A domestic or home market currency is very different from an international exchange currency such as sterling, the US dollar and the euro, all of which play two roles – as a domestic currency for the UK, US and Eurozone nations, and as a foreign exchange currency. The Scottish pound will, like the Danish krone or Swedish kroner, be used solely for the domestic economy, which is 80 per cent of economic activity, not for international exchange, and it will be regulated by the Scottish Central Bank.Scotland will use sterling, dollars and euros for foreign exchange. It will have large sterling reserves when Scots change their accounts from sterling to Scottish pounds and from trade with the rest of the UK which would pay sterling for Scottish exports. It would receive US dollars and euros in the same way. As a net exporter Scotland has a far healthier trade balance than England, so the Scottish Central Bank will have ample foreign exchange reserves and, unlike England, Scotland won’t have any national debt.
Using sterling, the weak currency of a foreign country, post-independence would prevent Scotland from controlling its own economy, keeping England in the driver’s seat. That hasn’t gone too well. It would also preclude Scotland rejoining the EU.
The SNP leadership should stop putting the interests of Edinburgh’s financial elite above those of the Scottish people.
Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh
It’s taken time to read Building a New Scotland, the SNP’s vision of an independent Scotland. I have to say it may be long on words but it’s remarkably short on detail. There is a lot of obfuscation but it – probably deliberately – lacks the detail and reality of the earlier Growth Commission Report.
The overall tone is one of a garden of roses and Brigadoon. Skipping over the inevitable problems it touches on, for example the implications of an EU border. There even seems to be more detail about Ireland in its pages than Scotland. Judging by the fact that it gets relegated to the small columns in most newspapers today I imagine it will get the same treatment as the GCR, including by the SNP themselves – put on a shelf marked “not for debate”.
Ken Currie, Edinburgh
The contrast could not have been more stark.
While one government leader searched hesitantly for a friendly face and noticeably winced at the few questions she allowed to be asked before essentially regurgitating the same soundbites and heading for a fast exit (no doubt having received prior advice as to where to find the door), the other government leader competently answered a broad range of questions from all of the assembled journalists in spite of some not only disrespectful but rather rude interruptions.
The fact that a number of those journalists felt obliged to focus on precisely when Scotland would adopt its own currency, and following independence and subsequent accession to the EU presumably some years later, on exactly what physical checks might be required between Scotland and England, indicated a dearth of substantial economic arguments to counter those contained in this third “New Scotland” document presented and explained assuredly by the First Minister.
In this rapidly changing world, and with UK economic policy changing by the day, it would seem foolish to declare a fixed date or exact interim period for the optimum timing of Scotland adopting its own currency, but, as with independence, many countries around the world have successfully navigated the process of changing currency while progressing their economies. The border between Sweden (which is in the EU) and Norway (which is not in the EU) is over 1,000 miles long (with around 80 road and 4 rail crossings) and the flourishing trade between these countries (with tens of thousands of “commuters” between them) operates efficiently as this is in the considerable economic interest of both countries. Undoubtedly we will be subjected to more Better Together scare stories in the coming months, especially from those living in the south of Scotland who perhaps confuse trade in goods (the majority of which are not exported to rUK) with the movement of people, but free movement would sensibly continue as all parties would logically wish to continue the arrangement of the "Common Travel Area” across our islands.
Of course there will be some hiccups along the way and before Scotland becomes a full member of the EU the Scottish Government, whatever its political composition, may well consider, at least on an intermediate basis to smooth the transition, applying for membership of the EEA or EFTA. There is no constitutional choice that guarantees economic stability but Independence will enable the people of Scotland to take more democratic control of their own destiny.
Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian
Nicola Sturgeon repeated her mantra on Monday that after independence Scotland will be a healthier, happier, wealthier country. Really? Aye right, so “independence” is the watered-down version of political reality, a bit like homeopathy in the medical world – it fixes everything by just being well diluted.
Healthier? Our NHS has never been in such dire straits, waiting lists at an all-time high. Happier? Does that include the 692,939 Tory voters she detests? Wealthier? Scotland has a mountainous fiscal deficit and there's been a timely warning down at Westminster to show what happens when an idealist takes a leap into the dark unknown.
Stan Hogarth, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire
Nothing to fear
John Pettigrew, boss of the National Grid, says we should be ready for power cuts between 4pm and 7pm on “really really cold weekends in January and February” next year if the UK doesn’t secure enough gas supplies from abroad. Luckily we here in Scotland are self sufficient in energy, according to John Swinney a few weeks ago, so we shouldn’t have power cuts. We all know the SNP is never wrong but I think I’ll stock up on torch batteries and candles just the same.
Ian Balloch, Grangemouth, Falkirk
I've never wanted to see companies or services nationalised but I changed my mind today when I received from my power supplier a financial estimate for forthcoming gas and electricity which I will soon need.My electricity is to rise by 203 per cent and my gas by a staggering 334 per cent ! I'm elderly and retired but I think I can just about pay such a sudden rise in costs... if I batten down the hatches!My heart, however, goes out to young families starting out in life: how can they possibly afford a mortgage, pay off a family car or go on an annual holiday while facing increased costs on the above scale?It really will be a “heat or eat” problem for them. Stand by for a rise in the national crime rate.I'm also taken aback that the document I received from the electricity company makes no reference to the reason behind those two staggering price increases.
Archibald A Lawrie, Kingkettle, Fife
Help for hosts
Allow me to clarify the situation regarding Government support for people hosting Ukrainian refugees in their homes. Christine Jardine in her latest Perspective article referenced a BBC news report which implied that this support ends after six months (17 October). This is untrue. The UK Government Guidance for sponsors quite clearly states that the £350 monthly payment will continue for up to 12 months. There is nothing in the agreement with hosts like us that implies this support will end after six months. It is regrettable that the BBC didn’t check the facts before broadcasting this misleading information, as it may result in unnecessary anxiety on the part of our hostees, who have enough to worry about without this.
Ms Jardine is quite correct, however, to call for more to be done to provide housing for the thousands waiting on ships and elsewhere. A big advertising drive to find more host families is clearly something which could be done immediately.
Brian Carson, Edinburgh
So just as every grocer who sold a pound of sugar is stigmatised as being an accomplice in the the slave trade so now every manufacturer whose products were used as clothing for slaves in the American south is similarly decried (your report, 18 October). Dundee's connection with the slave trade is tenuous, to say the least. There are better examples of exploitation nearer home, notably the tens of thousands in the city, including my own ancestors, who worked long hours in intolerable unhealthy and noisy mills for a pittance and went home to overcrowded insanitary tenements.Slavery existed for thousands of years. It ended in the British Empire 190 years ago and in the USA 30 years later. Ironically it continued until 1942 in Ethiopia, the only African country never to be colonised. It’s about time to put an end to this obsession.
Robert Cairns, Harrietfield, Perth
Funny old world
Events of the last few weeks have served to reinforce an opinion I have long held.
The biggest asset to those who believe in Scottish Independence is the failing Conservative Government in London and the biggest asset to those who believe in the Union is the failing SNP Government in Edinburgh.
It's a funny old world.
George Shanks, Edinburgh
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