Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond claims that Scotland will keep the pound and the Queen if it becomes independent (Reuters)

Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, said that the country would stay in the European Union and keep the pound and the Queen as monarch if Scots voted Yes for independence in the 18 September 2014 referendum.

The Scottish National Party's leader delivered his comments on the day that Holyrood launched its mammoth 670-page whitepaper to convince voters that independence was the right future for Scotland.

"We know we have the people, the skills, and resources to make Scotland a more successful country. Independence will put the people of Scotland in charge of our own destiny," said Salmond.

Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon echoed Salmond's hopes of what an independent Scotland would bring to the Scottish electorate.

She described the document as "the most comprehensive and detailed blueprint ever drawn up for a prospective independent country".

With 10 months to go until the vote, both sides in the emotive debate on Scotland's future have been heating up.

The Polls

Polls taken of five million Scots show that many voters remain undecided on which way they will vote.

According to a recent poll by research group TNS BMRB, 47% of Scots want to remain part of Britain, 29% support independence and 24% of people say they are undecided on which way to vote.

However, a poll conducted by the Sunday Times two days ago revealed that the gap may be narrowing, with 38% in favour of a split and 15% undecided.

Pro-unionists have been helped in recent weeks by two reports from financial institutions, one from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and another from the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF).

The IFS published a report that warned that an independent Scotland would face considerable fiscal challenges due to demographic changes and declining oil revenues.

The IFS report, entitled Fiscal sustainability of an independent Scotland, said policymakers would be forced to cut public spending by as much as 8% or increase taxes, while oil revenues are likely to decline in the future.

The second report from the NAPF said independence would complicate cross-border pensions.

They warned pensions in Scotland would become more expensive if independence were to occur.

Similarly, According to Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish National Party's (SNP) plans for a sterling union isn't as concrete as the SNP suggests and a Yes vote would mean Scotland could no longer use the pound.