Scottish independence: 'Yes' vote means leaving pound, says Osborne

 

Chancellor George Osborne said the pound was not an asset to be divided up, during a speech in Edinburgh

UK Chancellor George Osborne has said a vote for Scottish independence would mean walking away from the pound.

His statement came after the senior civil servant at the Treasury, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, said currency unions were "fraught with difficulty".

Mr Osborne was backed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said the Westminster parties were trying to "bully" voters ahead of the 18 September independence referendum.

The Scottish government has argued that keeping the pound and the services of the Bank of England as part of a currency union under independence made sense for both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

But Mr Osborne said there was "no legal reason" why the rest of the UK would want to share sterling with an independent Scotland.

Start Quote

What's really striking is the publication of the normally private advice of the top Treasury mandarin Sir Nicholas Macpherson”

End Quote

The chancellor, Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls and Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said they could not recommend such a plan.

Speaking in Edinburgh, Mr Osborne said: "The pound isn't an asset to be divided up between two countries after a break-up like a CD collection.

The instinct of the Scottish National Party may well be to dismiss the head of the Treasury's unambiguous advice to the Chancellor that he should not enter into currency union with an independent Scotland as the public-school and Oxford establishment closing ranks to save the union.

But the letter from Sir Nick Macpherson (Eton and Balliol) to George Osborne (St Paul's and Magdalen) is a significant constitutional event.

It is unusual for the permanent secretary to the Treasury to write a public letter on any issue at all, let alone one as momentous as whether institutional arrangements should be put in place so that an autonomous Scotland could have an influence on monetary and financial-regulation policy while continuing to use the pound.

The relevant issue for Mr Salmond is only to a limited extent whether Macpherson and the Treasury are right or wrong that monetary union with an autonomous Scotland would be contrary to the interests of a still-united England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"If Scotland walks away from the UK, it walks away from the UK pound."

He went on: "There's no legal reason why the rest of the UK would need to share its currency with Scotland.

"So when the Nationalists say the pound is as much ours as the rest of the UK's, are they really saying that an independent Scotland could insist that taxpayers in a nation it had just voted to leave had to continue to back the currency of this new, foreign country?"

Mr Osborne added: "The UK is growing faster than any other advanced economy in Europe, and within the Union, Scotland is growing faster than the rest."

"Nothing could be more damaging to economic security here in Scotland than dividing our United Kingdom."

The chancellor's speech came as he published the Treasury's latest currency analysis paper, which said:

  • The UK's successful union with its shared monetary policy and risk would be lost in an independent Scotland.
  • Countries with more direct control over monetary policy can better cope with severe economic problems.
  • An independent Scotland would be more exposed to risks from the "volatile" energy and finance industries.
  • The eurozone crisis had shown that agreed fiscal rules are not enough to ensure a stable currency union.
  • There is no rule or principle in international law requiring the continuing UK to formally share its currency with an independent Scotland.

And in a highly unusual move, the chancellor also published civil service advice from Sir Nicholas, the Treasury's permanent secretary, who stated:

  • "Currency unions between sovereign states are fraught with difficulty. They require extraordinary commitment, and a genuine desire to see closer union between the peoples involved."
  • "What worries me about the Scottish government's putative currency union is that it would take place against the background of a weakening union between the two countries, running counter to the direction of travel in the eurozone."
  • "The Scottish Government is still leaving the option open of moving to a different currency option in the longer term. Successful currency unions are based on the near universal belief that they are irreversible. Imagine what would have happened to Greece two years ago if they had said they were contemplating reverting to the Drachma."
  • "Scotland's banking sector is far too big in relation to its national income, which means that there is a very real risk that the continuing UK would end up bearing most of the liquidity and solvency risk which it creates."
  • "If you follow Treasury advice and this week rule out a currency union in the event of Scottish independence, you can expect the Scottish Government to threaten not to take on its share of the United Kingdom's debt. I do not believe this is a credible threat."
George Osborne George Osborne's speech came as he published the latest Treasury analysis on the nature of a currency union in an independent Scotland

Mr Salmond responded: "This is a concerted bid by a Tory-led Westminster establishment to bully and intimidate - but their efforts to claim ownership of sterling will backfire spectacularly in terms of reaction from the people of Scotland, who know that the pound is as much theirs as it is George Osborne's.

Analysis

This feels like a defining moment in the independence referendum campaign.

There will be others but this is arguably the most important so far with the possible exception of the publication of the Scottish government's White Paper.

It set out the case for Scotland to keep using the pound Sterling in a formal currency union with the rest of the UK in the event of independence.

Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond has repeatedly said this would be in the economic interests of both countries.

