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UK Government spend £720,000 to provide every household with booklet on facts of indyref

A UK Government booklet setting out "the facts" of Scottish independence will be posted to every household at a cost of £720,000.

The booklet is aimed at voters who say they still do not have enough information to make an informed choice in the referendum on September 18.

It contains information already available in the UK Government's Scotland Analysis papers, but in a more "clear and simple format", officials said.

However, it does not include any of the new powers Scots have been promised if they vote No to independence.

Only the powers that are currently guaranteed under the Scotland Act 2012 are mentioned.

The additional powers promised by the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats remain "in the realm of political debate" and are not appropriate for inclusion in a government document, according to Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.

Launching the booklet at the Scotland Office in Edinburgh, Mr Carmichael said: "The information that we have provided in the Scotland Analysis programme, over 1,000 pages, has very much shaped the debate over the last 18 months and it has concentrated on those issues in relation to which the decision will ultimately be made.

"It is clear, however, that there is still demand from the general public for information to be distilled in a clear and simple format for them to consider before they vote in this most important decision that we will ever make as a country.

"Starting on June 23, every household in Scotland will receive a booklet providing information on the positive case for Scotland remaining part of the UK.

"It contains clear, factual information covering areas such as currency, energy, trade, pensions and mortgages.

"It also highlights the benefits of the UK's influence in the world and the many shared institutions such as the BBC and DVLA.

"More than 2.5 million leaflets will be issued to every household in Scotland. The cost of this will be around £720,000 to produce, print and distribute, working out around 30p per booklet.

"Independence is irreversible, so people will need authoritative information that they can trust.

"This booklet is the outcome of the most detailed analysis conducted by the UK civil service into Scotland's role in the UK."

He said the Scotland Act powers are contained in the booklet as they "are what's there and what is guaranteed".

The additional powers offered by the unionist parties are "something that takes you into the realm of political debate".

"I couldn't sanction government information including what is effectively in party policies at the moment," he said.

The booklet has been in production for around a month and is not a reaction to the recent slight narrowing of the polls, Mr Carmichael said.

"This is not a change of tack," he said.

"This is a further instance of government information. This is, if you like, the logical next step of the Scotland Analysis programme.

"It's information that is already out there, but it will bring to the widest possible audience information that is already in the public domain."

The £720,000 is drawn from the Cabinet Office budget and will not come off the Scottish Government block grant, he said.

All of the people featured in the booklet are "professional models who were aware of the purpose of the photographs".

He added: "I am not aware if we have asked any of them if they are members of political parties. They are all Scottish voters."

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