A new Scottish newspaper has been launched that "will fly a vibrant flag for independence".

The National has gone on sale today for a pilot period of five days, published by Newsquest, which already publishes the Herald, the Sunday Herald and the Evening Times.

The newspaper costs 50p and the masthead describes it as "the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland".

The front page headline of the first edition reads "Give Scotland the powers to cut child poverty", focusing on a plea from charities to the Smith Commission on further devolution, to transfer welfare powers to the Scottish Parliament.

The first editorial of the National says: "The status quo is no longer an option and there is an unquenchable desire for greater devolution.

"Quite simply, the Scottish people want to be more directly and deeply involved in the decisions that affect them and the generations to come.

"It is with this uppermost in mind that today we launch The National, a daily newspaper that will fly a vibrant flag for independence and the right for Scots to govern themselves."

Only one newspaper, the Sunday Herald, came out in favour of leaving the UK in the run-up to September's referendum.

Sunday Herald editor Richard Walker is also in charge of the National, details of which were announced at an SNP rally in Glasgow at the weekend, but the editorial says the paper is not "a mouthpiece of the Scottish National Party and the government it leads".

It adds: "That would not be a healthy course to follow. We will be critical where appropriate and complimentary when merited."

The editorial said it was "unfair" that the Sunday Herald was the only paper supporting independence during the referendum.

"During the referendum campaign it became clear that there is a democratic deficit in terms of the Scottish media.

"In a population of some five million, with 45% of those eligible voting Yes, only one newspaper - our sister paper, the Sunday Herald - spoke out in favour of independence. That seems to us unfair.

"The raison d'etre of the National is to redress the balance and cogently to argue the case for independence."

The five-day pilot will allow publishers to see if there is sufficient demand for such a paper, and if sales meet expected levels, it will continue.

Mr Walker told BBC Radio Scotland: "We haven't employed staff on a permanent level because clearly it's a five-day trial but once that trial is over and, as I'm confident will happen, we continue, then yeah, we'll be employing new people. For me this is about creating jobs.

"It's a really exciting venture and it's something that I believe in and the staff believes in, so we're pleased to do it."

The new 50p National can be purchased Monday to Friday from most newsagents and supermarkets. It is also available as an electronic edition for online readers. Subscribe using this link

An accompanying website, www.TheNational.scot, is being prepared. In the meantime the website features a holding page which includes information about the title and an opportunity for readers to give feedback.

Content from the print edition of the Sunday Herald will continue to feature on heraldscotland.com.