Today, his pro-union opponents in all three major UK parties are effectively saying that it would not be and that they will not let it happen.

They hope to seriously undermine the credibility of the nationalists' promise of currency continuity.

The Scottish government hopes referendum voters will see it as an attempt to bluff and bully and that it will backfire.

They are determined not to abandon their preferred currency option for an alternative - using the pound anyway, creating a new Scottish currency or applying to join the Euro - that may seem much riskier.

They have also said that if the rest of the UK is not prepared to share the currency that an independent Scotland would not be obliged to take a share of UK debts.

The stakes in this campaign just got a lot higher.

"Mr Osborne's claims are based on a caricature of a currency union rather than the reality, and his claims, for example on the size of Scotland's banking sector, do not reflect that reality."

The Scottish first minister added: "The reality is that a formal currency union with a shared sterling area is overwhelmingly in the rest of the UK's economic interests following a 'Yes' vote, and the stance of any UK government will be very different the day after a 'Yes' vote to the campaign rhetoric we are hearing now.

"To do otherwise would involve a prospective Westminster chancellor of any party standing on a platform which was not only vastly at odds with majority public opinion across Scotland and the rest of the UK but would seriously damage the economy of the rest of the UK as it would cost their own businesses hundreds of millions of pounds a year, blow a massive hole in their balance of payments and it would leave them having to pick up the entirety of UK debt."

But Mr Alexander said the Treasury had provided "crystal clear" analysis that a currency union would create unacceptable risks both for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

He also called on the Scottish government to set out an alternative currency proposal.

Mr Alexander added: "As a Scot and as Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the UK Treasury, on the basis of this analysis, I couldn't recommend a currency union to the people of Scotland and my party couldn't agree to such a proposition for the rest of the UK.

"The SNP continue to pretend that an independent Scotland could continue to share the pound. It couldn't, without agreement."

The Scottish Lib Dem MP said: "This isn't bluff, or bullying, it's a statement of fact."

Start Quote

The dominant parties at Westminster sought to avoid any pre-negotiation - but now they've broken their own rule. We now have one, very important piece of pre-negotiation, by declaring no negotiation at all.”

End Quote

Mr Balls, added: "Alex Salmond is saying to people that you can have independence and keep the pound and the Bank of England - that is not going to happen.

"It would be bad for Scotland, it would place an unacceptable burden on the UK taxpayer, it would repeat the mistakes of the euro area, in fact, worse.

"It won't happen, I wouldn't recommend it. Scotland will not keep the pound if Scotland chooses independence."

It is understood former Chancellor Alistair Darling, who is leading the Better Together campaign to keep the Union, was instrumental in getting the three Westminster parties to agree a joint currency position.

The referendum will see Scots asked the Yes/No question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

 

More on This Story

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5151.

    At last! In the past few years of the independence debate we have had no answers to our questions no straight talking from politicians. We now know one think about this referendum and that is we will not have the pound in a currency union. I live near the border, will I have to change my money every time I want to go to Carlisle for a meal or a drink?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5150.

    5140. Dont believe the Hype

    True but the real news here is that so do SNP politicians. They're still politicians and by definition they are liars and cheats as well. Just like all politicians, you'll believe whatever you want to believe.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 5149.

    Cant help thinking this is a bit like a 16 year old announcing to their parents that they want to leave home and move into a flat without any real idea of how they will pay their way in the world. Then asking the parent to act as guarantor for the rent and bills.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 5148.

    Given that Scotland has contributed more in REAL terms than it has received in recent times AND that it growing faster than the rest of the UK (stated above) surely getting out now is the perfect time?
    For those who say Scotland COULD not use the GBP then I give you this. How can so many countries use USD without formal currency unions with US?
    Scotland could use it's own pound if it has to.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5147.

    Arguing now about a minor matter like currency is a distraction. The key issue is independence to manage affairs as Scots see fit.
    If Scotland votes for independence, then the relationship with the pound will alter, but that is to be negotiated after the event. Lots of smaller countries manage independent and shared currencies OK. Independence is much bigger than currency.

 

Comments 5 of 5151

 

More Scotland politics stories

RSS

Scotland Live

  1.  
    16:19: Regan: 'Rangers need stability'

    SFA chief executive Stewart Regan says while he can comment on the 'process' under way at Rangers at the moment, he says it's important that there's stability at the club.

    Stewart Regan

    He said: ''For Rangers fans in particular and those who've been watching the situation over the past three years, it's important there's stability and harmony at the club and whoever leads Rangers can get on with doing that and get into some positive shape again.''

    He also said he couldn't comment on Dave King's decision not to become a director until cleared by the SFA.

