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Darling and Brown reunite to say No

Alistair Darling will be reunited with former prime minister Gordon Brown today as the two men join forces to campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom.

Mr Darling, leader of the pro-UK Better Together campaign, served as chancellor when Mr Brown was in charge at 10 Downing Street.

With ballots already being sent out to the hundreds of thousands of Scots who have asked to vote by post in the September 18 referendum, the two will speak out at a special rally aimed at this section of the electorate.

Football commentator Archie Macpherson will also join them on stage at the rally in Dundee.

Speaking ahead of the event, Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall said: “For the hundreds of thousands of Scots who will make up their minds and vote over the next few days the big questions are the economic ones. Gordon and Alistair two of the biggest economic figures in the UK.

“As postal ballots drop through letter boxes across Scotland, we still don’t know what would happen to our pound, pensions and public services. Despite three hours of live prime-time TV, Alex Salmond still hasn’t been honest with Scots about the risks and uncertainties of independence.

“We are offering a better future for Scotland within the UK. We can have the best of both worlds – more powers for Scotland without taking on all the risks of independence.”

He added: ” Our message to people in Scotland is clear – if you want Scotland to stay in the UK then you need to say no thanks to independence. It can’t be left to someone else. Every single vote makes a difference.”

At the same time as the former chancellor and former prime minister are speaking in Dundee, Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil will warn of the impact staying part of the UK could have on Scotland’s health service.

Nationalist claims that a No vote will lead to the privatisation of the NHS north of the border have already been dismissed as scaremongering by pro-UK campaigners.

But Mr Neil said: “The austerity, privatisation and patient charging agenda of Westminster will have a direct impact on how much money we’ll have in future to spend on the NHS in Scotland if we stay under the Westminster system.

“That is why we need a Yes, so that we match the policy control we have with devolution to the control of Scotland’s finances that we only get with independence.”

Meanwhile Holyrood Finance Secretary John Swinney will use a debate organised by the Federation of Small Businesses to highlight the “real opportunities” for jobs and business that come with a Yes vote.

He said small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) were a key part of the economy, adding: “With independence we can have an economic policy, at all levels, that supports small business.

“With independence we can make sure public spending benefits small business by directing even more government spending to Scotland’s small and medium sized firms.”

Mr Swinney claimed: ” The anti-independence parties have offered business nothing but scaremongering, with no new powers to grow the economy, no additional support for business and no job-creating powers for Scotland.

“Small businesses are the engines of Scotland’s economy and with a Yes vote we will have an opportunity to secure the best possible future for business in Scotland.”

But Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will tell members of the Asian community in Edinburgh that being part of the UK helps Scots firms do business overseas.

Mr Rennie, who will be joined by Liberal Democrat peer Jeremy Purvis, argues that UK Trade and Investment’s services in 169 offices in more than 100 different countries help support jobs in Scotland.

Speaking ahead of the visit, he said: ” The creation of UKTI was a game-changer for Scottish businesses looking to make their mark in the world. With over 1,200 officers in 169 offices in over 100 countries, Scotland’s businesses have reaped the rewards of this opportunity. Last year alone UKTI helped 1,900 business in Scotland.

“The nationalists’ independence plans would downsize our global footprint, trading 169 offices dedicated to boosting opportunities for 27 Scottish Development international offices.

“The nationalists’ plans threaten the international trade lifeline which comes from being part of something bigger in the UK. As a Liberal Democrat, I want to open the door to opportunities so that people have the best tools at hand to get on in life. Why would we slam that door shut?”

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