Sterling solution to the issue of choice

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I am pleased the people who reside in Scotland will get their chance on 18 September to vote on whether to remain as part of the United Kingdom or embark on the exciting prospect of governing their own future.

The important element of this being: it is the people who will get the chance to choose. The decision on the way forward will not be left to the politicians, who are influenced by both their party and the most vociferous lobby groups.

While this choice to remain within the Union or to separate is important to the rest of the United Kingdom, the major decision likely to have a direct impact on the people who reside in the rest of the UK (or rUK), is the issue of the currency.

The Scottish white paper proposes Scotland retains the use of sterling as its currency with the Yes supporters stating the economic achievements of Scotland in terms of output per capita and the balance of payments are better than in rUK.

This combined with the level of trade between Scotland and rUK makes the proposition of different currencies – with all the issues of varying exchange rates etc – a complication neither an independent Scotland nor rUK would surely want to embrace.

However, we now have the Governor of the Bank of England, the Canadian Mark ­Carney, and the boss of BP, the American Bob Dudley (your report, 5 February) – joining Chancellor George Osborne and many other rUK politicians in dismissing the “common currency” as a workable proposition.

To break the deadlock on this, dare I suggest that the current UK government proposes a referendum is held, in the event of a Yes vote for Scottish independence, for all the people who live in rUK (Northern Ireland, Wales and England), to establish a mandate on whether rUK should enter into a currency-sharing agreement with an independent Scotland in 2015.

This would give the people of the rUK the same ability to influence the one aspect of Scottish independence likely to have a significant impact on their lives going forward – and, as in Scotland, let the people who are to be affected, as opposed to the politicians, make the choice. It might also give the SNP time to come up with its Plan B on what happens if a shared currency is rejected by the people of rUK.

Derek Pattle

Union Road

Linlithgow, West Lothian

Don’t you just love it when people like David Allan pronounce with such great certainty and get it completely wrong (Letters, 6 February).

Mr Allan says that the European Union would impose the euro on an independent Scotland. However, as Scotland would fail the convergence criteria on all four counts (inflation rate, government finance, exchange rate mechanism membership, and long-term interest rates) Scotland would not be allowed to join the eurozone.

Therefore, supporters of the Union, such as Mr Allan, would be able to take some small comfort from the fact that if Scotland voted for independence, owing to the incompetent handling of the economy by successive UK governments, we will not have the euro imposed on us against our will.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street

Edinburgh

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