THE winners of the economic arguments over independence will win this year's referendum, according to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

"I firmly believe who wins the economic argument will win the referendum," she told the BBC. "Scotland can more than afford to be independent, something that even the No campaign agrees with. We need the powers over the economy to get faster and more sustainable growth into the economy for the long term."

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She pledged a "ruthless focus on the benefits of independence, from the transformation in childcare through to a reduction in APD [air passenger duty] and what we can do to get our economy growing. "It's that message that will turn the debate and win the campaign for Yes."

But Better Together highlighted a series of responses to a Financial Times survey from economists and academics, mainly based in London, expressing concerns about the impact of a Yes vote and plans for sharing sterling and securing EU membership.

Former Labour Chancellor and campaign leader Alistair Darling said: "As these independent, impartial experts have highlighted in this survey, the risks involved in leaving the UK are massive.

"The choice we make will not only impact on our own jobs, pensions and savings - our choice will be felt by the generations who follow us.

"It is absolutely vital that we get this decision right. I believe that we have the best of both worlds in Scotland."