Nicola's 50 questions for the No campaign

NICOLA Sturgeon has issued a list of 50 questions on Scotland's future she wants unionist parties to answer if Scots remain in the UK.

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Her challenge comes a day after Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, produced a list of 20 reasons why Scotland should vote No in this year's referendum.

The Deputy First Minister posed her list of questions on a range of topics including finance, the economy, health, welfare and democracy.

She has urged the No campaign to produce a document similar to the Scottish Government's White Paper on Independence, to allow people to compare two possible futures and make up their mind.

The questions include, will the Barnett formula which dictates Scotland's share of UK funding be retained, and how much will it be cut by?

She has asked if the bedroom tax will be abolished and if Scotland's demographics and life expectancy rates will be considered when setting the retirement age. Ms Sturgeon said: "In the interests of a fair, balanced and fully- informed debate, it is essential that there is an equivalent amount of detail from those arguing for a No vote.

"Therefore, those leading the anti-independence campaign have a responsibility to answer the crunch questions such as by how much will Scotland's budget be cut if there is a No vote, will the UK remain in the European Union, and how much more of Scotland's money would be wasted on Trident nuclear weapons that we neither want not need?"

Other questions included will Air Passenger Duty be devolved, will there be more privatisations to follow the Post Office sell-off, and will the National Minimum Wage increase in line with inflation?

She added: "These issues and many more highlight why it is essential that we achieve a Yes vote in September."

Mr Carmichael's list of top 20 reasons for staying in the UK included shared use of the pound as currency, higher public spending levels in Scotland, international influence, the Security services of MI6 and M16 and devolution.

He said the UK has built things of enormous value and building on them will create a stronger future.

Ms Sturgeon, who has already faced Mr Carmichael in a TV debate, said the UK was planning another round of cuts. She said: "Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced plans for a further £25 billion of public spending cuts - including huge additional cuts to welfare - which brings into even sharper relief the prospects for Scotland under the Westminster system should there be a No vote in September.

NICOLA STURGEON - PAGE 16

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