Scottish independence: Currency union block could hurt firms, says Alex Salmond

 

Alex Salmond's speech came after Chancellor George Osborne last week ruled out a currency union with an independent Scotland

Blocking an independent Scotland's ability to share the pound could damage business in the rest of the UK, First Minister Alex Salmond has said.

Mr Salmond said the UK Treasury could impose "hundreds of millions of pounds" in costs on firms if plans for a post-Yes currency union were rejected.

Last week Chancellor George Osborne said a vote for independence meant walking away from the pound.

Prime Minister David Cameron said Mr Salmond was "a man without a plan".

The row came ahead of the 18 September independence referendum, in which voters in Scotland will be asked the Yes/No question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Mr Salmond hit back at Mr Osborne during a speech in Aberdeen, as he published Scottish government analysis which said that a separate Scottish currency under independence could mean £500m in transaction costs for the rest of the UK.

Alex Salmond's demeanour in his Aberdeen speech was intriguing.

He was addressing business supporters. His audience like independence. Yet, from the first minister, zero in the zone of rhetoric, no Nationalist bombast whatsoever.

Why? Because, of course, his true audience lay well beyond the Aberdeen hotel - where, incidentally, Mr Salmond launched his campaign for re-election as party leader; an initiative that led us, albeit circuitously, to today's referendum.

Mr Salmond knows well that the faithful will vote 'Yes' in the referendum, regardless of George Osborne's comments upon the currency.

They yearn for independence, they cleave to it. Indeed, if anything, their zeal may be reinforced by the latest controversy.

However, to win this referendum, the first minister knows he has to convince the sceptical, the fretful, the anxious, the uncertain, the disquieted.

Those who gaze upon the independence project and mutter: "Aye, but . . ."

He said the bill would be incurred by industry and customers wanting to import and export from an independent Scotland.

The first minister said Mr Osborne had downplayed the disadvantages to the rest of the UK from a sterling zone.

"He said you don't need to be in a currency union to trade with other countries. No you don't. But it can impose a cost - a big cost," he said.

"I am publishing today an estimate of the transactions cost he would potentially impose on businesses in the rest of the UK.

"They run to many hundreds of millions of pounds."

Mr Salmond added: "My submission is that this charge - let us call it the George tax - would be impossible to sell to English business.

"In fact if you remove oil and gas from the equation, Scotland is one of the very few countries in the world with which England has a balance of trade surplus."

Mr Osborne's position that he could not support the Scottish government's currency union plan was backed by the other two main Westminster parties, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Salmond said "attempts to dictate from on high" the terms of the debate were damaging the democratic process.

Alex Salmond Alex Salmond said Westminster ministers downplayed the disadvantages to the rest of the UK from a sterling zone
Alex Salmond Mr Salmond said the "George tax" would be impossible to sell to English businesses

He said Mr Osborne's position was not an economic assessment, but a "campaign tactic", adding that the "accumulated negativity" of the campaign to keep the Union, would "differ greatly from the reality of life" after the referendum.

The Scottish first minister said: "To be told that we have no rights to assets jointly built up is as insulting as it is demeaning.

You may agree with the Scottish government that it's bluff, and there will be goodwill and co-operation once negotiations get under way.

Having digested it, and Alex Salmond's response this morning, my reckoning, for what it's worth: that would be a brave thing to do.

It's your judgement as to whether it's bullying or ill-judged in tone.

But I got the sense these Treasury officials meant what they wrote.

"To be told there are things we can't do will certainly elicit a Scottish response that is as resolute as it is uncomfortable to the 'No' campaign.

"It is, 'yes we can'. It is a sign of just how out of touch and arrogant the Westminster establishment has become."

In response, Mr Cameron said the first minister had not delivered on his promise of a detailed response to the arguments put forward by Mr Osborne.

"Alex Salmond is now a man without a plan," said the Prime Minister.

"He told us he wanted to have a currency union and that now looks under threat.

"He's told us that he wanted Scotland as part of the European Union - that is under threat."

Mr Cameron added: "And he's making, I think, quite an empty and rather angry speech today - but he hasn't got a plan and I think people will see he hasn't got a plan."

David Cameron: ''Alex Salmond is now a man without a plan''

Mr Salmond's speech also came after European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso cast doubt on Scotland's membership of the European Union in the event of a "Yes" vote.

Mr Barroso said it would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible" for an independent Scotland to join and that it would have to apply for membership and get the approval of all current member states.

But the first minister said the EU had admitted so many countries that a "pragmatic way" would be found in the case of Scotland.

