Independent Scotland may keep pound for 'stability' as Nicola Sturgeon to 'begin publishing' new White Paper

Nicola Sturgeon has pledged she will shortly begin publishing a new prospectus for independence despite the Scottish Government being yet to bring a referendum bill to Holyrood.

It comes as the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford signalled an independent Scotland would keep the pound for several years, suggesting a differing view at the top of the party to their membership.

The party's conference in 2019 voted to introduce a Scottish currency "as soon as practicable after independence day".

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So-called 'sterlingisation' would see Scotland continue to use the pound without a formal currency union, before a shift to a Scottish currency, which some critics argue would lead to economic volatility.

The Sunday Times reported Mr Blackford’s comments in which he stated keeping the pound would "provide stability".

He said: "The whole point about being independent is to create the circumstances for growth and to take responsibility for improving the economic prospects for Scotland.

“The priority in an independent Scotland will be to use fiscal powers to drive up investment, particularly in the new green technologies and industries in order to improve growth and increase living standards.

Nicola Sturgeon has said she will shortly start publishing a new prospectus for independence.Nicola Sturgeon has said she will shortly start publishing a new prospectus for independence.
Nicola Sturgeon has said she will shortly start publishing a new prospectus for independence.

“This will, in turn, deliver positive outcomes for people, including tackling poverty. We don’t need to change the currency to do that.” While Mr Blackford insisted key economic tests would have to be met before there could be any transition to a Scottish currency, he said that should not preclude making preparations for a Scottish reserve bank.

He said: “As an independent Scotland grows and creates confidence amongst people and in the financial markets, a timely transition to a new currency can take place.”

It comes as the First Minister pledged to "begin publishing" a new white paper on independence ahead of a second referendum.

In an essay for The National, Ms Sturgeon said the 2021 Holyrood election result demonstrated Scotland wanted a referendum.

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She said: "We are committed to offering that choice and ensuring that it will be a fully informed one.

"To that end, we will shortly begin publishing an updated prospectus on the opportunities that independence can offer Scotland. A prospectus that, yes, is up front about the challenges, but also one that does not shy away from the immense opportunities of independence.

"With this new independence discussion, we will be raising Scotland’s ambition. Too often, political debate in Scotland seems dominated by how we mitigate the damage inflicted upon us by Westminster, when in fact we should be deciding how we manage and develop our extraordinary assets to build a better nation."

Donald Cameron, the Conservative constitution spokesperson, labelled the move "utterly reckless" due to the war in Ukraine, the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: "She is continuing to ignore the fact that the people of Scotland do not want another independence referendum.

“This is just another example of the SNP refusing to focus on the daily issues our country is facing in favour of their divisive separation push.

“Their self-serving obsession with breaking up the UK has to stop before it causes even more harm to Scotland’s interests.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of pro-union campaign group, Scotland in Union, said the campaign was an "insult to the people of Scotland".

Want to hear more from The Scotsman’s politics team? Check out the latest episode of our political podcast, The Steamie.

It’s available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.



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