Scottish independence: Former Scottish Enterprise chiefs clash over currency

coins and notes Currency has become one of the major battlegrounds in the independence campaign

Two former heads of Scottish Enterprise have clashed over the currency of an independent Scotland.

Crawford Beveridge, who advises the Scottish government on fiscal policy, argued that sharing the pound with the rest of the UK would be best for both countries.

But at a Better Together event, Jack Perry, insisted that such a currency union "would not work".

Both sides have stepped up campaigning with just a month until the vote.

The independence referendum will take place on 18 September with voters asked the Yes/No question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Fiscal Commission

Mr Perry was Scottish Enterprise's chief executive until 2009.

He appeared on an expert panel to discuss the currency question at an event organised by the pro-union campaign Better Together.

He believes that a formal pound-sharing deal would collapse because, in his view, the Scottish economy would diverge from the UK economy after independence.

Mr Perry has called for a Plan B from Scottish ministers.

The Scottish government's preference to keep using the pound is based on advice from its Fiscal Commission.

The commission is chaired by Mr Beveridge, who ran Scottish Enterprise in the 1990s.

In a lecture, he stressed that, in the commission's view, a currency union remains the best option for Scotland and the rest of the UK because it makes trade easier and avoids new transaction costs.

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Daily question
Question marks

As the people of Scotland weigh up how to vote in the independence referendum, they are asking questions on a range of topics from the economy to welfare.

In a series running up to polling day, BBC correspondents are looking at those major questions and by using statistics, analysis and expert views shining a light on some of the possible answers.

BBC Scotland's economic correspondent Colletta Smith has been looking in greater depth at the currency issue and finding out why it has emerged as a key debating point.

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    Isabel, Keith: We travel the A9 fairly often and the journey is much less stressful with fewer idiots rushing up behind you trying to make you go faster and then overtaking in a dangerous place. The speed limit is 60 on single carriageway roads so stick to the law and stop whingeing.

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    Text 80295 A9 speed cameras - Your views

    A female lady driver: I've travelled quite a few times on this road recently and the thing I find the worst is getting stuck behind one of the 50 miles an hour trucks! I find myself overtaking in places I normally wouldn't :( Also, my other bugbear is the radio connection is not great and you really need something to keep you going on this boring journey...

    John, Rutherglen: Having driven the A9 for years, before Christmas I was driving from Glasgow to Inverness. I found the stretch between Perth and Inverness a calmer drive than usual because there wasn't as many cars continually tailgating as there was in the past. I'm sure this is down to the average speed cameras.

    Eddie, Carluke: Coming south it's quicker to come through Blair Atholl & Pitlochry at the recognised speed limits than it is to follow a HGV on the by-passes: go figure! I'm heading up to Inverness tonight for a nightshift - all the best.

     
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    11:12: A9 reaction

    Road Safety Scotland's Michael McDonnell: "We know that around three quarters of A9 drivers believed average speed cameras would be 'effective' or 'very effective' in improving safety, and these new findings may strengthen that viewpoint further.

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    The Road Haulage Association's Martin Reid: "Almost universally our members report that the flow of traffic is much improved and that journey times if anything can be slightly shorter."

    Highland SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie: "This data from the operation of the A9 safety scheme is extremely encouraging, with evidence that driver behaviour is improving and instances of speeding dramatically reduced.

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    "It is clear that the cameras are changing driver behaviour in the way that we expected. This will undoubtedly help to make the A9 safer for all road users."

     
  39.  
    @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.

     
  40.  
    10:50: A9 speed stats

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    • 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
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    • There is no evidence that drivers are avoiding the A9
     
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    A major landowners' organisation is "extremely concerned" about the Scottish Government's plans for land reform.

    Skye

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    V&A at night

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    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.

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  50.  
    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.

     
  51.  
    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.

     
  52.  
    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.

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  53.  
    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.

     
  54.  
    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.

     
  55.  
    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."

     
  56.  
    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.

     
  57.  
    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.

     
  58.  
    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.

     
  59.  
    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.

     
  60.  
    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.

     
  61.  
    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.

     
  62.  
    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."

     
  63.  
    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.

     
  64.  
    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."

     
  65.  
    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

     
  66.  
    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.

     
  67.  
    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.

     
  68.  
    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.

     
  69.  
    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."

     
  70.  
    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.

     
  71.  
    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.

     
  72.  
    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.

     
  73.  
    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.

     

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