     
  2.  
    16:04: Retired teacher on child porn charges

    A retired teacher has appeared in court in Dundee accused of possessing child pornography.

    Robert Lightband, 68, appeared at the city's Sheriff Court facing two charges.

    They allege that he downloaded and possessed indecent images of children at his home in the city.

    Mr Lightband, who taught at Menzieshill High School, appeared in private and made no plea.

    He was released on bail.

     
  3.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 15:54: General Election: Immigration

    Next week, BBC Scotland News examines the issue of immigration ahead of the General Election.

    We want to hear what you think.

    Immigration

    Do Scots make immigrants feel welcome? Are too many people coming into the country, or do we need more? And what have migrants added to Scotland's culture?

    We'll report on an exclusive poll and explore how Scottish attitudes to immigration differ from the rest of Britain.

     
  4.  
    15:44: Caley sign Kink Clive Lindsay BBC Sport

    Inverness Caledonian Thistle have completed the signing of Estonia forward Tarmo Kink until the end of the season.

    Tarmo Kink

    Kink, 29, has played for Middlesbrough, Spartak Moscow and most recently Hungarian club Kaposvari Rakoczi.

    "He's been with us for a few days and impressed us," said Inverness manger John Hughes last week. "He can play anywhere in the front four."

    The Highlanders sold top scorer Billy Mckay to Wigan earlier this year.

     
  5.  
    15:34: Glasgow joins SLGP Laura Maxwell BBC Scotland

    Scotland's largest council has announced it is to join a new local government group.

    Glasgow City Council

    Glasgow is the second authority to move to the Scottish Local Government Partnership, which has been set up to rival the existing organisation - COSLA.

    Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire councils are also expected to join the new partnership.

     
  6.  
    15:24: Lawwell says minority can't slur Celtic Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland

    Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell says the club's name should not be "slurred" by a few individuals who misbehave at away games.

    Celtic flares

    Lawwell was referring to Uefa disciplinary measures taken against the club for fans lighting flares.

    The most recent incident took place during last week's 1-0 defeat by Inter Milan at the San Siro.

    However, Lawwell said he would be against introducing a strict liability rule for fan misbehaviour in Scotland.

    The chief executive does not believe clubs should be punished for inappropriate behaviour by supporters at domestic matches.

     
  7.  
    15:13: Video - V&A

    Construction work is getting under way on Dundee's new £80m V&A Museum of Design.

    Artist's impression of V&A Dundee

    The project ran into controversy when it was revealed the cost had almost doubled from the original £45m.

    A ceremony has been held on the site at Dundee's waterfront with architect Kengo Kuma and Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP.

    Watch the report by BBC Scotland's Andrew Anderson.

     
  8.  
    15:09: Man admits possessing machine gun

    A court has heard a man was caught with a sub-machine gun after police were called to a disturbance with his partner.

    Darren McInally, 28, pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to possessing the gun and ammunition.

    He also admitted assaulting his partner Hazel King, 22, at her cottage in Uplawmoor, Renfrewshire, last November.

     
  9.  
    14:45: Silverburn fire

    Firefighters have attended a blaze at Silverburn Shopping Centre in Pollok.

    The fire broke out in the kitchen of Prezzo restaurant on the ground floor of the complex at 12:00.

    The flames were extinguished and no-one was hurt.

     
  10.  
    @BBCScotWeather 'Patchy rain' BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Southern and eastern Scotland remain dry this afternoon and there will be some breaks in the cloud. Outbreaks of patchy rain will affect parts of the west.

    Temperatures -9 or 10 C for many, 12 C in the northeast.

    Quite a windy day with a fresh to strong south-westerly, touching gale force over the Outer Hebrides and Shetland.

     
  11.  
    14:29: Edinburgh jewellery raid: Man held

    A man has been detained in connection with an armed robbery at an Edinburgh jewellers during which watches worth about £100,000 were taken.

    Laing jewellers

    The robbery took place at Laing the Jewellers in Frederick Street on Monday morning.

    The man is being held after police carried out a search of a property in Chesser Grove.

     
  12.  
    14:19: Elaine Doyle murder appeal

    A former soldier's appeal against his conviction for murdering teenager Elaine Doyle in 1986 has taken a step forward.

    John Docherty /Elaine Doyle

    Court of Criminal Appeal judges agreed to allow John Docherty's challenge to go ahead without limitation.

    His defence is to argue that no "reasonable jury" would have returned a guilty verdict.

    A previous decision by a single judge had allowed the ground of appeal to proceed but in a limited way.

     
  13.  
    14:11: Leave it out...

