Marking the milestone of 500 days to go to the referendum, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“In just 500 days time the people of Scotland will get the opportunity to answer the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’
“A vote for independence means we take Scotland’s future into our own hands. Being independent means we always get the governments we vote for and that’s very important. I give you one example – the bedroom tax.
“It is a policy that many, many people in Scotland think is unfair, it penalises the most vulnerable people in our society. Nine out of 10 of Scotland’s MPs in the House of Commons voted against the bedroom tax and yet that policy is still being imposed on Scotland. Independence would means that that never happens. Scotland would always get the government it votes for.
“There is no doubt, no doubt at all that Scotland can afford to be an independent country. No one is seriously arguing that we could not pay our way. In every year over the last 30 years people in Scotland have contributed more tax per head of population than the UK as a whole.
“Social protection benefits like pensions that are so important to everybody across Scotland are more affordable in Scotland than they are in the UK and that’s according to official figures. They are more affordable than in many European countries.
“We have a wonderfully diverse economy. As well as our renewable energy sector, Scotland is world leading in life sciences, food and drink, we have some of the best universities in the world. And of course we have billions of barrels of oil still to be exploited in the North Sea. So our economy has got so much going for it and we have so much potential to fulfil.
“And yet there is a paradox in Scotland today because while our economy has all of these advantages many people in Scotland feel that their living standards are under pressure like never before. The gap between the richest and the poorest is growing ever wider. Only independence can change this.
“Independence gives us the chance to build a better future. To fulfil the vast potential of our economy and make sure we have the kind of society we want to live in. the kind of society we want out children to grow up in.
“That’s the benefit of independence and the opportunity that everyone in Scotland has in just 500 days. The opportunity to take our future into our own hands.”