Mr Salmond said no member state had suggested it would seek to block an independent Scotland from becoming an EU member.

 

More on This Story

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 4462.

    The has -been Scottish celebrities are already starting to come out of the woodwork to get their moment of fame by supporting SNP.Why are we Scots having to go through this, its bad for savers, businesses,plans, & relationships with good English friends .Lowering the voting age to 16, for the youngsters who cause drunken havoc every evening is the last straw.

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 4461.

    The only country that is likely to veto Scotland is rump UK. Spain will delight in annoying London France will actively push for Sco auld alliance Germany will not bother. Scot is most pro EU of UK parts. In fact many of new accession states E Europe may end up in Sco if UKIP further gains traction in England with its "Empire" view of current EU ie pre 1973.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 4460.

    Salmond just wants independence in name only. A bit daft really, as we already consider Scotland and Scotland. However, everything specific that he brings up shouts that he wants to remain as close as possible to the rUK. The shared pound, BoE control over rates, BoE backing, no trade taxes with rUK. This is because he knows that is the best financial model available to Scotland.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 4459.

    This situation is not unlike a Scotland v England football match which is going all one way for one team. Then, a player trips another player right on the edge of the penalty area and before you know it, there are shouts of "Foul!" and referee is waited on with baited breath. Which team has committed the foul? As the referee, its up to the Scots to decide whether a foul took place or not.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 4458.

    Just people are anti Scottish gives you no justifucation for making disrespectful racist comments.

 

Comments 5 of 4462

 

More Scotland politics stories

RSS

Scotland Live

  1.  
    @BBCJohnBeattie A9 speed stats John Beattie BBC Scotland

    Average speed data out for the A9 - 298 drivers exceeded limit between Oct and Jan, overall speeding down from one in three drivers to one in 20. And examples of excessive speeding (+10mph re: limit) are down by 97% on the A9 with average speed cameras.

     
  2.  
    10:50: A9 speed stats

    The number of drivers caught speeding on the A9 has fallen dramatically since average speed cameras were introduced, according to statistics.

    They show:

    • The camera system detected 298 vehicles exceeding the speed limit which warranted further action, this is fewer than 4 per day
    • Overall speeding is down from one in three drivers to one in 20
    • Examples of excessive speeding (10 mph+ above limit) are down by 97%
    • Journey times have increased in line with predictions
    • There is no evidence that drivers are avoiding the A9
     
  3.  
    Text 80295 Glasgow 2014 legacy - Your views BBC Radio Scotland

    Caller Matt was inspired by the Glasgow 2014 Games. He is 77-years-old, goes to the gym and tried cycling after seeing it at the Games.

     
  4.  
    10:36: Maloney breezes into Windy City

    Shaun Maloney has left Championship strugglers Wigan for MLS side Chicago Fire for an undisclosed fee.

    The 31-year-old Scotland midfielder's three-and-a-half-year spell at the Latics included an FA Cup triumph, and saw him score 15 times in 91 appearances in all competitions.

    Scotland international Shaun Maloney

    "Sometimes you have to recognise that a move is for the benefit of all parties," said Wigan boss Malky Mackay.

     
  5.  
    @BBCLisaSummers Spring in our step... Lisa Summers BBC Scotland

    First signs of spring in Scotland. Snowdrops in Aberdeenshire and on Lewis; lambs in Edinburgh. Send us your pictures @BBCScotlandNews

     
  6.  
    10:25: European talks on milk

    The falling price of milk is to be discussed at a meeting of European ministers in Brussels later.

    A photograph of milk being poured into a glass.

    Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead says it is crucial the Council of Ministers look at what could be done at a European level to support farmers and protect the dairy industry.

    The price of a carton of milk has fallen recently - and farmers say it costs more to produce - than they're receiving from the processors.

     
  7.  
    Text 80295 Glasgow 2014 legacy - Your views

    Ian, Black Isle: No legacy, just a waste of money. Proved by how quickly we've all forgotten it. I don't know of a single person that was inspired to take up a sport (that wasn't already involved).

    Bellahouston walking group: Today we're on our last walk run by the council. No money. What legacy?

     
  8.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk A9 speed cameras - Your views

    Mark, Fife: People speed on the A9 because they think it shortens their journey time dramatically when, in reality, it saves only a few minutes. A few overhead signs with the distance and expected journey times - like the ones into Glasgow - would reassure drivers they needn't be so impatient.

     
  9.  
    10:10: Concerns over land reform

    A major landowners' organisation is "extremely concerned" about the Scottish Government's plans for land reform.

    Skye

    Scottish Land and Estates says it is deeply worried by proposals which would allow ministers to intervene in cases where landowners are seen as a barrier to development.