    A 100-year-old Perthshire tree which is home to the world's oldest breeding osprey has finished ninth in the European Tree of the Year competition.

    Lady's Tree

    The current Scottish Tree of the Year was beaten to the title by 'Oak tree on a football field' in Estonia.

     
  14.  
    14:05: Animal ban

    A woman has been banned from keeping animals after she admitted abandoning cats, rats, a hamster and a pair of bearded dragons in a Dundee flat.

    Stevie-Ley Murray fled the Benvie Road flat after her partner was arrested, leaving a menagerie of 19 animals.

     
  15.  
    13:59: Marischal Square fight

    Protestors are to make a last ditch attempt to stop a controversial office and retail development being built in Aberdeen.

    Artist's impression of Marischal Square development

    They have forced councillors to reconvene over the Marischal Square scheme, which they claim has been approved against the will of the city's residents.

    BBC Scotland's Kevin Keane reports.

     
  16.  
    13:53: Rolling boulders inspire art project

    Large rocks that roll around the seabed of a Scottish firth are the inspiration for a new £118,000 arts project.

    Pentland Firth

    The boulders, some believed to be as big as 328ft (100m) in diameter, are moved by fierce tides in the Pentland Firth.

    Dundee-based artists Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion have been commissioned to create an artwork called Nomadic Boulders.

    It will be put on permanent display in John O'Groats.

     
  17.  
    13:47: City sign Montgomery

    Champions Glasgow City have signed the Scottish Women's Premier League's player of the year Kerry Montgomery (pictured left) from Spartans.

    Kerry Montgomery

    The central midfielder joins ahead of City's opening league fixture on Sunday away to Hutchison Vale and in time for this month's Champions League quarter-final ties with Paris Saint-Germain.

    "I'm very excited about the challenge ahead," said Montgomery, 26.

     
  18.  
    13:39: £21m school funding

    A total of £21m is to be spent on primary school projects, the Scottish government has announced.

    The money will be spent on construction and refurbishment in Dundee, East Renfrewshire and Argyll and Bute.

    Dunoon primary

    In Argyll and Bute, Dunoon Primary School will be fully refurbished to retain its listed building status.

     
  19.  
    13:33: Coetzer proud despite defeat

    Scotland batsman Kyle Coetzer says it was "nice to show the world what we're capable of" following their six-wicket defeat by Bangladesh in Nelson, New Zealand.

    Scotland's Kyle Coetzer

    Coetzer hit the record World Cup score for an associate nation batsman of 156, as Scotland reached 318-8 before Tamim Iqbal led Bangladesh to the second-highest successful run chase in World Cup history.

    Scotland's fourth Pool A loss means they can no longer qualify for the knockout stages and that England must beat Bangladesh on Monday if they are to keep alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

     
  20.  
    13:25: Edinburgh chief to stand down

    The chief executive of Edinburgh city council, Sue Bruce, has announced that she will stand down in October.

    Sue Bruce

    Ms Bruce, who became a Dame in the New Year Honours list, has been in charge at Waverley Gate since 2011.

    She has been credited with helping to get the city's troubled tram project back on track.

    She will retire in October on her 60th birthday. The council hopes to appoint a successor in June.

     
  21.  
    Llambias prepares for Ibrox battle Chris McLaughlin BBC Sport

    Derek Llambias arrives into Glasgow airport. Says fight isn't over. 'Ask King who his Nomad is. Ask him!' He says.

     
  22.  
    @BBCTravelScot Princes Street re-opens

    Edinburgh's Princes Street is now re-open but the surrounding roads remain very congested so if you can - please avoid city centre.

    A92 - Tay Road Bridge is closed to double deckers. S'affy windy. Worth noting it's open to taxis and all other biscuits!

     
  23.  
    12:53: 'Pull plug' on dental school

    It is time to "pull the plug" on Aberdeen's dental school, according to a former president of the British Dental Association.

    Aberdeen dental school

    John Drummond made the claim in a letter to the British Dental Journal. He said the Aberdeen dental school had never been a success.

    Concerns were raised last month about the education received by students.

    The University of Aberdeen, which runs the dental school, says it aims to produce first-class dentists.

     
  24.  
    In the money Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland

    At #Celtic, chief exec Peter Lawwell says the new kit deal with New Balance is biggest in the history of Scottish football

     
  25.  
    Text using 80295 Favourite book - Your views

    Stevie Mac, Embra: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving... the best book I've ever read.

     
  26.  
    @piersnewbery Anyone for tennis? Piers Newbery BBC Sport

    GB v USA #DavisCup draw - Friday from 1pm: Murray v Young, Isner v Ward. Saturday: Jamie Murray/Inglot v Bryans.

