UK Government is ‘playing politics’ over currency

SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: THE UK GOVERNMENT has been accused of “playing politics” over the prospect of a currency union in the event of Scottish independence by a group of business leaders.

Sir George Mathewson was one name which contributed to an open letter. Picture: Kenny Smith
Sir George Mathewson was one name which contributed to an open letter. Picture: Kenny Smith

An open letter signed by figures including former Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Sir George Mathewson and past chairman of Scottish Enterprise and UK government adviser Sir Donald Mackay, is a response to claims that both shares in companies with significant cross-border exposure and the value of the pound are dropping due to the prospect of a ‘Yes’ vote.

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The Scottish Government says it will seek to negotiate a currency union with the rest of the UK should it win the September 18 poll, but this arrangement has been rejected by Westminster.

The open letter states: “There are a whole host of reasons why Sterling rises or falls but to suggest it’s because of the independence referendum is simply not proven.

“The governor of the Bank of England has already stated that it will discharge duties to ensure financial stability for the whole of Britain after a Yes vote.

“Any uncertainty in markets only exists because the UK Government is playing politics with a currency union. That position is not sustainable, the only question is whether it will change before or after a Yes vote.”

The signatories of the letter, writing in their personal capacities, are Sir George Mathewson, Sir Donald Mackay, Professor David Simpson, former senior economic adviser to Standard Life plc, Jim Spowart, founder of Standard Life Bank and Intelligent Finance, Michelle Thomson, managing director, Business for Scotland and former executive at Standard Life plc; James Scott, former executive director, Scottish Financial Enterprise, Frank McKirgan, former global head of equities, Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Alistair Strang, city analyst, Peter de Vink, chief executive, Edinburgh Financial General Holdings; and Rachel Holmes, a lecturer in finance.