Salmond refuses to outline independence currency 'Plan B'


Alex Salmond refused to outline a "Plan B" to his currency union proposal for an independent Scotland, during first minister's questions on 30 January 2014.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said the "war on his currency plan is over and Alex Salmond has lost it" and repeatedly called on Mr Salmond to "reveal his real plans for a new Scottish currency".

Mr Salmond hit back at the Labour leader's "scaremongering" and insisted: "Sterling is as much the people of Scotland's currency as it is London's currency and the Bank of England is one of the assets of the United Kingdom to which Scotland is entitled to a share."

The row followed Bank of England governor Mark Carney's speech in Edinburgh where he said an independent Scotland would need to give up some power to retain the pound and this "requires some ceding of national sovereignty".

He also said the risks of not having a strong agreement had been demonstrated by problems in the Eurozone.

Mr Carney stressed arrangements for a currency union in the event of independence would be a matter for the Scottish and UK parliaments.

In the event of a "Yes" vote, the Scottish government said keeping the pound and retaining the services of the Bank of England, under a formal currency union agreement, was the best option for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The UK government had said such an agreement would be "unlikely", and the deal would result in Scotland effectively having to hand over control of interest rates and borrowing levels to a foreign country.

During the exchange Mr Salmond, gave a long list of the powers which he said Scotland would gain under independence, ranging from taxation; employment law; welfare to the ability to scrap Trident nuclear weapons.

Ms Lamont provoked uproar from the SNP by describing these as "a list of wee things".

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson also highlighted the speech from the governor of the Bank of England asking what powers Mr Salmond expected the rest of the UK would be willing to give up to join a currency union.

The first minister said the rest of the UK would want to join a currency union as it was in the best interests of both countries.

Mr Salmond condemned remarks made by the former Scottish Secretary, Lord Lang of Monkton in the House of Lords.

Ian Lang suggested that independence may "dishonour those who fought and died for their country", during a debate on the implications of a "yes" vote in the referendum.

The first minister urged the Ms Davidson to disassociate herself and her party from the comments, which she declined to do.

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