Scottish independence: Chancellor George Osborne denies currency deal claim


Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander says a currency union is "off the table"

Chancellor George Osborne and Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander have insisted it is "wrong" to suggest there would be a currency union between the UK and an independent Scotland.

A Guardian report quotes an unnamed minister who says a deal could be done to allow Scotland to use the pound.

But Mr Osborne and Mr Alexander said "there will not be a currency union".

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the No Campaign was "deeply damaged".

The Guardian quotes a UK government minister who it says would play a central role in the negotiations over the break-up of the UK if there were a yes vote.

It quotes the unnamed minister as saying: "There would be a highly-complex set of negotiations after a yes vote with many moving pieces.

"The UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane and the Scottish government wants a currency union - you can see the outlines of a deal."

The Treasury, along with Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, has previously ruled out a currency union.

Nicola Sturgeon said the UK government's currency stance was a campaign tactic

In a joint statement, George Osborne and Danny Alexander said: "There will not be a currency union in the event of independence. The only way to keep the UK pound is to stay in the UK. Walking out of the UK means walking out of the UK pound.

"A currency union will not work because it would not be in Scotland's interests and would not be in the UK's interests.

"Scotland would have no control over mortgage rates, and would be binding its hands on tax and funding for vital public services."

The statement added: "The Scottish government are proposing to divorce the rest of the UK but want to keep the joint bank account and credit card.

Start Quote

As for the unnamed minister, better stay unnamed. Otherwise, there will be a queue of ministerial colleagues waiting to shake you warmly by the throat.”

End Quote

"The UK would not put its taxpayers at risk of bailing out a foreign country and its banks. Parliament wouldn't pass it, and the people wouldn't accept it.

"Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong."

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said: "An anonymous, off-the-record quote does not change the stark reality on the currency."

Nicholas Watt, the Guardian journalist who wrote the story, spoke to BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme.

He said: "Their [UK government's] absolute trump card in this campaign is to say there will be no currency union and they will be saying that from now until midnight on the 17th September.

"But in the unlikely event of a Yes vote, in a very lengthy negotiation, you may well find that a trump card in a campaign will come quite different in these negotiations."

Last month, the Chancellor said a vote for Scottish independence would mean walking away from the pound.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond accused him of "bluff and bluster".

The Scottish government, led by Mr Salmond's SNP, has argued that keeping the pound and the services of the Bank of England as part of a currency union under independence made sense for both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

But Mr Osborne's declaration that there would not be a currency union was followed by Mr Alexander and Labour's Ed Balls insisting that they would not agree to share sterling if Scotland voted for independence in September.

Danny Alexander and George Osborne Danny Alexander and George Osborne issued a statement saying there would be no currency union
Pound, money Scotland's currency after independence has become a major issue in the campaign
Nicola Sturgeon Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the UK government's approach was backfiring

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "For all George Osborne and Danny Alexander's frantic denials, by definition this is a story which is impossible to deny - because the story is specifically that everything the UK government and the No campaign are saying on this issue ahead of the referendum is a campaign tactic.

Scotland's independence referendum

Who? Voters in Scotland will go to the polls to vote on their country's future.

What? They will be asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

When? The vote takes place on Thursday, 18 September, 2014.

"The revelation from a Treasury source that everything it has been saying on a currency union has been dictated by Alistair Darling is an extraordinary one, and is deeply damaging to the credibility of the Treasury on this issue.

"What has been exposed is the deep cynicism and negativity at the heart of the No campaign - a campaign which is clearly badly rattled by narrowing polls and which will never be able to mount a truly positive campaign, because negativity is in its DNA."

Voters in Scotland will be asked the Yes/No question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" when the independence referendum is held on 18 September.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1146.

    How sad to see Danny Alexander, a Scottish politician, pre-negotiating a worse position for Scotland and the rest of the UK if the people of Scotland vote yes. Liberal values seem to have been lost in this debate and it is a poor reflection of the Liberal Democrats, which I doubt they will recover from. Ironically, his bullying tactics have resulted in increased support for independance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1144.

    The Scottish economy is not in great shape. Look to the huge decline in the latest oil revenue figures. Far too many people here voting on an anti English platform without actually considering how an Independent Scotland would work.Even the SNP, if they were honest!, would concede things are bad. We can't go on past figures, as the SNP do. It's what happens next that counts. We are better together

  • rate this

    Comment number 992.

    The Scots need to understand the full costs of their decision and what would happen if they said Yes. No currency union, no favourable customs arrangement? border controls? visas for entry and visas for working? their share of the UK debt etc. Why should they cause all the disruption, apologise as if to say, we are going back to 1706 and then think they will have a favourable settlement: Crazy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 735.

    I think Scotland can make a go of it, and I hope they do vote yes - the problem with a no vote is the relationship has been too damaged by this - if we stay together it'll either be England's fault Scotland is "held back" or the Scots fault the English are having to subsidise them....

    Better off apart I say.....or I would if I had a vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 695.

    The current right wing coalition has encouraged more Scottish people to consider voting for independence which is a shame. However, if there is a majority vote for Scottish independence, I think it will cause a lot of resentment in England and Wales, where people will be less likely to support Scottish businesses if Scotland becomes an independent country.


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