The countdown to Scotland's referendum on independence from the UK officially began today, as British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Edinburgh and signed an agreement with Scottish leader Alex Salmond, the BBC reports. The deal settles the terms of the 2014 referendum on whether to end the 305-year-old union, according to the Guardian. Cameron has accepted Salmond's timing of the vote—the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn—and his demand to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote, while Salmond has agreed to drop his demand for a question on limited devolution, leaving Scots with a straight yes or no vote.
"The agreement will see Scotland take an important step toward independence, and the means to create a fairer and more prosperous Scotland," Salmond said ahead of the meeting. "I look forward to working positively for a yes vote in 2014." But polls show that no more than 40% of Scots currently favor independence, and the British government argues that an independent Scotland would struggle without funding from London, Reuters reports.