The Scottish Independence Referendum

We have lots of information on the referendum to help you have your say.

Scotland's Future - The Referendum

The Referendum

A referendum is a vote on a single topic or question. In the Scottish Independence Referendum, the question is: Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No.

The vote on Scottish independence will take place on Thursday 18th September 2014.

At the moment Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland are part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Each country, except England, has varying degrees of control over their own affairs through what is called devolution. 

This is when some powers that would normally have been governed by the Houses of Parliament for all of Britain, are transferred, or devolved, to the parliament in the individual country – in Scotland this means the Scottish parliament.

Scotland has had its own Parliament since 1999 when some powers were moved from the UK Parliament in Westminster (devolution). This means while the Scottish Parliament has control over many things like Health, Education, and Housing, the UK Parliament is still responsible for Defence, Benefits, Foreign policy and other matters.

In 2011, the SNP (Scottish National Party) won the largest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament. Part of their commitment to the voters at the time was to hold a Referendum (a vote) on Scotland’s future within the United Kingdom. 

Key Dates

The Scottish Government has published the following timeline of key dates for the referendum:

• Start of regulation period – May 2014

The regulation period starts 16 weeks before the date of the referendum. During which the respective campaigns are limited to how much money they can spend on things like promotion and advertising materials.

• Pre-referendum period - 28 days before referendum

For 28 days before the referendum the Scottish government, or any local authority or public body, will not be allowed to produce any new publications or promotional material regarding the referendum.

• Referendum - 18th September 2014

The date itself. If you’re eligible to vote make sure you register and make your choice. For more information on how to register to vote, check out our ‘How do I register to vote?' article.

On 26th November 2013, the Scottish Government published its white paper for Scottish independence. A white paper is a report or guide that tries to offer a thorough explanation of an issue; so the white paper for Scottish independence outlines the Yes campaign’s vision for an independent Scotland. For more information on the white paper visit the Scottish Referendum website.

Thinking about voting for the first time? Not sure what to do and how to go about it? Need some help with the skills you need to form a political opinion? Visit our Voting page to find out more.

Have a question about the referendum? Visit the Referend-erm? website to ask yours and see what other people are asking!