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Scotland's Future: Draft Referendum (Scotland) Bill Consultation Paper

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Introduction

The people of Scotland have been clear about their desire for our Parliament to have more responsibilities and in the white paper, Your Scotland, Your Voice2, the Scottish Government has set out the options for our nation. The next step is to allow the people to have their say in a free and fair referendum.

This consultation provides the people with the opportunity to shape that referendum. The draft Referendum (Scotland) Bill set out in this document includes proposed ballot papers for a two-question referendum: the first question asking about an extension of the Scottish Parliament's powers short of independence, the second about whether the powers of the Scottish Parliament should also be extended to enable independence to be achieved.

Chapter 1 invites views on the principle of a multi-option referendum. It sets out two potential approaches to the first question: one based on the concept of full devolution and another based on the limited recommendations for financial devolution made by the Commission on Scottish Devolution (the "Calman Commission").

Chapter 2 deals with the rules about the conduct of the poll and eligibility to vote including a proposal that those aged 16 or 17 on the date of the referendum should be entitled to vote if they are registered to do so.

Chapter 3 seeks views on proposals for regulating the campaign and ensuring that it is run in a demonstrably fair and transparent manner. Those rules are largely based on existing UK legislation covering elections and referendums.

Chapter 4 explains how the consultation on the draft Bill will work and how comments should be submitted. A form is provided to enable you to respond.

The Appendix sets out the full text of the draft Bill .