Citizenship independence prospectus: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1 Could you supply all research undertaken by the Scottish Government so far this year on the following issues with independence.

  • The fiscal plan
  • How will state pensions be paid for?
  • What will an independent Scotland have to do to gain EU membership?
  • How will the border between Scotland and England work if Scotland rejoins the EU?

2. In July 27, Humza Yousaf told journalists: "If there was a referendum tomorrow, we would win it and win it comprehensively. That’s also part of the reason why of course I’m publishing these papers, because they help to make the argument, give people the information they need to make that informed decision about independence.”

Could you provide the evidence to back this statement up as he was speaking in his capacity as First Minister?

3. All internal correspondence and briefings for ministers regarding an independent Scotland joining the EU without the need for a vote on joining the EU from this year?

4. For the independence citizenship prospectus, did civil servants seek international advice/opinion on nationality and citizenship of a country seceding from a nation state? If so, could you supply this advice/opinion? If not, why?

5. A list of meetings/external advisers who offered advice about the independence citizenship prospectus, including minutes/notes taken from all meetings?

6. Could you supply all external and internal advice taken by the Scottish Government on remaining part of the Common Travel Area in the event of independence?


1. The Scottish Government set out its position on the fiscal plan for an independent Scotland and borders with the rest of the UK in the event of an independent Scotland joining the EU in the 2022 publication, A stronger economy with independence. The Building a New Scotland papers are evidence based, with footnotes giving details of the sources of underpinning evidence. With regards to state pensions, this publication stated the following:

As part of the UK, estimates set out in Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland 2021-22 show that expenditure for Scotland exceeds total revenues, with expenditure standing at £97.5 bn in 2021-22 and total revenues (including North Sea revenues) standing at £73.8 bn. In 2021-22, therefore, Scottish revenue was sufficient to cover all devolved day-to-day services, all social security, including state pensions, and public sector pensions.

Details of the requirements and conditions of membership of the EU can be found on the EU’s official website at the following link:

EU membership, how to join, candidates| European Union (

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the websites listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
I can also advise that as part of the Building a New Scotland series, matters including pensions, EU membership and borders will be covered in more detail in future papers which will be published in due course.

2. The First Minister can freely express a personal opinion on what he thinks the result of a future independence referendum would be. This is a formal notice under S.17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

3. After conducting searches of our records, we have not identified any correspondence or briefing on this subject prepared within the timescale of your request. This is a formal notice under S.17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

4. During the production of the publication “Citizenship in an independent Scotland”, Scottish Government civil servants did not seek any advice or opinions on nationality and citizenship from the governments of any other country. This is a formal notice under S.17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

5. Scottish Government officials held informal discussions with the groups Migration Policy Scotland and Just Right Scotland in relation to the “Citizenship in an independent Scotland” paper. As these were informal discussions, there was no business need to minute them. Officials also gave updates of the work on this publication to a meeting of the Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population, and further details are enclosed in ANNEX A of this letter.

Exemptions under Sections 30(c) and 38(i)(b) of FOISA apply to some of the information requested. The reason why these exemptions apply are explained in ANNEX B of this letter.

6. As other questions in your request asked for a timescale of this year, we have interpreted this to mean you intended this question to also have the same timescale. After conducting searches of our records we have not identified any internal or external advice on this matter from this year. This is a formal notice under S.17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

You may however be interested to note the following, provided outwith FOISA, that the Scottish Government’s position on the Common Travel Area is set out in the publication, A stronger economy with independence, and in particular, you will want to note the external commentary referenced in footnote 189 of this publication “An EU border across Britain: Scotland’s borders after independence”.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202300377833 - Information Released - Annex A and B


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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