SCOTTISH Secretary Michael Moore has given the strongest indication yet that the Bank of England would not be the lender of last resort for an independent Scotland.
Speaking to a House of Lords committee investigating the economic impact of independence, Mr Moore said yesterday it was “extremely unlikely” that the rest of the UK would agree to the Bank of England acting as Scotland’s central bank.
And he hinted that a Treasury paper on independence to be produced early next year will confirm this view.
His comments come less than a week after finance secretary John Swinney said he had been in talks with the Bank – later denied by the Bank itself.
But it also undermines one of the key claims of the SNP and Yes Scotland campaign over economic security for an independent Scotland.
The claim that the Bank of England would continue to be the lender of last resort for Scotland was first made by Mr Salmond in January when he came under questioning from former Labour City minister Lord Myners.
The SNP want Scotland to have a territorial seat on the Bank’s board and a currency union arrangement in place.
Yesterday under questioning at the Lords economic affairs committee Mr Moore said: “The Bank of England as a lender of last resort is I think highly unlikely to be an acceptable position for the rest of the UK.”
He added: “The SNP Scottish Government simply asserts that it will happen, but the rest of the UK will need to be generous in spirit and intent for that to be done.”
Mr Moore did admit that the issue would be part of the negotiations and former Bank deputy governor Sir John Gieve said that any decision “would be up to the UK government”.