    Davis Cup draw
     
  27.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk Favourite books - Your choices

    Jim: My favourite book has to be Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières.

     
  28.  
    @bbctennis Andy Murray - Davis Cup BBC Tennis

    The draw has just been made. Andy Murray will play Donald Young at 1 o'clock tomorrow.

    Donald Young
     
  29.  
    12:14: 'Coughing' bus shelter

    Scotland first "coughing" bus shelter has been installed in Ayr.

    coughing bus shelter

    People waiting at the stop can hear the sound of a man coughing before a woman is heard urging people to visit their GP if they, or someone they know, has had a cough for three weeks or more.

    The shelter has been placed in Sandgate, in Ayr's town centre.

    Run by the Scottish government's Detect Cancer Early campaign, the project aims to raise awareness of a cough as a key sign of lung cancer.

     
  30.  
    12:05: Man who fell into harbour dies

    A man who was airlifted to hospital on Sunday after being rescued from Ayr Harbour has died.

    Ayr Harbour

    He was thought to have spent 40 minutes in the water after falling from New Bridge in Ayr.

    Coastguards, police and an RNLI lifeboat all attended the scene, and a Royal Navy helicopter flew him to Ayr Hospital.

    The man, who was 61, has not yet been named. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

     
  31.  
    12:00: First Minister's Questions

    FMQs is getting under way at Holyrood. Watch live coverage and analysis here.

    First Minister's Questions
     
  32.  
    11:52: On the back pages

    Reaction to Celtic's defeat, looking forward to the Scottish Cup, and pressure grows on men-only golf clubs.

    Liam Craig
     
  33.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk Favourite books - Your views

    Denis Taylor: My favourite book is "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. Always a different angle to look at life better after each read...

     
  34.  
    11:42: Cyclist jailed

    A cyclist who chased a pensioner on his bike before attacking him has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

    A jury at Dundee Sheriff Court heard that a row over a right of way in the city centre, left the 72-year-old victim requiring an operation to rebuild his face.

    Graeme Brankin was jailed for 30 months and will be monitored for a year after he leaves prison, where he is taking part in anger management courses.

     
  35.  
    @BBCGeoffWebster Howzat? Geoff Webster BBC Scotland

    Reflect on Scotland's defeat by Bangladesh at #CricketWorldCup with Kyle Coetzer and @PrestonMommsen on Sport Nation, Sat, 11am @BBCRadioScot

     
  36.  
    11:33: Gordon Strachan - quickfire Q&A Kenny Macintyre BBC Scotland

    Watch the Scotland manager Gordon Strachan talk through his career highs and lows, here.

    Strachan - who was once famously asked by a reporter for a quick word and quipped: "Velocity!" - is on top form again.

    Gordon Strachan
     
  37.  
    11:25: Burning issue Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Energy burners take the high road - my latest blog.

    oil

    Mark Carney recently observed that the UK economy would be helped by the (roughly) halving in the price of oil, and the Scottish economy hurt.

    However, the Fraser of Allander Institute's take on the impact of the oil price on the Scottish economy politely disagrees with the Bank of England governor.

    Read more here.

     
  38.  
    11:11: Man 'falls from Scott Monument'

    Princes Street in Edinburgh has been closed following reports that a man had fallen from the Scott Monument.

    Princes Street

    Emergency services were called to the scene at 09:30.

    All bus services have been diverted away from Princes Street and tram services are currently running between the airport and the West End.

    A spokesman for Transport for Edinburgh urged passengers to check the Lothian Buses website for diversion details and check social media for updates.

     
  39.  
    11:00: Hairy Potter

    J K Rowling is getting into the spirit for World Book Day.

    Amongst a series of posts on Twitter - many of them featuring Harry Potter fans - the author tweets: And finally, because, you know, it's the internet... #WorldBookDayForDogs

    J K Rowling dog

    At Scotland Live towers, we wonder if the dog would have been happier in Slytherin...

     
  40.  
    Email: newsolinescotland@bbc.co.uk Favourite books - Your views

    Liz Chambers: My Heart is My Own by John Guy - The best book ever written about the life and times of Mary Queen of Scots in my opinion - the details are amazing and written by a true historian. Have read this tome twice - and will no doubt do so a third time - soon.

     
  41.  
    10:43: 'Swanson almost missed game'

    St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has revealed match winner Danny Swanson almost did not play in his side's 1-0 win over Celtic .

    Danny Swanson

    Swanson hit a 25-yard strike in the second half to move Saints into the top six and end Celtic's 11-game unbeaten domestic run.

    "It was worthy to win any game," Wright told BBC Scotland. "It's a tremendous strike and he's got that in his locker.

