Ahead of its Sept. 18 independence referendum, Scotland has unveiled a 670-page document (available here) laying out the foundations for the proposed country. "This is the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published," says Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. "We do not seek independence as an end in itself, but rather as a means to changing Scotland for the better." To that end, the White Paper features plans for a social policy "revolution," the BBC reports.
Scotland's currency would remain the pound, the country would stay in the European Union, and the queen would still be queen, Salmond says, per Reuters. But under the plan:
- The government would open some 35,000 jobs amid a push for women in the workforce, the Scotsman reports.
- Officials would offer 30 hours per week of childcare for toddlers.
- Minimum wage would be tied to cost of living.
- A pension system would be "triple-locked" for security.
- The first parliament would rid the country of Trident nukes.
- The country would collect its own taxes.
- Scotland would have its own defense force.
The document is seeking to win support for independence as polls show 47% are against the idea, 38% back it, and 15% haven't decided, Reuters notes. If the backers ultimately win, the country would become independent on March 24, 2016