UK Foreign Secretary and Chief Secretary of the Treasury are scheduled to launch on Friday in Glasgow a Scotland analysis paper, the first in the series to be published since the launch of the Scottish Government’s White Paper in November. Next September Scotland is holding a vote on independence.
Friday's paper will highlight the UK’s unique role in world affairs. It will discuss how the UK’s overseas network ensures the safety of Scottish people abroad, supports Scottish businesses and promotes shared values, such as democracy, human rights and the fight against poverty.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said that at the start of a momentous year for Scotland, I look forward to coming to Glasgow this week for the launch of this paper. I believe that we are safer and stronger together, and that together we can do more good in the world.”
The paper will look at the UK’s global diplomatic network. One of the most extensive, well-respected and influential in the world, it employs over 14,000 people in 267 Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates in 154 countries and 12 Overseas Territories.
It will look at how businesses based in Scotland can benefit directly from efforts to protect the UK’s economic interests – for example, defending Scotch whisky against counterfeits, discriminatory or excessive taxation, trade barriers and other restrictions.
The paper will note that Scottish businesses can draw on the help of UK Trade & Investment in 169 locations in over 100 markets worldwide, and from the British Council, which is represented in 110 countries. It will also discuss the consular support available to Scottish people as they travel overseas.
It will also look at the implications of independence in terms of an independent Scotland’s membership of international bodies such as the European Union and NATO.
The British government also confirmed on Monday that it will take responsibility for all British government debt should Scotland vote for independence in September, a move it hopes will avoid jitters in bond markets ahead of the referendum.
In the event of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom, the continuing UK government would in all circumstances honor the contractual terms of the debt issued by the UK government, the Treasury said in a statement.
An independent Scotland would be responsible for a fair and proportionate share” of Britain's liabilities but a share of the outstanding debt would not be transferred to Scotland, it said, adding the terms of repayment would be subject to negotiation. Britain's net debt stood at nearly 1.2 trillion pounds at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year.