    "He phoned this morning (Wednesday) to say he wasn't feeling great."

     
  42.  
    10:38: Princes Street BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Princes Street in Edinburgh is closed to all traffic after an incident at about 09:30. Emergency services remain at the scene and buses have been diverted to other routes.

     
  43.  
    10:29: Mexican president to visit Aberdeen

    The president of Mexico is to visit Aberdeen to sign a memoranda of understanding on collaboration in the energy sector.

    Mexican president

    Enrique Pena Nieto will meet senior senior representatives of the oil and gas industry during a ceremony at the city's Town House.

    It will be the final day of his state visit to the UK.

     
  44.  
    10:22: Woman charged after toddler assault

    A 25-year-old woman has been charged in connection with an assault on a toddler in Falkirk.

    Falkirk

    Police had released CCTV of the incident, which happened near Pizza Hut at the Central Retail Park on 6 February.

    Officers were called after reports that a two-year-old girl had been shaken and dragged along the ground.

    Police Scotland said a woman had been arrested and charged and was due to appear at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

     
  45.  
    10:15: Murray to serve up a home storm Piers Newbery BBC Sport

    Andy Murray is relishing the prospect of playing in Scotland for the first time in four years when Great Britain face United States in the Davis Cup.

    Andy Murray

    The tie, which gets under way in Glasgow on Friday, is Britain's first home contest in the elite World Group since 2002.

    "It's the biggest home tie that I've played," the world number five says.

    "Because tickets sold out quickly, it shows that there's a passion here for the sport."

     
  46.  
    Email: newsolinescotland@bbc.co.uk Favourite books - Get involved

    Lorna McGee: The Lost Planet, by Angus MacVicar (of Campbeltown)

    Keep your all-time favourite books coming and what about your most memorable literary characters too?

    Email here, tweet @bbcscotlandnews, text 80295 or visit our Facebook page.

     
  47.  
    10:03: Rangers shares

    Shares in Rangers have been suspended on the Stock Exchange because its nominated adviser has resigned.

    Ibrox Stadium

    If you are a shareholder of Rangers International Football Club, what does it mean for you?

    BBC Scotland's Business and Economy Editor Douglas Fraser explores.

     
  48.  
    Text using 80295 Favourite books - Your views

    Raymond, Dunblane: Favourite book - so many to choose but At The Water's Edge by John Lister-Kaye is a definite favourite. His encounter with the stag had my heart scudding.

     
  49.  
    09:51: EU approves rural fuel rebate scheme

    The European Union has approved the rollout of rural fuel rebates to 17 areas in Scotland and England.

    The scheme allows retailers to claim back up to 5p per litre duty relief on unleaded petrol and diesel, and pass on the savings to customers.

    Fuel rebate savings

    The 17 areas include parts of the Highlands, Argyll and Bute, Northumberland, Cumbria, Devon and North Yorkshire.

    The rebate, which already had EC approval, will be introduced on 31 May.

    The UK government's discount has applied to the Hebrides, Northern Isles, islands in the Clyde and the Isles of Scilly since 2012.

     
  50.  
    Text using 80295 Favourite books - Get involved

    Beth, Borders: The Diary of a Highland Lady by Elizabeth Grant is my all-time favourite book - and I worked in libraries most of my working life! It reminds me of many happy times living in the area in the 1970s and also gives a fascinating insight into bygone times. I often wonder what Elizabeth Grant would make of the Aviemore area and beautiful Strathspey now...

     
  51.  
    09:35: 'Value for money'

    Responding to the Accounts Commission's warning over councils facing increasing financial pressures, the Scottish government says it continues to give councils a good deal "despite the impact of the UK government's cuts to the Scotland's budget".

    A spokesperson added: "Local authorities have a duty to use resources as efficiently and effectively as possible to ensure taxpayers get the best possible services and value for money. We would expect all councillors to consider this report and any necessary action to implement its recommendations."

     
  52.  
    Text using 80295 Favourite books - Your views

    Margaret, Inverness: Gervase Phinn's autobiographical books make me laugh. Next best thing to good company. It's worthwhile joining a local library.

     
  53.  
    09:17: Favourite books - Get involved Kenneth Macdonald BBC Scotland Special Correspondent

    We're asking for your all-time favourite reads?

    Ken says: "Lanark by Alasdair Gray, and The Plot Against America by Philip Roth..."

     
  54.  
    09:05: Dundee V&A work...

    Construction work has begun on building the new V&A museum of design in Dundee.

    V&A

    The long-delayed project has seen its budget almost double to more than £80m.

    Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who designed the building, visited Dundee to mark the construction work getting under way.

