Alex Salmond to unveil blueprint for an independent Scotland
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond will today reveal his parties proposals for a referendum on independence for Scotland
The Scottish First Minister will launch a consultation on the referendum at Holyrood this afternoon.
The Scottish National Party administration in Edinburgh has already announced autumn 2014 as its preferred date for a vote on ending the 300 year plus long union.
There has also been speculation the consultation could open up voting in a referendum to 16 and 17-year-olds, and may also raise the prospect of holding the crucial ballot on a Saturday.
A spokesman for the First Minister said: "This is a big day for Scotland as we publish our detailed proposals for the referendum and consult with the people.
"Scotland is moving forward, and we look forward to the great debate that lies ahead.
"The Scottish Government and people across Scotland believe that we can and will make a compelling case for independence - with the powers we need to build an economically-successful and socially-just nation. While others disagree, we do come together on the democratic principle that it is a decision for Scotland to make. And the referendum must also be made in Scotland."
The spokesman said the Scottish Government would "set out our detailed proposals for running the referendum in the consultation document, which will be entirely fair".
It comes after Mr Salmond said last night that the relationship between Scotland and England would be "much stronger" if the former was made independent.
He told an audience in London this would "be more positive and much stronger when our nations are clear and equal partners".
The First Minister also insisted decisions over the referendum should be taken in Scotland, saying: "The days of Westminster politicians with a shaky mandate in Scotland - actually a non-existent mandate in Scotland - determining the means by which Scotland will decide its own future, I think these days have gone."
The Scottish Government consultation comes after Westminster put forward its own proposals for a vote on Scotland's future.
The Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition insists the Scottish Government does not have the legal authority to stage an independence ballot, and instead proposes to temporarily extend Holyrood's powers to enable such a vote.
However that is disputed by the Scottish Government.
There are also differences between the two governments on what should be on the ballot paper, with Westminster wanting to only ask Scots if they want to remain part of the UK or not.
Although the Scottish Government would prefer a straight yes or no question on independence, it is open to including greatly enhanced powers for Holyrood - dubbed 'devo-max'.
With Mr Salmond due to meet Scottish Secretary Michael Moore on Friday, the UK Government minister said the publication of the SNP's consultation meant "the way should be clear for us to have serious discussions, right here in Scotland, about how we make such a referendum happen".
Mr Moore stated: "I want the Scottish Government paper to have a clear acknowledgement that a legal referendum is in the interests of the Scottish people and that the two Governments should work together to achieve that.
"I also hope they will confirm that they support a simple yes-no question on independence. That is what people expect. I also hope that if the Scottish Government continue to put forward their preference of Autumn 2014 for a referendum that they will justify why they want three more years of delay and economic uncertainty."
He continued: "Everyone wants to have a referendum that avoids a courtroom wrangle. Everyone in Scotland expects to have a referendum that follows the normal and fair rules we associate with a referendum. We should not start re-writing the rule book in the run up to the most important decision Scotland will ever make."