Experts counter Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that an independent Scotland could avoid adopting the Euro


Nicola Sturgeon has been taken to task by experts over her claims to the Scottish people about the country’s currency after potentially gaining independence.

The First Minister responded to questions from Douglas Ross, Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, following a report in the Times that Scotland would have to join the euro if it wished to be a member of the European Union.

Ms Sturgeon’s Government last week published a paper on the economic and currency policy of an independent Scotland, saying the country would continue to use Sterling until a new pound was established.

But speaking to the newspaper, an unnamed EU source said it would be ‘no euro, no entry’ for an independent Scotland. Another three were reported to have backed the same view.

The issue over currency was ‘really not new news’ according to a source who spoke to The Telegraph, as an independent Scotland ‘will need to commit to joining the euro’.

Kirsty Hughes, of the Scottish Centre on Human Relations, tweeted: ‘It’s unlikely to meet the criteria when it joins, so it would join EU initially with its own currency, the Scottish pound. Obviously [independent] Scotland won’t get a euro opt-out and Scottish government know that.’

In a noisy exchange during First Minister’s Questions today, Mr Ross asked: ‘Who’s lying to the Scottish people, the European Union or Nicola Sturgeon?’

Nicola Sturgeon's Government last week published a paper on the economic and currency policy of an independent Scotland, saying the country would continue to use Sterling until a new pound was established

Nicola Sturgeon’s Government last week published a paper on the economic and currency policy of an independent Scotland, saying the country would continue to use Sterling until a new pound was established

Scottis Conservatives leader Douglass Ross took Sturgeon to task over her claim that Scotland could keep Sterling if it becomes independent

Scottis Conservatives leader Douglass Ross took Sturgeon to task over her claim that Scotland could keep Sterling if it becomes independent

Responding, the First Minister quoted a number of sources, including former prime minister David Cameron and the ex-president of the European Commission, as holding a different view to that of the sources quoted in the Times.

She added: ‘Many countries in the European Union still use their own currency.

‘Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden – a member state since 1995 still uses its own currency.’

The First Minister went on to say she ‘welcomed’ such a debate on the currency of an independent Scotland, challenging Mr Ross to ‘have a referendum and let’s have these debates with the Scottish people’.

Mr Ross described Ms Sturgeon’s answer as ‘desperate stuff’.

He added: ‘The First Minister’s big plan is actually to break Scotland away from by far our biggest trading partner – the United Kingdom – with nothing to show for it, in the middle of a global inflation and cost-of-living crisis.

‘And she wants to put businesses and families through that in the next 12 months.’

Mr Ross went on to attack the independence paper more widely, saying it would result in ‘permanent chaos’.

He said: ‘The First Minister’s plan to escape the temporary issues of the past month is to create permanent chaos with jobs, mortgages, pensions and public services.

‘(Prime Minister) Rishi Sunak is fixing recent mistakes – the First Minister would wreck our economy for good.’

He claimed independence would result in ‘permanent austerity’, ‘permanent higher taxes’ and ‘permanent economic chaos’.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted an independent Scotland would be able to have its own Scottish pound

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted an independent Scotland would be able to have its own Scottish pound

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon

The SNP leader claimed the UK was ‘fundamentally on the wrong path’ as she set out how an independent Scotland would operate

Ms Sturgeon responded: ‘It is because I am focusing on people, businesses and communities and what is best for them – their wellbeing and their prosperity – that I want to see Scotland become independent, in charge of our own affairs and our own destiny, not continuing to be dragged down the wrong paths by Westminster governments.’

Last week, Ms Sturgeon spoke following the release of a new Scottish Government paper setting out its economic proposals for an independent Scotland.

The First Minister tore into the current chaos at Westminster as Liz Truss battles to cling on as Prime Minister amid a financial meltdown. 

The SNP leader claimed the current economic travails were ‘a crisis long in the making’ and ‘not a temporary phenomenon’.

‘The UK economy is in long-term decline, the UK economic model is failing and failing badly,’ she said.

Ms Sturgeon dismissed suggestions Scots would be required to use passports to get into England - but admitted there would be other border checks

Ms Sturgeon dismissed suggestions Scots would be required to use passports to get into England – but admitted there would be other border checks

Ms Sturgeon added it was ‘glaringly obvious now that the UK does not offer economic strength and stability or financial security’. 

She added: ‘There is an understandable human instinct to hunker down in the face of a storm and hope for calmer times.

‘But, for the UK, this is not just a passing storm. The UK economy is fundamentally on the wrong path. There is no real alternative on offer within the Westminster system.

‘The establishment consensus on Brexit, despite the harm it is causing, illustrates that.

‘For Scotland, not being independent means we are being dragged down the wrong path too – a path people here did not vote for.’

Ms Sturgeon admitted many Scots would have ‘big, fair’ questions about how an independent Scotland would operate.

She claimed that ‘few, if any nations in history’ had been ‘better prepared for independence than we are’.

In the Scottish Government paper, it is proposed that an independent Scotland would ‘continue to use the pound sterling for a period before moving to our policy of adopting a Scottish pound’ to be managed by a Scottish central bank. 

Ms Sturgeon insisted it would not be ‘responsible’ to set a timetable for such a transition from using sterling to a new Scottish currency.

‘I’m not going to put a number of years on it for the very reason I think it would undermine the careful, managed, phased process I’m setting out here and one that is – overall – governed by the interests of the country and the economy,’ she said.

Ms Sturgeon added the move to a Scottish pound would be ‘guided by requirements and also criteria advised by the central bank as we go’ but said she wanted an independent Scotland’s continued use of UK sterling to be ‘as short as practicable’.

Pressed on whether it would take five, 10 or 20 years to set up a Scottish pound, the SNP leader replied: ‘I hope it would be shorter than all of that.’

The First Minister also reiterated her wish for Scotland to become an EU member.

‘Nobody with any credibility seriously suggests that Scotland would not be welcomed back into the European Union,’ she said.

‘And while there would be a process of negotiation, most people who know what they’re talking about on this issue are very clear that that would not be a particularly lengthy process.’



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