Scottish independence: Carney says Scots currency plan may lead to power loss

Mark Carney: "A durable currency union requires some ceding of national sovereignty"

The Bank of England governor has said an independent Scotland would need to give up some power to make a currency union with the rest of the UK work.

Mark Carney said such a move, proposed by the Scottish government, "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's comments, in Edinburgh, came ahead of the Scottish independence referendum, on 18 September.

The Editors - Analysis

Nick Robinson, Brian Taylor and Robert Peston
  • Nick Robinson, BBC political editor - "There are two words and one warning that really matter in today's speech by the Governor of the Bank of England - Mark Carney spoke of the "clear risks" involved if an independent Scotland tries to carry on using the pound......." Read more
  • Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland political editor - "For the unionists, the scheme is in tatters. For the nationalists, Mark Carney's remarks are "common sense". Truly, it seems that, unlike David Hume, the governor of the Bank of England is, for today at least, a man without enemies......" Read more
  • Robert Peston, BBC business editor - "Whether he intended to do so or not, Governor Carney has just lobbed a very large stink bomb into the centre of Edinburgh......" Read more

Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney welcomed Mr Carney's speech, saying it had recognised the benefits of a currency union.

Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign to keep the Union, argued the governor's remarks were "devastating" for the Scottish government's currency plans.

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.

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

He added: "If such deliberations ever were to happen, they would need to consider carefully what the economics of currency unions suggest are the necessary foundations for a durable union, particularly given the clear risks if these foundations are not in place.

"Those risks have been demonstrated clearly in the euro area over recent years, with sovereign debt crises, financial fragmentation and large divergences in economic performance."

Mr Carney, who was speaking at an event hosted by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, went on: "The euro area is now beginning to rectify its institutional shortcomings, but further, very significant steps must be taken to expand the sharing of risks and pooling of fiscal resources.

Mark Carney and Alex Salmond Mark Carney met Alex Salmond at the first minister's official residence, ahead of the speech
Mark Carney Mr Carney agreed to provide "technical" analysis of the issues ahead of the referendum

"In short, a durable, successful currency union requires some ceding of national sovereignty.

Analysis

Mark Carney does a good impersonation.

In Edinburgh today the Bank of England governor insisted he was not a politician and then proceeded to sound very like one: dodging tricky question after tricky question.

"Others will judge...it's for others to decide...that's clearly not what I said," he intoned, as a pack of politics and economics reporters pushed him on Scottish independence.

Nonetheless, the central message from this central banker was clear.

He does not want to preside over a Eurozone-style currency mess, whatever Scotland decides on September 18th.

As such he set out in dry, technocratic detail his views on the ingredients for a successful monetary union.

Expressed in simple terms, he said broad agreement on tax and spending between the nations sharing the currency would be needed.

No problem, says the Scottish government. We can do such a deal.

Big problem says the Treasury. We're not so sure.

So what of the governor's view? Would such a deal happen?

Oddly enough Mr Carney, the astutely political non-politician, declined to say.

"It is likely that similar institutional arrangements would be necessary to support a monetary union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK."

Earlier, Mr Carney, who has agreed to provide "technical" analysis of the issues ahead of the referendum, met privately with Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney welcomed Mr Carney's speech, including what he said was a confirmation that that Bank of England would implement whatever monetary arrangements were put in place, if independence happened.

Mr Swinney said the points made by Mr Carney had been investigated in detail by the Scottish government's Fiscal Commission.

He said: "The benefits of a currency union are clear for both sides in terms of issues like promoting investment, eliminating transaction costs, reducing borrowing costs and facilitating the movement of labour and capital, and we welcome the governor's recognition of these benefits.

"An independent Scotland will control 100% of our own revenues, compared to the 7% of our tax base we are currently responsible for under devolution.

"A shared currency will mean an independent Scotland having control of tax policy, employment policy, social security policy, oil and gas revenues, immigration policy and a range of other levers to suit our own circumstances, helping to grow our economy, create jobs and secure a more prosperous and fairer society."

But Mr Darling, the former UK chancellor, said: "There is one clear message from today's thoughtful speech by Mark Carney the Governor of the Bank of England - that the failings of the Eurozone show that to have a successful monetary union you require fiscal and political union.