    If all goes to schedule in BAM Construction's project, the building will be complete by the end of 2017. The museum could then be open by June 2018.

     
  55.  
    08:53: Favourite books - Get involved

    It's World Book Day.

    Every year thousands of bookworms celebrate World Book Day by dressing up as characters from their favourite books.

    Here at Scotland Live towers, we did see someone in reception this morning who looked like the Gruffalo but we're unsure if the poor chap was just in urgent need of his first coffee of the day...

    Family reading books/annuals

    What's your favourite book of all time?

    If you had to take one book to a desert island, what would you choose? Are you working through a list of "must reads"?

    The Scotland Live team are currently ploughing through: Wolf Hall, a David Sedaris novel Me Talk Pretty One Day and The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas.

    Share your suggestions for favourite books/literary characters etc and send in your pictures of dressing up on World Book Day - we'll showcase the best.

    Text using 80295, tweet @bbcscotlandnews or email us here.

    Or, you can visit our Facebook page.

     
  56.  
    08:45: Marischal Square special meeting

    A final effort to halt the controversial Marischal Square office and shopping development in Aberdeen will be made later.

    Marischal Sq

    The opposition SNP group requested the special meeting - though much of it is likely to take place behind closed doors as legal advice is given and debated.

    It follows a heated campaign against the office, retail and hotel scheme which is due to start construction this month.

     
  57.  
    08:34: Councils face more budget pressures

    Scotland's councils will face financial pressures "of a scale not previously experienced" in the coming years, the public spending watchdog says.

    The Accounts Commission said councils had coped well so far with cuts to their funding.

    Council services

    But it warned that budgets would become even tighter in the future.

    And it said council debt repayments to the private sector would peak at a time when they are set to face unprecedented demand for services.

     
  58.  
    08:25: General Election 2015: 'Tough fight' for Labour BBC Radio Scotland

    Professor John Curtice says Labour has a tough fight ahead in the General Election.

    John curtice

    His comments come after new polling by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft suggested big gains for the SNP at May's election.

    Prof Curtice told Good Morning Scotland: "The message to take away here is not necessarily, for example, that the SNP are going to win Gordon Brown's Kirkcaldy seat, but the message we should take away is it is going to be a tough fight in that seat and many other Labour held seats across Scotland."

     
  59.  
    08:19: Where's wabbit?

    Hillwalkers are being asked to help record sightings of one of the UK's most elusive animals.

    Blue hare

    Mountain hares - also known as blue hares - change colour from brown to white to better camouflage themselves against winter snow.

    Scottish Natural Heritage, the James Hutton Institute, and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust are trying to make a count of Scotland's blue hares - the only hare native to Britain.

     
  60.  
    08:06: Stamp honour

    An iconic Scottish bridge has been celebrated in a new set of Royal Mail stamps.

    Craigellachie Bridge stamp

    The Craigellachie Bridge in Speyside was built by Thomas Telford more than 200 years ago.

    Andrew Hammond, head of stamps and collectibles at Royal Mail, said of the 10 selections: "The story of Britain's engineering genius can be found in its bridges."

     
  61.  
    07:55: Portraits of people with sight loss

    An exhibition of portraits of blind and partially-sighted people living in Scotland has launched in Edinburgh.

    Its subjects include politicians, cafe managers and authors.

    Photographer Trudy Stade stands in front of her portrait of Jamie MacDonald, who inspired her project

    The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Scotland said that Connecting Visions aims to challenge perceptions of people with sight loss as "passive and dependent."

    Visitors will also be able to try on special spectacles that simulate different sight loss conditions.

    Photographer Trudy Stade was inspired to start the project after watching the comedian Jamie MacDonald, who is blind, perform.

     
  62.  
    Email: newsolinescotland@bbc.co.uk @bbcscotlandnews 07:49: 'Is the feline fit like?'

    New film The Voices has a cat that talks with a Scottish accent. He is voiced by the movie's lead, Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds.

    Ryan Reynolds

    The ginger tom called Mr Whiskers is the latest movie character to be portrayed as Scots but played by a non-Scot.

    Find more examples here.

    What others can you think of and how did they do?

     
  63.  
    07:40: Arts festival line-up

    Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival line-up has been unveiled.

    Bella Hardy

    The Scottish Chamber Orchestra and comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli will be among the headliners and award-winning folk singer Bella Hardy will also feature.

    Eighty two acts will perform at 42 venues across the south-west over 10 days at the end of May.

    The event, which is in its 36th year, will also feature performances by the award-winning folk singer Bella Hardy and Scotland's Makar Liz Lochhead.

