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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    Panda twins 14:30:

    A red panda at the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig, near Aviemore, has given birth to twins.

    Kitty's young were born on 15 June, but have only been revealed following the release of images from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

    panda cubs at Highland Wildlife Park
     
  78.  
    A quaich guide 14:08:

    As well as a gold, silver or bronze gong, each Glasgow 2014 medallist is being presented with a special commemorative quaich.

    The presentation quaichs

    The wooden bowls - designed by Glasgow-based Paul Hodgkiss - have sparked interest from TV viewers around the world.

    So, what is a quaich and what are they meant to symbolise about the Games? Find out here.

     
  79.  
    Merchant sizzle 13:58: Laura Bicker Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Merchant city in Glasgow is sizzling for the Games #glasgow2014

    Merchant City Glasgow
     
  80.  
    Commonwealth Flotilla 13:53:

    About 250 boats are beginning to gather in Greenock ahead of the Commonwealth Flotilla up the Clyde to Glasgow.

    Small ships, clippers, yachts and working boats will muster at James Watt Dock.

    Flotilla gathers in Greenock

    On Saturday they will sail 17 nautical miles to Pacific Quay, with hundreds of spectators expected to watch.

     
  81.  
    Games lift for bike scheme 13:42:

    Glasgow's recently launched cycle-hire scheme has seen a substantial increase in uptake since the Games started.

    Glasgow bike-hire scheme

    The £600,000 initiative runs at 37 sites - six of which are temporary Games sites.

    The previous high of 421 hires on 1 July has been surpassed by rentals on Wednesday and Thursday this week of 502 and 611 respectively.

    Figures show the lowest number of rentals, 107, was on the scheme's launch day of 24 June.

     
  82.  
    Afternoon weather 13:16: BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Another warm day for many of us with plenty of sunshine around.

    Reaching the high 20sC at best again - this most likely around the north west. These high temperatures could spark off the odd sharp isolated shower. Always slightly fresher along the east coat.

    For a full forecast, go to the BBC Weather site.

     
  83.  
    The cost of competing 12:56:

    Scotland's Commonwealth gold-winning sisters Kimberley and Louise Renicks have been speaking to BBC Scotland's Jane Lewis about their big wins yesterday and also funding in judo.

    Kimberley and Louise Renicks

    The duo revealed they have spent around £25,000 competing in their chosen sport.

     
  84.  
    'No question' over Arrow smoke 12:48:

    There was "no question" the Red Arrows would change the colour of smoke trails to represent the Scottish flag at the Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon says.

    Read arrows

    It follows reports the RAF aerobatic team was forced to change its smoke from blue and white to its usual red, white and blue at the last minute.

    Read the full story here.

     
  85.  
    Scots record breaker 12:39:

    Katie Archibald broke Scottish record in qualifying for women's 3000m individual pursuit and will take on Australian Amy Cure for the bronze medal at about 16:55.

    Katie Archibald
     
  86.  
    Games boost? 12:29:

    Irn Bru maker AG Barr has said it is on track to outperform Britain's overall soft drinks market, with a 5.6% rise in first-half revenue.

    Irn-Bru cans

    The Cumbernauld-based firm, which is one of the sponsors of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, is expecting sales of £135m in the six months to the end of July.

     
  87.  
    Swimming success 12:18:

    Team Scotland swimmers are continuing to do well in the pool.

    Dan Wallace set a new British and Commonwealth record in the heats of the 400m medley, while Robbie Renwick, below, the Commonwealth 200m freestyle champion, qualified for the event's final.

    Robbie Renwick

    You can watch all the latest action in the pool live on the BBC Sport website.

     
  88.  
    Wales hurdler out following dope test 12:09:

    Team Wales 400m hurdler Rhys Williams is out of the Games after being charged with an anti-doping violation.

    Rhys Williams

    The 30-year-old former European champion says he is "utterly devastated" and denies knowingly taking any banned substance.

