Better Together.

    "I also want to pay tribute to Yes Scotland for a well-fought campaign and to say to all those who did vote for independence 'we hear you'."

     
  48.  
    07:48: Cameron: Key quotes

    Prime Minister David Cameron: "The people of Scotland have spoken and it is a clear result. They have kept our country of four nations together and like millions of other people I am delighted.

    "As I said during the campaign, it would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end.

    "And I know that sentiment was shared by people not just across our country but around the world because of what we have achieved together in the past, and what we can do together in the future.

    David Cameron

    "So, now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together and to move forward.

    "A vital part of that will be a balanced settlement, fair to people in Scotland and importantly to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

    "To those in Scotland sceptical of the constitutional promises that were made, let me say this: we have delivered on devolution under this government and we will do so again in the next parliament.

    "The three pro-Union parties have made commitments, clear commitments on further powers for the Scottish Parliament.

    "We will ensure that those commitments are honoured in full."

     
  49.  
    07:46: 'No means a landslide'

    Diane Abbott MP tweets: The 6 million strong city of London (& other cities) must get powers to parallel those being devolved to Scotland #indyref.

    British actor Simon Pegg tweets: Feel sad for those who campaigned hard for a Yes vote. Hopefully some meaningful change will come of this. It was by no means a landslide.

     
  50.  
    07:45: Voter turnout Gary Robertson BBC Radio Scotland

    Official turnout in #indyref verified as 84.6% #bbcgms.

     
  51.  
    07:43: Your emails from Australia

    Paul Gibbings from Melbourne wrote: "John Lennon would be happy, he wanted less countries not more. There needs to be an example set, the world needs to unify."

    Martin Cooper emailed: "Please let the vote result be a peaceful one without reprisals and animosity."

     
  52.  
    @jonsnowc4 07:41: Jon Snow, Channel 4 News

    Channel 4 News presenter tweets: Damp calm pervades Edinburgh... many I have spoken to, whether YES or NO, deeply mistrust Westminster's will to deliver promised reforms

     
  53.  
    07:39: UKIP reaction

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage tells BBC Radio 4's Today: "I'm writing to Scottish MPs to say please commit from today not to vote or debate at Westminster on English issues."

     
  54.  
    07:38: The Key Moment

    Watch the moment when it became official that Scotland had voted No in the independence referendum.

    Scotland votes No
     
  55.  
    07:35: Robinson analysis of Cameron Nick Robinson Political editor

    What is really new is not what he's saying about Scotland - it's what he's saying about England. Specifically a promise to bring in English votes for English laws - a Tory manifesto promise that he didn't deliver on and that there was no coalition agreement to which, in simple terms, means this: Within Westminster when there are matters being discussed which the Welsh Assembly has responsibility for or the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly that those MPs for should not be allowed to vote in Westminster.

     
  56.  
    07:33: RBS statement Kamal Ahmed BBC Business editor

    Royal Bank of Scotland has given a statement to the BBC's business editor, Kamal Ahmed, it says: "The announcement we made about moving our registered head office to England was part of a contingency plan to ensure certainty and stability for our customers, staff and shareholders should there be a 'Yes' vote. That contingency plan is no longer required. Following the result it is business as usual for all our customers across the UK and RBS."

     
  57.  
    Magnus Gardham 07:32: Devolution move

    The editor of the Daily Herald tweets: Cameron announces @Glasgow2014 chair Lord Smith of Kelvin is to oversee the issue of devolution #indyref

     
  58.  
    07:31: Analysis Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Now there's been a "No" vote, David Cameron used his speech to aim to show the UK government is immediately grabbing the initiative by announcing Lord Smith of Kelvin, a former BBC governor, to oversee the implementation of more devolution on tax, spending and welfare.

    He said draft legislation would be ready by January, as per the timetable laid out by Mr Cameron's predecessor as PM, Gordon Brown.

    Mr Cameron knows he has to move quickly, to avoid any accusation from the SNP - which of course is still forms Scotland's government - that his more powers pledge was a pre-referendum bribe.

     
  59.  
    07:30: Market reaction

    Mike Amey, managing director and portfolio manage at bond trader PIMCO, tells Today he expects the markets to open higher as a result of the Scottish referendum result. "It will be back to the data for our traders and what the Bank of England will do [on interest rates]."

