Scottish Independence: Pound snub ‘would hit UK’

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Ruling out a currency union with an independent Scotland would cost businesses south of the border “many hundreds of millions”, Alex Salmond has warned.

The Scottish First Minister hit back at Chancellor George Osborne after he last week ruled out doing a deal on currency if there is a Yes vote in September’s independence referendum.

Alex Salmond. Picture: Getty

Alex Salmond. Picture: Getty

In a speech in Edinburgh last week, Mr Osborne declared: “If Scotland walks away from the UK, it walks away from the UK pound.”

Mr Salmond said the Tory Chancellor had presented a “caricature” of research by economic experts which had backed a currency union.

The Fiscal Commission Working Group, set up by Mr Salmond, concluded last year that keeping sterling as the currency in an independent Scotland would be “sensible” and an attractive choice for the rest of the UK.

In a speech in Aberdeen today, Mr Salmond said the Chancellor had chosen “not to engage with the points made by the Fiscal Commission Working Group. He chose instead to present a caricature of the macroeconomic framework they presented”.

He said Mr Osborne had “downplayed the disadvantages to the rest of the UK from a sterling zone”, as he warned that rejecting a currency union could damage business in the rest of the UK.

“I am publishing today an estimate of the transactions cost he would potentially impose on businesses in the rest of the UK,” Mr Salmond said.

“They run to many hundreds of millions of pounds.

“My submission is that this charge - let us call it the George Tax - would be impossible to sell to English business.”