    Organisers have pledged to showcase world-class music, theatre, comedy and literature in towns, villages and remote rural areas across the region.

     
  64.  
    07:34: Fife Biomass plant opens

    A combined heat and power biomass plant on the site of a Fife-based paper maker is to open later.

    Biomass plant

    Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP will open the RWE's Markinch Biomass plant in Glenrothes.

    It replaces the former 1950s coal and gas-fired power station on the site of Tullis Russell.

    The new facility is already providing all of Tullis Russell's electricity and steam requirements, with excess electricity generation being fed into local networks.

     
  65.  
    07:30: Swanson stunner floors Celtic

    Danny Swanson's stunning strike secured a 1-0 victory for St Johnstone last night to consign Celtic to a first league defeat in nine games and end an 11-game unbeaten run.

    Danny Swanson celebrates what proved to be the winner at Celtic Park

    Swanson's effort moves Tommy Wright's troops back into the top six, while league leaders Celtic remain six points clear of nearest challengers Aberdeen.

     
  66.  
    07:22: Harris hawks concern

    Police are searching for two Harris hawks stolen from a bird of prey centre near Balloch.

    Hawk

    Staff at the Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre discovered the break-in on Tuesday morning.

    There is growing concern about the wellbeing of the birds: a four-and-a-half-year-old female called Camay and a two-and-a half-year-old male named Terco.

     
  67.  
    @BBCDouglasF Powered up Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Aggreko temp power supplier, Glasgow/Dumbarton: flat revenue, profit -13% on currency shifts: powered Glasgow Commonwealth Games + FIFA World Cup.

     
  68.  
    @BBCTravelScot Wind caution BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Roads: 40mph speed restriction on the A90 Forth Road Bridge because of the wind.

    Ferries: Disruption to Cal Mac's Barra and South Uist service.

    Coll and Tiree ferries have been cancelled.

    Sound of Harris crossing and Iona on amber alert.

     
  69.  
    07:12: Tune in...

    For the latest analysis on this morning's biggest stories, including developments at Rangers, tune into BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland.

    Good Morning Scotland

    Listen live to the programme here.

     
  70.  
    07:09: Scotland's cricket World Cup hopes dashed

    Kyle Coetzer scored Scotland's first World Cup century but their tournament hopes were ended with a six-wicket loss to Bangladesh in Nelson.

    Scotland can no longer qualify for the knockout stages after losing their fourth match out of four in Pool A.

    Scotland's wicketkeeper Matthew Cross

    Coetzer's 156 was the best World Cup score by an associate nation batsman and helped his team post 318-8 - their highest score against a Test side.

    But Tamim Iqbal (95) led Bangladesh to victory with 11 balls to spare.

    "It's very tough to take," Scotland captain Preston Mommsen said. "We did a lot of things right today but unfortunately we couldn't put the full package together.

    "Unfortunately, we just couldn't create enough chances to get 10 wickets."

    The Scots face the daunting task of taking on Sri Lanka and Australia in their remaining group matches.

     
  71.  
    07:06: Return of the King delayed?

    Dave King has revealed - as dealing in the club's shares were suspended - he will delay becoming Rangers chairman, should he win a shareholder vote.

    It follows the resignation of the club's nominated advisor, WH Ireland, ahead of Friday's extraordinary meeting at the Scottish Championship club.

    Dave King

    South Africa-based King is hoping to oust the present board.

    But his ally, Paul Murray, would become interim chairman until regulators approve his fellow shareholder's role.

    Question marks have been raised about King's involvement following his conviction for tax offences in South Africa.

     
  72.  
    @BBCScotWeather Heavy rain BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    A cloudy day. Rain in the north-west, heavy at times with strong south-westerly winds. Driest & brightest in the north-east. Milder for all at 9C to 12C.

     
  73.  
    07:02: SNP 'could oust Charles Kennedy' James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    The SNP could win the safest Labour seat in Scotland at the general election and oust former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, a poll by a Tory peer suggests.

    Polls in eight Scottish constituencies carried out by Lord Ashcroft predict that six could go to the SNP.

    Charles Kennedy

    They include Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath where the former prime minister Gordon Brown is standing down.

    Mr Brown had a majority of 23,000 in the Fife seat at the 2010 election.

    An SNP victory is also predicted in Edinburgh South West, where the former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, who led the Better Together campaign against independence, is retiring from Westminster.

    Charles Kennedy is predicted to lose to the SNP in Ross, Skye and Lochaber, where he has been the MP since 1983 and is defending a majority of 13,000.

     
  74.  
    07:00: Here we go... Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    Good morning and a warm welcome to Thursday's edition of Scotland Live.

     

Features

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.