UK & World News

  • 18 August 2014, 20:49

Westminster 'Can't Stop Scotland Keeping Pound'

Westminster cannot stop Scotland using the pound if it were to split from the rest of the UK, says Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.

Scotland's Government insists it will keep the pound in a formal currency union with the remainder of the UK - despite it being ruled out by all UK parties.

The SNP is coming under sustained pressure to reveal what its "Plan B" on currency would be.

The Scottish Government's Fiscal Commission proposed a range of alternatives to using the pound - including a new independent currency, joining the euro and the informal use the pound using a process called "sterlingisation".

But Mr Salmond has told Sky News: "The other Westminster parties can't stop Scotland using the pound, using sterling.

"What they could do is deny us access to the Bank of England, to the financial assets of the country.

"The reason they won't do that of course is that if they took all the assets they would end up with all the liabilities - that's all the ginormous debt that the likes of George Osborne and Alistair Darling built up and they aren't going to do that because that would be the equivalent of giving every Scot a present of a thousand pounds a year."

But Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, launching the latest stage of the Better Together campaign in Glasgow, said people wanted answers from the First Minister on the currency.

He said: "We know that the capital would be Edinburgh, we know that the flag would be the saltire but we don't know what the currency would be.

"Burying his head in the sand at this point is a bit like digging a hole that is deeper for him in the coming days."

With a month to go before vote, a new poll has indicated support for an independent Scotland is growing.

Research by YouGov shows that 38% would vote Yes to independence - the highest level since the pollster started recording.

But the No campaign still has a clear majority, with 51% intending to vote to keep Scotland in the UK.

Those who say they are undecided has fallen to just 11%.

The poll came as the National Australia Bank (NAB) - the owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks - became the latest business to warn of the risks it faces from Scottish independence.

NAB said a Yes vote could bring "significant additional costs" and that it had made contingency plans should Scotland split from the UK.

Advertisement