Scottish independence: SNP facing savings questions

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The SNP is facing calls to set out how it would protect the cash of savers in Scottish banks after independence.

It follows a warning from the chief executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which at present provides such protection across Britain, that Scotland would need its own equivalent if there is a Yes vote in next year’s referendum.

Mark Neale, whose industry-funded organisation offers compensation of up to £85,000 per saver, made his comments at the weekend.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “This is another big question to which the SNP government has no detailed answers, only assertions.

“If the nationalists want to duplicate another system we already have as part of the UK, they need to set out the details.”

The UK Treasury published a paper last week considering how savers and financial institutions could be affected if Scotland leaves the UK.

The Scottish Government’s economic advisers have suggested it could agree to share services after independence, consistent with European moves to “harmonise” schemes.

In a report published in February, the advisers said there was “merit” to apply a consistent and commonly maintained scheme across a sterling currency zone.

Mr Neale said no approach has been made yet by Scottish ministers to discuss that idea.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “An independent Scotland will have a deposit guarantee scheme because it is a requirement of EU law, and the full range of financial products will continue to be available.

“Scotland is less reliant on financial services, with only 8.3 per cent of our GDP coming from financial services, compared with 9.6 per cent of GDP for the UK.”