Scotland politics

Scottish Independence: pro-union booklet to be sent to every home.

UK government leaflet Image copyright UK government
Image caption The booklet does not mention any new powers promised to Scots voters in the event of a "No" vote

A UK government booklet putting the case for the union is to be posted to every home in Scotland at a cost of £720,000.

It said the 16-page booklet would set out the "positive case" for Scotland remaining part of the UK.

But it does not mention any of the new powers which Scots have been promised if the voters reject independence.

The Scottish government said it had received 60,000 requests for copies of its own Scotland's Future booklet.

A spokesman said there had been a further 60,000 downloads of the document which has been described as a blueprint for independence.

The UK government's booklet contains information already available in its Scotland Analysis papers, but it said the details were set out in a more "clear and simple format".

More than 2.5 million booklets will be printed and then distributed to every household in Scotland from 23 June.

Additional powers

The £720,000 cost - about 30p per booklet - will be met by the Cabinet Office budget and not the Scottish government's block grant.

Only the powers that are currently guaranteed under the Scotland Act 2012 are mentioned.

The additional powers promised by the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats remain "in the realm of political debate" and are not appropriate for inclusion in a government document, according to Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.

Launching the booklet at the Scotland Office in Edinburgh, Mr Carmichael said: "The information that we have provided in the Scotland Analysis programme, over 1,000 pages, has very much shaped the debate over the last 18 months and it has concentrated on those issues in relation to which the decision will ultimately be made.

"It is clear, however, that there is still demand from the general public for information to be distilled in a clear and simple format for them to consider before they vote in this most important decision that we will ever make as a country."

Electoral Commission

The booklet has been in production for around a month and is not a reaction to any recent narrowing of the polls, Mr Carmichael said.

Under Electoral Commission rules there will be restrictions on the information that the Scottish government and certain publicly funded bodies can publish about the referendum from 22 August.

The restrictions relate to publishing general information about the referendum as well as about the issues and arguments, and also apply to encouraging people to vote.

The UK government is not covered by the referendum legislation but has agreed to abide by the same restrictions.

The Scottish government own referendum rules also state that campaign spending does not apply to it or the UK government before 22 August.

A spokesperson for First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Scotland's Future is the most comprehensive and detailed blueprint of its kind ever published, not just for Scotland, but for any prospective independent country.‬

"It doesn't matter how much the UK government spends on trying to reverse the rising support for independence - with even top Whitehall civil servants now admitting that members of the UK government have 'misbriefed' key stats.

"Nothing they claim has any credibility any more."

The referendum on Scottish independence will be held on 18 September, when voters will be asked the Yes/No question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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