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Fiscal commission to reaffirm sterling backing

The Fiscal Commision's preferred currency choice is Sterling. Picture: PA

The Fiscal Commision's preferred currency choice is Sterling. Picture: PA

Scottish independence: The group behind calls for Scotland to join a formal currency union with the UK after independence is expected to reaffirm its position today, despite renewed calls for a “plan B”.

The fiscal commission working group, which advises the Scottish Government, is meeting three weeks after Chancellor George Osborne, backed by Labour and Liberal Democrats, ruled out the proposal.

Commission leader Crawford Beveridge insisted yesterday that Mr Osborne is not being serious.

“We warned in our report last year that leading up to this there was going to be a lot of political statements, but in our opinion economics will trump the politics on this, and good heads will prevail if there happens to be a Yes vote,” Mr Beveridge told Holyrood’s Economy Committee.

“We would not want to even talk about a plan B at this stage of the game.’’

But his claim was rejected last night by Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, who said the Chancellor is not bluffing.

Mr Carmichael called for the group to scrap the official plan and set out a fall-back option, such as a new currency or unofficial use of sterling.

In a letter sent to Mr Beveridge, he wrote: “This decision is no bluff, as has been claimed by the First Minister.

“This was the three principal economic spokesmen of each of the main UK political parties setting out a clear position: a currency union is not going to happen.

“Your commission’s work needs to be based on this reality, not repeated recommendations for an option that is not going to happen.”

SEE ALSO:

• Scottish independence: Split on currency Plan B

• Scottish independence: Keeping pound ‘sensible’

 

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