Alistair Darling on a currency union: "It can only work if you have increased economic and political union"

"This is a detailed speech but make no mistake, the governor's judgement on currency unions is devastating for Alex Salmond's currency plans.

"Why? Because the whole point of independence is to break the fiscal and political union that makes monetary union possible."

Mr Darling added: "The governor has spelled out in stark terms the problems of a currency union - above all it needs people living in the rest of the UK to agree to something they have never been asked about."

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said his breakfast meeting with Mr Carney had gone "extremely well"

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said that it was of no "great surprise" that on technical issues the governor of the Bank of England would want to set out his views.

He explained: "The issue around currency is an important part of the debate that is currently going on in Scotland. It hardly seems a great surprise at all, on the technical issues, that the governor of the Bank of England might want to set out his views.

"I'm sure the people of Scotland will want to be as well-informed as possible."

The independence referendum will see voters in Scotland asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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  80.  
    12:57: All eyes on Bolt

    Netball Australia's Chris Gottaas tweets: Just a few eyes on Usain Bolt's every move at the netball as he watches Jamaica v New Zealand.

    Photographers take pictures of Usain Bolt
     
  81.  
    Suspension at baby ashes crematorium 12:23:

    A senior member of staff at Aberdeen crematorium has been suspended amid an investigation into the handing of baby ashes.

    Crematorium superintendent Derek Snow has been suspended from his post during the probe led by Dame Elish Angiolini.

    The former Lord Advocate is looking at the possible mishandling of babies' ashes at crematoriums around Scotland, including Hazlehead.

    An earlier city council investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing.

     
  82.  
    12:13: 'Utter confidence in story'

    The Scottish editor of The Times, Angus Macleod, told the BBC the newspaper stood by its story about Usain Bolt.

    "We stand by this story 100%.

    "We have utter confidence in this story," he said.

    The paper quote Bolt as saying he was "not really" having fun in Glasgow. The sprinter took to later to say the report was "nonsense".

    Copy of today's Times newspaper
     
  83.  
    12:01: Millar Time

    Team Scotland tweets: "Cycling: We have David Millar (@millarmind) - bring on the Time Trial tomorrow. #GoScotland"

    Cyclist David Millar
     
  84.  
    11:49: Muir withdraws from 800m Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland

    Scotland's Laura Muir has withdrawn from today's heats of the 800m.

    Laura Muir after the final of the 1,500m at Glasgow 2014

    Muir was due to go in the fourth and final heat at 12:20, but is understood to be disappointed and upset following last night's 1500m final in which she appeared to be clipped by another athlete with around 100m to go when she was in contention for a medal. She ended up in 11th place.

     
  85.  
    11:37: 'Take Mr Bolt at his word'

    The chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Mike Hooper, told this morning's Games briefing he was "very pleased" with the way Usain Bolt had responded to allegations he had been disparaging about Glasgow 2014.

    He added: "We take Mr Bolt at his word."

    The Olympic 100m champion took to Twitter earlier to deny a report in The Times newspaper that he was "not really" having fun in Glasgow.

    Mike Hooper
     
  86.  
    Man detained at athletes' village 11:24:

    A man has been detained by police following an early morning disturbance at the Commonwealth Games athletes' village in Glasgow.

    The Glasgow 2014 athletes' village

    Police Scotland said the 30-year-old was currently in custody following the incident, which took place at the site in Dalmarnock, in the city's east end, at about 06:00 BST on Wednesday.

     
  87.  
    11:12: Hockey - England beat Scotland

    In the women's hockey Scotland were beaten 1-2 by England.

    Scotland threw everything at the "Auld Enemy" in the second half as they tried to keep their medal hopes alive but England hung on to make it through to the semi-finals.

     
  88.  
    11:10: Raising the roof

    The BBC's Kevin Keane tweets: "Roof being raised at wrestling as England's George Ramm takes on Scotland's Viorel Etko. #Glasgow2014"

    England's George Ramm takes on Scotland's Viorel Etko at the wrestling
     
  89.  
    10:45: Female athletes 'phenomenal'

    Scotland's Commonwealth Games minister has praised the performance of Team Scotland's women.

    Shona Robison pointed out that the nation's sportswomen had already won more medals than at any other Commonwealth Games, 46% of the total haul so far.

    She said: "I'm enormously proud of these women. They are phenomenal role models and I'm absolutely convinced that they will inspire a new generation of Scottish female athletes to take up sport.