     
  60.  
    07:26: The scene in Edinburgh Andrew Kerr BBC News

    Dawn is breaking here at the Scottish Parliament. It's a misty, murky autumn morning. Yes supporters are still gathering outside Holyrood.

     
  61.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 07:24: Get involved

    There have been nearly 180,000 tweets about the Referendum between 6am and 7am this morning. That's up 10% on the previous hour.

    The top tweet in the last hour is from BBC News: "Scotland has rejected independence, #indyref results confirm" retweeted over 6,500 times.

    One of the most shared photos is of a no supporter, wearing a union flag hat and shirt.

    You can join the conversation by using #indyref, tweet @BBCPolitics or go to the BBC News page on Facebook.

     
  62.  
    07:20: UK is stronger - Miliband

    Labour leader Ed Miliband tweets: Our United Kingdom is stronger today than it was yesterday.

     
  63.  
    07:18: 'Settled for a generation' Chris Mason Political correspondent, BBC News

    PM says independence question in Scotland has been 'settled for a generation, or, as Alex Salmond said, perhaps a lifetime.' #bbcindyref

     
  64.  
    07:14: Analysis Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    David Cameron says there is clear support for maintaining the union. It is time now for the UK to come together - with a "balanced settlement" which is fair to Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.

    He says the debate on independence has been "settled for a generation": the settled will of the Scottish people. That latter a conscious echo of words delivered by John Smith about devolution.

    Prime Minister David Cameron

    Now, he says, there is a chance to change the way the British people are governed. Once more, emphasis on all the constituent parts of the UK.

    Insists the promises for Scotland will be delivered "in full". Lord Smith of Kelvin to oversee that process. England, Wales and NI must have bigger say too. A new and fair settlement across the UK.

    More powers for Wales. Make devolved institutions function effectively in NI. But now England must be heard. In short, he wants a decisive answer on West Lothian - with English votes on English issues. William Hague to work on that. To the same timetable as the Scottish action.

    Challenges: can it be done to the timetable; will not some, perhaps many, at Westminster want to move on to other issues; will not the UK parties be focused on fighting the General Election rather than agreeing on the constitution.

     
  65.  
    07:12: Lord Smith appointment

    David Cameron says Lord Smith of Kelvin, chairman of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, is to oversee the process of further devolution.

    Draft laws on new powers for Scotland will be published by January, he adds.

     
  66.  
    07:11: Cameron: Devolution pledge

    "We have delivered on devolution and we will do so in the next parliament," adds the prime minister.

    Prime Minister David Cameron

    "We will ensure that those commitments are honoured in full."

     
  67.  
    07:09: Cameron: Referendum was right

    "It was right that we respected the SNP's majority in Holyrood and gave the Scottish people the right to have their say," adds the prime minister outside Downing Street.

    "There can be no disputes. No re-runs. We have heard the settled will of the Scottish people."

    England, Wales and Northern Ireland "should be able to vote" on tax, spending and welfare, he continues.

     
  68.  
    07:08: Cameron 'move forward'

    David Cameron says: "It is time for our United Kingdom to come together and move forward."

    The prime minister credits both sides of the debate for a "hard fought campaign".

     
  69.  
    07:07: Breaking News

    David Cameron says: "The people of Scotland have spoken and it is a clear result. They have kept our country of four nations together and like millions of other people I am delighted."

     
  70.  
    07:06: George Square tensions Ken Macdonald BBC Scotland Science Correspondent

    Police trying to defuse a standoff in Glasgow's George Square between remaining Yes campaigners and a handful of No supporters waving union flags.

    George Square after No vote
     
  71.  
    07:02: Reaction from Germany

    Katrin Göring-Eckhardt, parliamentary leader of German Green Party, said: "The No victory is a huge relief for me. It prevents a further fragmentation of Europe. But the close race shows that people want more participation."

    Ms Göring-Eckhardt made the comments on German public TV ZDF Morning Magazine.

     
  72.  
    07:00: Argyll clear-up

    Result 6am, room cleared by 6.10am. That's showbiz... and politics.

    Argyll
     
  73.  
    07:04: Cameron statement

    Prime Minister David Cameron is about to speak outside Number 10 Downing Street.

