Independence: English oppose sterling plan

MORE than two-thirds of people in England oppose an independent Scotland using sterling while retaining the Bank of England as its central bank, a new poll has claimed.

68 per cent of those in England said they were against the idea of a currency union. Picture: PA

The poll by Populus found that 68 per cent of people living in England and 59 per cent in Wales oppose the kind of formal currency union which Alex Salmond would like an independent Scotland to have with the rest of the UK.

Despite their objections to an independent Scotland sharing sterling and the Bank of England, the poll found that the majority want Scotland to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Only 15 per cent of English and Welsh people who expressed a strong preference wanted a split, against 55 per cent who wanted Scotland to stay. Another 30 per cent had no strong opinion.

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The findings on sharing sterling led to Better Together claiming that Salmond should develop a “Plan B” for the currency arrangements after independence.

Speaking on behalf of the No campaign, Edinburgh South Labour MP and shadow business minister Ian Murray said: “It is encouraging that so many people living elsewhere in the UK want to keep our family of nations together.

“This poll also adds to the overwhelming body of evidence that people living elsewhere in the UK do not support a currency union. It has been ruled out by the Chancellor, Prime Minister, Shadow Chancellor, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Permanent Secretary of the Treasury. Experts have said it wouldn’t be good for Scotland or the rest of the UK. Now we know the people living elsewhere in the UK oppose it too.

“Continuing to use the pound is not just Alex Salmond’s decision and these results show he needs a Plan B for what would replace the pound.

“Telling us everybody else is wrong and he alone is right isn’t good enough.”

A spokesman for the SNP government Finance Secretary John Swinney said many experts backed a currency union and referred to a poll last year which suggested that 71 per cent of people south of the Border supported the idea.

“The question asked here failed to mention any of the mutual benefits of a currency union and was clearly designed to paint a currency union in the most negative light possible,” Swinney’s spokesman said.