    "The eyes of the world's media are on our sporting heroes and I'm certain this will continue beyond the Games."

     
  90.  
    BBC Scotland Live - your views 10:30:

    Anonymous: Scotland Live page is excellent, really well laid out, easy to use. Manages to be up to date, trustworthy and irreverent. Feels friendly yet authoritative. Well done!

    We'd really like to hear your thoughts on the new Scotland Live format - tweet us using #ScotlandLive, email us here or text to 80295.

     
  91.  
    10:20: 'Don't create lies'

    Sprinter Usain Bolt has turned to Twitter to responded to allegations that he isn't enjoying Glasgow 2014.

    He tweets: "I'm waking up to this nonsense..journalist please don't create lies to make headlines"

    Screen grab of Usain Bolt's twitter feed
     
  92.  
    10:15: Get inspired Live

    Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent are currently live in the hot seat at BBC at The Quay.

    Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent speak to the BBC's Jane Douglas

    Jill Douglas is inviting questions from the audience as well as testing the Olympic rowers' resolve and focus… on a home-made putting green. The Q&A is part of BBC Sport's Get Inspired initiative.

    Watch it live.

     
  93.  
    10:05: 'Utter rubbish' Chris McLaughlin Commonwealth Games reporter, BBC Sport

    Usain Bolt's manager says reports linking the Jamaican sprinter to disparaging comments about the Commonwealth Games are "utter rubbish".

    The Olympic champion has been quoted in a number of newspapers this morning after being allegedly overheard outside the Athletes' Village saying the Glasgow games were "not as good as the Olympics".

    His manager Ricky Simms told BBC sport "the atmosphere in and around the stadiums has been absolutely fantastic and I have absolutely no idea where these quotes have come from".

     
  94.  
    10:01: Usain Bolt - your views

    David Burns tweets: "#ScotlandLive Maybe Bolt should have tried taking part in things then"

     
  95.  
    09:46: Medal table
    Medal table graphic

    Scotland is currently fourth in the medal table, just behind Canada, but there are more medal prospects later today.

     
  96.  
    09:45: Driverless cars - your views

    Graham in Westray: Driverless cars - what a load of tosh! If people really want to sit and shave or read a paper on their way to work, then call a taxi, get the bus or the train. What is the point and why on earth would the Govt want to spend oodles of cash on this when there are so many others in urgent need of their help.

    Anonymous: Great idea. 40% of drivers are so incompetent they shouldn't be on the road. And they would park legally too, unlike the idiot drivers in Musselburgh who park on white zig zags, on double yellows, on corners with two wheels, on double yellows and at bus stops.

    Muriel in Blackwood: I'd rather be in a driverless car than with some of the drivers I know!!!

     
  97.  
    09:40: On the front page
    Front pages 30 July

    Take a look at our summary of the front pages of Scotland's newspapers.

     
  98.  
    Today at the Games 09:35:

    It's another big day ahead at Glasgow 2014.

    Scotland and England's women have already started playing their key Pool B match - a place in the semi-finals is at stake. Click on the Live Coverage tab above to watch the match live.

    Scotland play England at hockey

    Elsewhere, the diving competition starts in Edinburgh at 10:00, while a packed day of athletics awaits at Hampden. The action there also starts at 10:00.

    In netball, Scotland play Northern Ireland at about 17:00 this afternoon.

    And Team Scotland have a good chance of medals in both the bowls and the wrestling, which take place throughout the day.

     
  99.  
    09:08: Have you enjoyed the Games? Clark Ainsworth BBC News

    If newspaper reports are to be believed sprinter Usain Bolt is a little underwhelmed by Glasgow 2014.

    The Games have seen sunshine - for the first few days at least - and huge crowds showing their support for athletes from around the world. Team Scotland has also taken a record haul of medals.

    Have you enjoyed the Games? If so what has been your main highlight?

    Or are you in the Bolt camp? Have the Games passed you by?

    Let us know what you think. You can tweet us using #ScotlandLive, email us here or text using 80295.

     
  100.  
    08:57: Excitement builds in Edinburgh Edinburgh Evening News

    tweets: Good Morning Edinburgh! Big day today. The Commonwealth Games are back in the Capital today as Diving comes to the Commie pool. Excited?

     

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