THE next Scottish Government white paper arguing the case for independence is set to be published in “the coming weeks”, The National can reveal.

Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn – who is set to lead on the Building a New Scotland series under Humza Yousaf – said he could not confirm the subject matter it will cover as that will have to be cleared with Parliament first.

However, he did indicate to the Holyrood Weekly podcast the fourth paper in the initiative is not far away from being released.

Asked when we can expect another paper and what it would focus on, Hepburn said: “Given government is accountable and responsible to parliament, and that’s a responsibility I take seriously, it’s incumbent on me to recognise we should say to parliament what the next subject material of the forthcoming prospectus papers will be.

“But what I can say in terms of broad timescale is we’re probably talking in the coming weeks that we’ll publish the next one.”

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So far the Scottish Government has released three papers entitled “A Stronger Economy with Independence”, “Independence in the modern world” and “Renewing democracy through independence”.

The first paper made the argument Scotland is being held back by the Union, using examples of similarly sized countries around the world that outperform the UK on a variety of measures.

The second, made the case for exiting the Union on the basis that Westminster “is eroding and constraining Scotland's democracy” and argued that devolution was insufficient to tackle this challenge.

The third outlined the economic and currency plans for an independent Scotland. The paper stated Scotland would continue to use the pound sterling for a period before adopting a Scottish currency.

Scotland's energy potential is expected to be covered in one of the upcoming papers.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon releases the first independence white paper Nicola Sturgeon releases the first independence white paper (Image: PA)

Hepburn told the podcast leading on the white papers would be a key part of his role, as well as ensuring independence is the “golden thread” that runs through every portfolio area.

Hepburn said: “We want to continue to roll them out [the papers] and advance the case so that’s what I’m taking forward and I’ll be leading on within government.

“More widely, it will be my responsibility to make sure that the Government’s agenda remains pointed in the direction of continuously making the case for independence.

“I’m the Minister for Independence but of course all Scottish Government ministers are ministers for independence.

"My role is to make sure we’re taking that forward in an assertive fashion and also in a manner which is joined up so that each minister, whatever their portfolio responsibility, is making sure there is a golden thread of independence running through every policy area and they are articulating that when they are speaking with the wider public and with stakeholders they have responsibility for engaging with.”

Also on the podcast Hepburn said Alister Jack should “get over it” following reports that the Scottish Secretary attempted to block civil servants from working under him.

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Last week, it emerged that Jack had told the UK’s top civil servant that no government staff should be allowed to work under Hepburn, as well as the Scottish Government’s top official, permanent secretary John-Paul Marks.

Hepburn insisted that as the Scottish Parliament has a pro-independence majority, his role is entirely legitimate.

He said that there were civil servants “working to the Government’s agenda” and refuted suggestions officials had been barred from working with him.

“I'm feeling relaxed, that's going to be his [Jack’s] perspective,” he told The National.

“Of course, the permanent secretary has responded to the correspondence that others have written to him regarding the appointment of myself to this particular role.

“And he has been quite clear that it's entirely legitimate for a democratically elected Scottish Government, within its manifesto, having set out to seek to advance Scotland independence, to be able to utilise the resources of government to continue to advance that case.

“That's something that Alister Jack’s just gonna have to get over.”