     
  74.  
    07:00: Analysis Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    Alex Salmond thanks Scotland for 1.6m votes for independence. Acknowledging that there is a majority for No, he urges all in Scotland to accept that outcome.

    The conduct of the plebiscite - and the turnout - are, he says, part of a triumph for the democratic process and for participation in politics.

    First Minister Alex Salmond

    Turning to the consequences, he pledges to work constructively in the interests of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom. Explicitly, he says that the promise of more powers must be honoured "in rapid course".

    A clear indication, once more, of the direction which the SNP will follow: demanding and driving change.

    Equally, though, Mr Salmond is speaking at a rostrum with a logo stating "One Scotland". His approach, therefore, offers a consensual tone following a closely fought and, by simple definition, potentially divisive referendum.

    At the same time, however, he identifies a "scare and a fear" at the heart of the Westminster establishment.

    But his conclusion is that there will be further progress. Not independence. But change.

     
  75.  
    06:58: No vote confirmed

    Chief counting officer Mary Pitcaithly: "It is clear that the majority of people voting have voted No to the referendum question."

     
  76.  
    06:57: 'Up for the fight' Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    The pro-independence business group Business for Scotland is highly sceptical that proper new powers will come to the devolved parliament from Westminster. Chief Executive Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, says: "We will get nothing without a fight - but we are up for that fight."

     
  77.  
    06:55: RBS reaction expected Kamal Ahmed, BBC Business Editor

    With No confirmed as the winner in the referendum, we can expect the Royal Bank of Scotland to say there is now no need to move domicile to London. The bank had prepared for a "Yes" vote by saying last week that it would move its headquarters from Edinburgh. I wouldn't be surprised if Ross McEwan, the chief executive, re-iterated the bank's commitment to Scotland. I am sure RBS's executives are relieved that the upheaval of independence will now not happen.

     
  78.  
    06:50: Darling 'get on with it together'

    Mr Darling adds: "We must also recognise the debate has created some deep divisions in our country. It has been a campaign that has energised and divided."

    Better Together's Alistair Darling

    He stresses that those divisions must be addressed and everyone has a part to play in bringing the country together.

    Mr Darling ends his speech by saying: "Come on Scotland, let's get on with it together."

     
  79.  
    06:49: A new dawn

    Scotland has voted No to independence, and this is how the result was reflected on the BBC's headquarters in Pacific Quay in Glasgow.

    BBC headquarters after No vote
     
  80.  
    06:10: FIFE RESULT

    "No" wins by 139,788 to 114,148.

    That is 55% for "No" and 45% for "Yes"

    Total votes was 253,936. Turnout was 84%

     
  81.  
    06:46: Lamont on Salmond's speech

    Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, questioned the tone of the First Minister's speech. She said she understood the emotional pressure he was under, but hoped he would "reflect".

     
  82.  
    06:45: 'Austerity agenda' Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Green MSP Patrick Harvie, a key figure in the Yes Scotland campaign, says he's "disappointed" with the result, but adds: "The strength of feeling expressed in the referendum cannot be ignored, and the UK government cannot be allowed to sweep Scotland aside.

    "Any further devolution must not force Holyrood to implement the UK's austerity agenda."

     
  83.  
    06:44: Darling: Silent have spoken

    Better Together campaign leader Alistair Darling thanks everyone who has worked to secure victory, adding: "We've taken on the argument and we've won. The silent have spoken."

     
  84.  
    06:44: Breaking News

    Better Together leader Alistair Darling says: "Today is a momentous result for Scotland but also for the United kingdom as a whole."

     
  85.  
    06:42: Clegg relief for 'family of nations'

    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will appear before the media in Edinburgh later this morning, but he's just said: "I'm absolutely delighted the Scottish people have taken this momentous decision to safeguard our family of nations for future generations. In a dangerous and uncertain world I have no doubt we are stronger, safer, and more prosperous together than we every could be apart."

    Mr Clegg adds: "A vote against independence was clearly not a vote against change and we must now deliver on time and in full the radical package of newly devolved powers to Scotland."

    He says the verdict marks not only a new chapter for Scotland within the UK but also wider constitutional reform across the Union.

     
  86.  
    06:41: 'Take forward'

    Douglas Alexander, shadow foreign secretary and part the Better Together campaign, says: "I think there needs to start today a process of reconciliation. Our challenge is to bring our nation together and take our nation forward."

