THE Deputy First Minister today laid out the challenges Scotland faces and argued that independence is the only way to address them.

Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) that a Yes vote will secure the

powers needed to deliver

prosperity and fairness, while proposals put forward by

pro-union groups "fall far short" of what is needed.

She said plans to enhance Holyrood's fiscal powers within the UK lacked substance, a common plan and a guarantee of delivery.

Under Labour's proposals Westminster would continue to control almost three

quarters of Scottish tax revenues, Ms Sturgeon said, and two thirds of revenue in the case of the Liberal Democrats' plan.

"That means we would not retain the benefits of our

investment in childcare, nor the benefits of savings to

welfare payments from getting more people into work," she told the SCDI.

"And we would remain powerless to protect Scotland from Westminster's dismantling of the social security system.

"Significant economic taxes - notably corporation tax but also oil and gas revenues - would remain with Westminster. We would continue to lack the ability to use these powers to shape a competitive business environment or build a sustainable economy."

SCDI is an economic development organisation whose members include businesses, universities, government agencies, trade unions and charities. Ms Sturgeon

addressed the event at the Glasgow Central Hotel this morning.

She said that the other parties have made it clear they will not produce a common plan for more powers and that this was " unacceptable".

With 200 days to go to the poll, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has said it is time for people living in Scotland to turn their attention to how they will vote,

urging them to consider the impact of independence on key issues such as welfare,

income tax and currency.

Mr Carmichael said: "We cannot afford to gamble with our nation's future - so that means making an informed choice and to do that we all need to get the facts.

"Nobody should think that this is not a decision that matters for them.

"Crucial decisions - like whether you keep the UK pound in your pocket - rest on this vote."