Independent Scotland would still use pound, says First Minister

Nicola Sturgeon has said an independent Scotland would use the pound unless the Scottish Parliament voted for a different currency.

Following accusations from Richard Leonard that the SNP were planning to use Sterling without the backing of the central bank, the First Minister said Scotland had as much right to use the pound as the rest of the UK.

First Minister’s Questions
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard (Jane Barlow/PA)

At First Minister’s Questions, the Labour leader said: “Last night, the SNP Finance Minister told the BBC ‘the currency you use the day before independence will be the same as the currency you use the day after independence’ but under your plans First Minister, that simply isn’t true is it?

“Because what Kate Forbes left out last night and what you left out in your answer is that you plan to use the pound without a central bank

“It’s the SNP’s very own no-deal exit.”

He added: “That would mean building up substantial foreign exchange reserves.

“The Finance Secretary Derek Mackay could not tell this chamber yesterday afternoon how much that would cost but the people of Scotland deserve an answer.”

In response, Ms Sturgeon described Scottish Labour as “a pale echo of the Conservatives”.

She said: “The position of Labour and the Tories on these questions is utterly ridiculous.

“Remember in 2014 they told us that Scotland couldn’t use Sterling in a currency union?

“Now they tell us we can’t use sterling in a currency union and they tell us we can’t have our own currency as well.

“Scotland must be the only country in the entire world that couldn’t have any currency – it is ridiculous and the people of Scotland know that.”

Explaining her policy, Ms Sturgeon added: “Until a democratically elected Scottish Parliament decides otherwise, we will use the pound, which is our currency just as it is the currency of other parts of the UK.”

First Minister’s Questions
Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scottish Conservative interim leader Jackson Carlaw claimed proposals to introduce an independent Scottish currency would cause “chaos” for the economy.

He said a change in currency could mean people being tied into mortgages or car loans and be at risk of paying more by using an untried currency.

“The SNP is preparing to launch a new currency, according to their deputy leader (Keith Brown), which would throw people’s mortgages and Scotland’s economy into chaos,” said Mr Carlaw.

“Then according to her deputy leader, the SNP plan to launch an illegal referendum within a matter of weeks.

“Another week of the SNP showing that there is only one priority for this Government and that’s satisfying Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with a second independence referendum.

“Enough is enough. First Minister, just rule it out and let Scotland move on”.

FM: "I think Scotland should have the ability to choose the arrangements on currency, and on everything else, that best suit our needs and interests. That is the very essence of independence." #FMQs

— The SNP (@theSNP) March 7, 2019

Ms Sturgeon responded: “I think Scotland should have the ability to choose the arrangements on currency and on everything else that best suits our needs and interests.”

“That’s the very essence of independence and it’s why I, and an increasing number of people in Scotland, support Scotland becoming an independent country.

“People in Scotland will have ample opportunity to talk about the many benefits of becoming an independent country, but we don’t have too much longer to sort out the mess of Brexit”.