     
  89.  
    Pictures of the week 11:55:

    Check out a selection of your photographs of Scotland taken between 18 and 25 July.

    Picture of Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony
     
  90.  
    On today's show 11:43: John Beattie BBC Scotland

    Today, we will be discussing funding for athletes and headgear used by boxers at the Commonwealth Games.

    We will also be live at the pool and the judo. Join us from noon on BBC Radio Scotland or listen online.

     
  91.  
    Another Scottish judo win 11:35:

    Scotland's Patrick Dawson has won his preliminary round of 32 fight against Joseph Hell Bapou of Cameroon in the men's judo 73kg category at the SECC this morning.

     
  92.  
    Murdoch wins heat 11:24:

    Commonwealth champion Ross Murdoch has won his heat of the Men's 100m breaststroke following his gold medal in the 200m breaststroke last night.

    Michael Jamieson finished third in the same heat.

    Both men should be in tonight's semi-final at around 20:05.

     
  93.  
    Beattie meets... 11:15: John Beattie BBC Scotland

    tweets: Bumped into the wonderful @matthewcpinsent

    Matthew Pinsent and John Beattie
     
  94.  
    What a lot of pants 10:58: Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

    Forget all those amazing scenes in the pool last night. Surely the most memorable moment of the Games so far - barring the Scottie dogs of the opening ceremony of course - is the celebration of Gavin Rumgay in the table tennis.

    Gavin Rumgay celebrates in the table tennis

    Are those Team Scotland boxer shorts? Who knows. Some questions are best left unanswered.

     
  95.  
    St Helena to Glasgow 10:51:

    For most of you reading this page, it will take minutes or maybe a few hours to travel to Glasgow.

    So spare a thought for athletes from St Helena - an island in the South Atlantic - who spent 10 days travelling to get to the Games.

    St Helena team

    Watch a video diary of their journey.

     
  96.  
    Prisoner voting - your views 10:45: Via SMS

    Jeff: Prisoners should definitely have the vote. People change and deserve a second chance.

    Knowles in Inverurie: Surely the whole point of going to prison is you loose your rights. Some discouragement. Must be given to help preventing people offend in the first place.

    Gerry McSherry: Prisoners are part of society. Fact. Thus, they MUST have their "right to vote" respected. Otherwise, our society is fatally flawed,non-inclusive and uncivilised. Unionise our incarcerated!

    Stevie in Greenock: No prisoners should get a vote never mind those that commit murder. They bang on about human rights, what a front, wonder if they think about the rights of the victims. The minute you go to prison you lose the right to vote and long may that continue.

     
  97.  
    Exam reform delayed 10:39:

    Dozens of schools across Scotland are delaying the introduction of new Highers in popular school subjects, according to BBC Scotland research.

    New look Highers start in the new school year to tie in with the replacements for Standard Grades.

    Classroom scene

    But a significant number of schools have chosen to delay them for a year in some popular subjects.

     
  98.  
    Mother admits Mikaeel Kular killing 10:30:

    The mother of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular has pleaded guilty to killing her son in Edinburgh in January.

    Mikaeel Kular

    Rosdeep Adekoya had been charged with murder, but admitted the reduced charge of culpable homicide when she appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh.

     
  99.  
    Disappointment for Brownlie 10:28: Heather Dewar BBC Scotland

    Scotland's Caroline Brownlie has missed out on qualification for the womens 10m air pistol event at Barry Buddon.

    Caroline Brownlie

    The 36-year-old from Edinburgh finished 24th out of 28 in this mornings qualifiers. Brownlie had a disappointing first two rounds before improving in the final two. She finished with an overall score of 351-3x.

     
  100.  
    Camera spy 10:25: Louise Sayers BBC Scotland

    Just spotted the BBC's Gary Lineker doing a piece to camera next to the Science Centre.

    Gary Lineker
     

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