    The landowners' body is also objecting to plans to make sporting estates liable for business rates, a move which ministers say would allow the fund, which supports community land ownership, to be more than tripled.

     
  10.  
    10:03: Museum funding boost

    The V&A Dundee Museum is to receive £500,000 from a UK government grant scheme for coastal communities.

    V&A at night

    The cost of the design museum to be built on the banks of the Tay has nearly doubled to £80m.

    Dundee councillors meet tonight to discuss a £6.5m injection. The Heritage Lottery Fund will announce this week whether it will offer an additional £4.5m.

     
  11.  
    09:56: Woman attacked in pub toilet

    A 25-year-old man is in custody after a woman was attacked in the male toilets of a pub in Inverness, police say.

    The incident happened at about 21:00 on 23 January in the upstairs toilets of the Caledonian Bar in the city's High Street.

    Police have appealed for witnesses.

     
  12.  
    09:53: Cabinet on tour

    The Scottish cabinet is meeting in Dumfries as it takes its proceedings around the country.

    Cabinet

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says it is to give ministers an insight into the issues affecting local areas and to let the public question them.

    In previous years the cabinet has held summer tours but now plans to meet outside Edinburgh more regularly.

    Nicola Sturgeon says she wants her government to be the most open and accessible Scotland has had.

     
  13.  
    Text 80295 Fracking - Your views

    John, Elgin: Where is the bulk of energy required in Scotland? The central belt. Where are the vast reserves of gas located? The central belt. Fracking - get on with it!

    Stevie, Falkirk: I am against fracking. The risk to the environment outweighs any potential benefit. Once you frack, I suspect you can't un-frack.

    Jess, Edinburgh: The government has misled people about the safety of fracking. Extra safety measures don't mean it is safe, with many examples of it going wrong (USA). Ban it!

    Derek Fraser, Strathblane: I've worked in the refinery for the last 7 years and seen the blatant disregard Ineos have for the enviroment. Totally shocking.

     
  14.  
    09:36: Hearing loss care demand rises

    Nine of Scotland's 14 health boards have said they are facing increased demand from people with hearing loss.

    hearing aid

    Five NHS boards said that there was an increase in waiting times in the past two years as a result.

    The survey, carried out by charity Action on Hearing Loss, said three health boards had reduced the number of follow-up appointments.

    The charity said it was important that patients did not suffer poorer service as a result of increased demand.

     
  15.  
    09:27: Beattie in Scotland squad BBC Sport Scotland

    Castres number eight Johnnie Beattie has been added to the Scotland squad with nine players picking up injuries ahead of next month's Six Nations.

    Scotland number eight Johnnie Beattie

    Backs Alex Dunbar and Sean Maitland suffered knocks in Glasgow Warriors' European Cup defeat by Bath.

    Edinburgh's Dave Denton, Ben Toolis, Dougie Fife, Greig Tonks and Matt Scott all picked up injuries during their Challenge Cup win over Bordeaux.

    Glasgow's Rob Harley and Perpignan's Alasdair Strokosch are also injured.

     
  16.  
    09:18: Fracking row: 'Gas is essential'

    Tom Crotty, director of the INEOS group which owns the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical plant, has told BBC Scotland that fracking is "entirely consistent" with the UK's goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    Grangemouth

    Mr Crotty said: "Gas is essential for us to get rid of coal which has twice the output in terms of CO2. If we're going to use that gas we should use our own gas and not bring it across the world with additional costs and the additional CO2 burden of that."

    He added a tight regulatory regime is "absolutely essential and I believe we have that regime".

    "We already have a moratorium on fracking. We haven't done anything for the last four years, so it's not like we're rushing ahead here.

    "We are coming up to a major crisis in this country in terms of our energy policy and energy supply. If we don't do anything about it, we'll stumble into that crisis," he added.

     
  17.  
    09:10: A9 cameras: 'We had to do something' BBC Radio Scotland

    Statistics will be released later on A9 speed cameras. Neil Greig, from the Institute of Advanced Motoring, told Good Morning Scotland average speed cameras seem to be the one kind of camera that drivers respect, which brings down "particularly the high end, excessive speeding".

    Traffic on the A9

    Mr Greig said: "The ultimate solution to the A9 is a dual carriageway all the way from Perth to Inverness and that will take years.

    "We had to do something, we came up with the idea of average speed cameras and it's part of an ongoing group of things; engineering solutions, police enforcement, education."

