Referendum countdown: Campaigners in final push for votes

John Swinney will be pushing the case for independence

John Swinney will be pushing the case for independence

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Independence would bring either a “golden opportunity” or “separation and risk” rival campaigners will argue with just 48 hours until voters go to the polls to decide Scotland’s future.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will call on Scots to seize the “amazing chance” offered by a Yes vote while Labour leader Ed Miliband will deliver the message that backing No “will be a vote for change”.

With time running out to persuade undecided voters, Ms Sturgeon will be joined by Finance Secretary John Swinney on a visit to meet apprentices at Steel Engineering in Renfrew.

The pair will highlight the opportunities they say independence will bring to create more and better jobs, before Ms Sturgeon joins carers in the town to talk about the NHS.

Speaking ahead of the visit, she said: “Independence is our opportunity to build a better future - creating jobs and protecting our NHS.

“Only a Yes vote will ensure we have full powers over job creation - enabling us to create more and better jobs across the country. So instead of almost 40,000 young people leaving Scotland each year as is currently the case there will be more opportunities for our young people here at home.

“As part of the UK, our NHS budget faces knock on impacts of the privatisation, cuts and charging agenda that is ripping the health service south of the border to bits. With a Yes vote we can ensure out NHS is protected for future generations by enshrining it in our written constitution.

“A Yes vote also means we will never be ruled from afar by Tory governments we didn’t elect. In an independent Scotland, all politicians will be elected by the people of Scotland.

“On Thursday, we have a golden opportunity to put Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands forever with a Yes vote. We absolutely must grasp this amazing chance.”

Mr Miliband will argue that a Yes vote on Thursday would put jobs, the economy and the NHS at risk whereas a No vote would allow Scotland to lead change across the whole of the UK.

He will say: “In the next 48 hours Scotland faces a historic decision which will shape its future and the whole of the UK’s future for centuries to come.

“Down one path by rejecting separatism and voting No there is the promise of change. Change for a stronger Scotland and a better Britain.

“The will of the people of Scotland for economic and political change has been heard and we will deliver.

“Change is coming with more powers on tax and welfare for the Scottish Parliament.”

He will add: “On the other path of Yes is a future of separation and risk. An irreversible decision.

“A risk to jobs, the economy and the NHS, as we abandon the shared resources and redistribution of our United Kingdom.”

Meanwhile Liberal Democrat Highland MP Charles Kennedy will take his party’s campaign to Glasgow to launch a new poster van and make the “sunshine, positive” case for Scotland to stay in the UK.

He will be joined by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

Mr Kennedy is expected to urge Scots not to walk away from the positive things that Scotland and the UK have built together.

He will say: “Together, our family of nations has achieved great things. In so many ways we have built the best.

“In the NHS we have the best health service in the world. We are the world’s second largest aid donor, helping the planet’s poorest. And in the BBC we have the world’s best broadcaster too.

“We’ve built these things together. And I don’t believe that we should walk away from them.”

Elsewhere, Green Yes, the Scottish Green Party’s campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum, will be campaigning in the Leith area of Edinburgh.

The Scottish Young Greens will be joined by Green MSPs Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone to welcome activists from across Europe to the city.

Mr Harvie said: “In recent weeks Scottish Greens have been receiving messages of support from colleagues around the world as we campaign for a Yes vote. Our friends see the chance we have of achieving a fairer, greener future for Scotland, but also the chance for the UK to renew itself as a result.”

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