     
  87.  
    06:40: Campaigners' reactions Laura Maxwell, BBC Scotland News

    There have been tears from "Yes" campaigners at Ingliston. But one lady told me she was realistic before coming here this evening, and 45% of the vote was still a vote for change.

    One senior figure from the Conservatives told me he had been at many counts in Ingliston, but rarely on the winning side - he said it was definitely less tiring being on this side of the vote.

     
  88.  
    06:38: Analysis John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    The variation in No support in different kind of councils is very much in line with some of the expectations in advance of the night about the kinds of places in which the No campaign would do relatively well.

    No supporters

    The No vote was generally higher in places with a relatively high migrant population from the rest of the UK, in places with a relatively high middle-class population, in places where there are more older people and in the more rural half of Scotland. These patterns are illustrated by the following figures:

    1 - the No vote has averaged 64% in those councils where more than 12% of the population was born in the rest of the UK and just 53% in those where less than 8% were born elsewhere in the UK

    2 - the No vote averaged 60% where more than 30% of the population are professional and managerial but only 51% where less than 26% are in professional managerial occupations.

    3 - the No vote was 61% on average in those places where more than 24% of the population were aged 65 and over but only 51% where less than 21% are over 65 and over

    4 - the No vote at 60% was higher in the more rural half of Scotland than in the more urban half where it averaged just 53%.

     
  89.  
    06:37: Campaign leaders react
    Salmond graphic

    We're hearing there will also be reaction from Better Together leader Alistair Darling within the hour.

     
  90.  
    06:36: Handing over

    The website's overnight referendum coverage was brought to you by - Andrew Black, Steve Brocklehurst, Marianne Taylor, Aiden James, Martin Currie, Laura Pettigrew, Rob Corp, David Martin, Stuart Nicolson, Louise Sayers, Deirdre Kelly, Cath Lyst, Tom Housden, Jonathan Austin, Carol Duncan, Jamie Ross, Doug Kennedy, Tom Moseley, Graham Gillies, Craig Frew, Kimberley Patterson, Scott Currie, Paul Mcfadyen Oliver Thompson.

     
  91.  
    06:35: Highest Yes votes

    The local authorities will the highest proportion of Yes votes are:

    Dundee 57%

    West Dunbartonshire 54%

    Glasgow 53%

    North Lanarkshire 51%

     
  92.  
    Analysis 06:34: What happens now? Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland
  93.  
    06:33: Cameron statement James Landale Deputy political editor

    David Cameron's advisers say he will make a "significant statement" when he speaks shortly after 07:00.

     
  94.  
    Email Haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 06:32: Join the conversation

    Ian Rochester in Northumberland asks: 55% of the Scottish voting population have decided on retaining the "status quo" between Scotland and the rest on Great Britain, so why are people now saying that fundamental changes must now happen?

     
  95.  
    06:31: Celebrations from No Laura Maxwell BBC Scotland

    Robbie MacNiven, 22, from Inverness and 21-year-old Solvein Siem from Norway celebrate the No vote at Ingliston.

    Robbie MacNiven, 22, from Inverness and 21-year-old Solvein Siem from Norway celebrate the No vote at Ingliston.
     
  96.  
    @TogetherDarling 06:28: Alistair Darling

    Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign tweets: An extraordinary night. Humbled by the level of support and the efforts of our volunteers. Will give speech in Glasgow shortly. #indyref

     
  97.  
    06:28: Cameron statement Cameron tweet

    David Cameron tweets: I'll be making a statement following the Scottish Referendum results just after 7am. #indyref

     
  98.  
    06:26: Salmond: 'Forward as one nation'

    Mr Salmond ended his speech by saying: "We shall go forward as one nation."

     
  99.  
    06:25: Salmond 'not business as usual'

    "We have touched sections of the community who have never been touched before by politics. These communities have touched us... I don't think that will ever be allowed to go back to business as usual in politics again."

    Alex Salmond
     
  100.  
    06:24: Scotland deserves 'enormous credit'

    Mr Salmond added: "I think the process by which we have made our decision as a nation reflects enormous credit upon Scotland. A turnout of 86% is one of the highest of the democratic world, in any election or any referendum in history."

     

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