SNP European election candidate ‘agnostic’ on currency in independent Scotland

The SNP’s lead candidate for the European election has said he is “agnostic” on the question of what currency an independent Scotland would use.

Speaking in a debate on STV’s Scotland Tonight programme on Monday, Alyn Smith said he does not have a preference of whether the country would continue to use the pound, introduce a new Scottish currency or adopt the euro.

At the SNP conference last month, delegates voted in favour of setting up a separate Scottish currency “as soon as practicable” in the event of independence.

SNP European election candidates
SNP European election candidates

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the country would keep the pound until six tests were met and the Scottish Parliament approved a change.

Mr Smith said any such decision would be taken based on the circumstances of the Scottish economy at the time.

“I’m agnostic on currency stuff,” Mr Smith said.

“We’ve had within the SNP a lively debate about what sort of currency options there will be for an independent Scotland and what we’ve agreed is a way to get to that proper decision.

“Now, we could keep sterling, we could keep sterling in a formal currency union, we could create an independent Scottish currency or we could join the euro and we can negotiate other options as well depending on what the circumstance is at the time.”

Asked which currency option he would like to be pursued, Mr Smith indicated he does not have a preference.

He said: “My preference is what’s best for the Scottish economy on the facts as they come.

“I’ve said I’m agnostic on the currency question, I think it’s about what matters best for economic stability of our country, for long-term investment, people’s pensions, people’s homes – this is too important to just be a matter of ideology, this is about what works best.

“The euro is working well across the European continent. Sterling also is our currency, too.

“So Scotland’s a rich country, we’re going to have lots of options in this discussion.”

Speaking after the debate, Scottish Labour candidate David Martin said: “The public will be alarmed to learn the SNP’s top candidate is open to dumping the pound for the euro.

“That will create a currency barrier between Scotland and the rest of the UK, costing jobs and putting pensions at risk.

“Unlike the SNP, Labour stands to unite our country and bring it back together.

“A vote for Labour on Thursday is a vote to end division and for a progressive Europe that works for the many, not the few.”