Arbroath residents sought assurances from the SNP on the armed forces and the future of the pound at a packed public meeting on Monday night.
After his Cabinet had spent the day in the town, First Minister Alex Salmond opened the event at St Andrew’s Church by drawing comparisons between the historic Declaration of Arbroath and the referendum choice the nation faces on September 18.
He said protecting the NHS, ending austerity measures and creating job opportunities were among his top priorities.
After around an hour of outlining his main campaign messages, the floor was opened for a question and answer session.
Arbroath councillor David Fairweather asked Mr Salmond and the cabinet members for assurances that 45 Commando Royal Marines would not be moved away from the town as a result of independence.
Transport Minister Keith Brown, a former marine, said: “It is our position that we would retain the bases we have in Scotland and seek to increase the armed forces to 15,000 troops and 5,000 reserves.
“There is more than enough room to keep the bases we already have.”
Further questions focused on the cost of setting up an independent Scotland and the possibility of increased taxes and national insurance.
Finance Minister John Swinney said: “There’s no need for taxes to rise. We are a country that pays our own way when it comes to the public services we rely on.”
Mr Salmond said setting up an independent Scotland would take 18 months and claimed that reports it could cost billions were incorrect.
One man asked what a new Scottish Government would do to tackle the issue of new psychoactive substances, known as “legal highs”.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said dealing with the drugs was a global issue but praised the recent work carried out by the Angus division of Police Scotland.
Mr Salmond was asked about currency and whether Scotland would be able to keep the pound. He was adamant that retaining sterling would be the option that would prevail.
Pulling a £20 note with an image of Robert the Bruce from his pocket, he said: “It seems sensible that we continue to share a currency. To be able to control 100% of our tax and revenue that is independence and that’s why I support it.”
The audience of around 300 people was made up of a majority of SNP supporters.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said Scotland’s film industry would continue to be supported and Health Secretary Alex Neil answered questions on cancer and dementia funding.
Summing up, Mr Salmond urged Arbroath not to think of the referendum as the SNP or Alex Salmond’s vote.
He said: “For the first time in democratic history, people in Scotland have the opportunity to make their own choice.”