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Independence referendum date to be announced

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond is to reveal the date of the independence referendum today, in a statement to Parliament – expected to be autumn next year.

The Referendum Bill on the vote will be brought before Holyrood. The SNP has already introduced separate draft legislation to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote. Voters will be asked the yes/no question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC: “Everybody in Scotland, no matter what side of the debate they are on, will recognise this as a key milestone on the road to the referendum.

“The day of the referendum will be confirmed, when we can decide to take our own future into our own hands to vote for independence and the powers we need to build a fairer, more prosperous country that we all want to see.”

But Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, who is supporting the campaign to keep the Union, said: “Scotland has been waiting far too long, both for the date to be announced and engagement in a serious debate about the referendum.

“The reality is that, while the First Minister plays around at when he's going to give us the date, he's not doing his day job, which is running the country.

“Our services are under pressure and families are under pressure and they deserve a government which has got them as a focus, not their own party obsessions.”

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