Independence: E-mails show ‘Bank did no analysis’

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THE Bank of England “has not done any analysis” on the possibility of Scottish independence, internal e-mails have revealed.

Released under freedom of information, the e-mails show that, in November, a Treasury official contacted the Bank to find the right person to speak to on “the Scottish question”.

However, the relevant official at the Bank, whose name is redacted, replied: “The Bank has not done any analysis on this issue, and therefore there is no better point of contact beyond our office, and no work we are doing on which to offer information. The only staff engagement has been for a small group of experts… to meet with representatives of the Scottish civil service, in order to provide strictly technical advice on related economic issues.”

SNP ministers have made it clear they intend to use the Bank of England after independence, with Scotland continuing to use sterling and with the Bank setting monetary policy.

The e-mail was written a few weeks before finance secretary John Swinney said the government had been in “a very helpful dialogue” with the Bank on independence. First Minister Alex Salmond has also pointed to correspondence he received from the Governor, Sir Mervyn King, who pledged to “respond to requests from the UK and Scottish governments for technical advice” and “engage with the Fiscal Commission” set up by ministers in Edinburgh.

However, opposition parties said the e-mail showed there was still little clarity on the matter. Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “Alex Salmond asserts that he will keep the pound and have influence over the Bank of England’s monetary policy, but he has not even asked if this is a possibility.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Swinney replied: “The Bank of England, as an independent public body, takes no view on independence, but was happy to share its technical expertise”.