Currency issues

The prospect of a Yes result, and the consequences for the Scottish economy if we are unable to continue to use Sterling currency, are concerning.

Our history, from the 12th century up to the Union of the Parliaments of Scotland and England in 1707, does not provide encouragement regarding the Scots’ ability to manage our own economy.

For example, in the late 14th century Robert II had to reduce the value of Scots coins, after which Scots coins in England were traded at values lower than those of English coins.

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In later years this devaluation was accompanied by higher inflation and instances of property “crashes” in Scotland, when heritable property lost a considerable part of its value.

The late 17th century was a particularly bleak economic period in Scotland, culminating in the disastrous Darien Scheme. Indeed, it may be concluded that the Act of Union in 1707 helped to dig Scotland out of a serious economic hole.

Shortly after the Act of Union, the 25 Scottish mints ceased production of Scottish coins and were replaced by the Royal Mint under the control of the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain. Despite many pressures, relative stability resulted during most of the next 300 years.

The questions we must now ask ourselves are, firstly, do we trust Alex Salmond to oversee the Scottish economy using a new currency if a Yes vote on 18 September is followed by a “get lost!” response from Westminster when Mr Salmond begs to be allowed to continue using sterling?

Secondly, if we are unable to use Sterling has any thought been given to the setting up of a Scottish minting operation and to the face appearing on our coins?

Clearly, these questions and many others, remain unanswered by the Yes campaign. I will certainly be voting No.

Charles Buchan Ritchie


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