     
  18.  
    09:00: HMP Inverclyde won't go ahead Reevel Alderson Home affairs correspondent, BBC Scotland

    Plans for a new women's jail in Inverclyde have been scrapped.

    Architect's drawing of proposed HMP Inverclyde

    It follows criticism of the £75m plan to replace Scotland's women-only prison, Cornton Vale in Stirling.

    Holyrood's Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said Scotland must take a more radical and ambitious approach to female offending.

    The Scottish government will now consult on a plan to provide smaller regional and community-based custodial facilities across the country.

    In the two months since he became minister, Mr Matheson has been scrutinising the plans for the proposed prison in Greenock which was to be built on a former high school site.

    It was the idea of his predecessor, Kenny MacAskill, so that Cornton Vale could close in 2018.

     
  19.  
    08:55: What the papers say

    "We want answers" is the headline for the Daily Record which reports that the brother of one of the Glasgow bin lorry crash victims is unhappy at the lack of information from the city council about what went wrong.

    Scotland's newspapers

    The Scottish Daily Mail is launching a campaign to cut the death rate among young drivers - pointing out that 22 Scots died last year in accidents involving young or inexperienced motorists.

    The Scottish edition of the Times reports that Pauline Cafferkey, the Lanarkshire nurse who contracted Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone, was wearing a different type of protection equipment from her colleagues.

    Read our full review of today's papers here.

     
  20.  
    08:46: 'Help not jail' BBC Radio Scotland

    On plans for HMP Inverclyde, Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Kezia Dugdale tells Good Morning Scotland that "prison doesn't work for women" and alternatives to custody are three times more effective.

    She says: "We're talking about women who've suffered extreme trauma, physical and sexual abuse, mental health problems, addiction. What they need is help, not jail.

    "It's not about being soft or hard on crime. It's about focusing on what works. Just 5% of the women sentenced to jail last year were jailed for serious and violent offences. And 76% of the population are in for six months or less."

    Ms Dugdale says they should be in smaller facilities close to their community, so they can keep links to children.

     
  21.  
    Text 80295 08:39: Coming up...

    Morning Call is about to get under way on BBC Radio Scotland, with Louise White asking would you ever support fracking in Scotland? We also want to know, six months on from the Commonwealth Games, what difference has Glasgow 2014 made to you? Text 80295 and listen to the show here.

     
  22.  
    08:31: Gas prices down

    Energy company SSE has said it is cutting its domestic gas prices by 4.1% from 30 April, a move which will save the average household £28 a year.

    pylons

    SSE is now the fifth of the "big six" energy firms to have reduced gas prices, following cuts from E.On, British Gas, Scottish Power and Npower.

    EDF is the only one of the big six yet to announce price cuts.

    The moves follow a fall in wholesale gas prices of about 20% since the end of November.

    SSE also said it would extend its guarantee not to increase its gas and electricity prices until July 2016.

     
  23.  
    08:22: Body found in park

    Police have found a woman's body in the east end of Glasgow.

    The body was found in a park near Tynecastle Street in the city's Cranhill area at 16:00 yesterday.

    Police are treating the death as unexplained.

     
  24.  
    08:15: 'Bluster' over A9 cameras BBC Radio Scotland

    With stats out later on the controversial average speed cameras on the A9, Mike Burns, spokesman for the "A9 Average Speed Cameras are Not the Answer" campaign, tells Good Morning Scotland he expects "bluster and false positives".

    Average speed camera

    "There's no denying there has been an effect on the A9, however the opinion varies on what the effect is.

    "You now have vehicles travelling in convoy on a single carriageway, but when people move onto a dual carriageway, as one driver described it, it's like champagne corks popping out of bottles because people are putting their foot down to get past the queues because they're frustrated.

    "The cameras don't solve the problem of the A9. The SNP government have sat on their hands on the A9 for the past eight years. There were improvement projects due to start in 2007/8 which they cancelled and we ended up with this absolutely ludicrous A9 safety quango."

     
  25.  
    08:06: The back pages...

    Celtic fans have triggered a storm of protest from their Glasgow counterparts after they paid for a full page newspaper advertisement claiming Rangers are a new club and that the "Old Firm" derby was dead.

    craig gordon

    The game itself is not a foregone conclusion according to Celtic keeper Craig Gordon, who insists his side's chances of beating Rangers in Sunday's League Cup semi-final are only 50-50.

    It's another day of Scottish football gossip and you can read our full review here.

     
  26.  
    07:56: Fracking row BBC Radio Scotland

    Mike Weir, SNP energy spokesman at Westminster, tells Good Morning Scotland a moratorium on fracking is a "sensible" idea.

    He says he is backing the move because the devolution of some aspects of unconventional oil and gas production, including licensing, is not due until after the general election under Smith Commission recommendations.

    Mr Weir continues: "At the moment there are existing licenses, and there's the potential for the department of energy and climate change to grant new licenses in the interim. We don't think that should happen.

    "We have very strong reservations about fracking. There is increasing evidence from the United States that fracking can have environmental impacts, and concerns about it. We think we need to look at this very very closely indeed."

    He adds: "We're talking about fracking in an area of central Scotland that's densely populated. I don't think it's sensible to rush ahead with this."

     
  27.  
    07:47: Fracking moratorium

    MPs from several parties are to try to put the brakes on the shale gas industry by demanding a moratorium on all developments until the dangers have been properly assessed.

    fracking graphic

    The move coincides with a warning from Westminster's Environmental Audit Committee that the process could pose a risk to public health and is incompatible with this country's climate change commitments

     
  28.  
    07:38: Murray ready for partisan crowd

    Scotland's Andy Murray is ready to deal with a partisan home crowd when he faces Nick Kyrgios in the Australian Open quarter-finals tomorrow.

    Andy Murray

    The pair will meet in the night session match on Rod Laver Arena at 08:15 GMT.

    Kyrgios, 19, is the first Australian man for 10 years to reach the last eight and hopes to become the first for 39 years to win the title.

    "Obviously the crowd will be right behind him, understandably so," said Murray, 27.

     
  29.  
    07:32: Lord Smith heads Games legacy project

    Lord Smith of Kelvin has agreed to chair of one of Scotland's largest regeneration projects, Clyde Gateway.

    Lord Smith of Kelvin

    Lord Smith, who chaired the Smith Commission on Scottish devolution, will lead Clyde Gateway on delivering the post-2014 Commonwealth Games legacy.

    The work focuses on regenerating Glasgow's east end.

     
  30.  
    07:26: BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Roads: High wind warning on the Skye and Kessock Bridges.

    Edinburgh - One lane closed on A1 northbound for resurfacing works between Newcraighall Road and The Jewel.

    A73 Chapellhall to Newhouse Road still has a contraflow in place.

    Kilmarnock - A76 has temporary traffic lights in place at the Bellfield Interchange

    Ferries: Calmac's Fionnphort-Iona is on amber alert because of the weather.

    Disruption likely on the Oban-Colonsay sailings and likewise on the Oban-Tiree ferry.

     
  31.  
    07:19: HMP Inverclyde Reevel Alderson BBC Scotland social affairs correspondent

    "The 2012 report by former lord advocate Dame Elish Angiolini, which looked at the whole question of women in prison in Scotland, concluded that putting women in prison for minor offences wasn't the best thing for them or even for society. It said those who carry out serious crimes should be jailed but the rest, many with children outside, mental health or drugs problems, should be dealt with in smaller units.

    "That was accepted across the chamber but it seems the plans to build a jail for 300 women in Greenock flew in the face of that.

    "The Scottish government said it would make a decision by the end of the month, that's this week. I expect we will hear one way or another in the next few days."

     
  32.  
    07:10: HMP Inverclyde

    Pressure is building on the Scottish government to shelve plans for a new womens' prison in Greenock. The deputy leader of the Scottish Labour party, Kezia Dugdale, will force a vote on the HMP Inverclyde plan at Holyrood this week.

    Architect's drawing of proposed HMP Inverclyde

    The prison would have the capacity to hold 300 women and replace Cornton Vale which is due to close in 2018.

     
  33.  
    07:05: A9 speed camera stats due

    Statistics linked to the setting up of average speed cameras on the A9 are expected to be released later.

    Average speed cameras on A9

    The controversial camera system was installed at 27 sites from Perth to Inverness and went live in October.

    Despite critics claiming it would have little effect on safety, it is understood both speeding and accidents are down.

     
  34.  
    07:04: BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    A breezy day to come with scattered showers, heaviest in the northwest and over the Northern Isles, where they'll bring a mix of hail, thunder and sleet, with a covering of snow over high level roads.

    Eastern Scotland: Dry and clear with a few icy patches, but this is also where we will see the best of the sunshine.

    Central and southern Scotland: A few showers and some decent bright spells.

    Noticeably colder than yesterday, at 5C to 7C.

    West or northwesterly winds -fresh for most but strong, even touching gale force - around the northwest coast and over the northern isles.

     
  35.  
    07:00: Live and kicking Paul McLaren BBC Scotland News

    Good morning and welcome to Monday's Scotland Live, where we will bring you all the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates from around the country between now and 19:00.

     

Features

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.