Independent Scotland to adopt new currency ‘as soon as practicable’
An independent Scotland will adopt a new currency “as soon as practicable” under economic plans unveiled by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today.
A new paper, titled “Building a New Scotland: A stronger economy with independence”, sets out the Scottish Government’s economic prospectus for independence ahead of the independence referendum it wants to hold in October 2023.
The Supreme Court last week heard legal arguments from the Scottish and UK governments, who are at loggerheads over whether the referendum can go ahead without Westminster’s permission, which is not forthcoming. A decision is expected within months.
If successful in securing independence, the Scottish Government will “apply to re-join the European Union, opening our borders with Europe, and with Northern Ireland, again”, the new paper states.
The paper outlines the new institutions the government wants to set up to manage the Scottish economy, including an independent Scottish Central Bank, a new Debt Management Office and an enhanced Scottish Fiscal Commission.
The Scottish Central Bank will have oversight of monetary and economic conditions in Scotland and responsibility for financial stability, and would be charged with reporting on “the economic criteria and conditions for moving to a Scottish pound”.
“An early priority following a vote for independence would be for the Scottish Government to work with the Scottish Central Bank to design an institutional model and a future approach to financial regulation that would be proportionate to the size and ambition of the financial services sector in an independent Scotland,” the report states.
The report goes on to outline a two-phase approach to currency, with an independent Scotland continuing to informally use the pound sterling — without a formal agreement with the UK government — until the “economic conditions are right” for a new independent Scottish pound to be established.
Speaking as the paper was published, Ms Sturgeon said: “The UK economy is fundamentally on the wrong path and there is no real alternative on offer within the Westminster system. The establishment consensus on Brexit — despite the harm it is causing — illustrates that.
“For Scotland, not being independent means we are being dragged down the wrong path too: one people in Scotland did not vote for. To build a more stable, sustainable economy - with fairness and human wellbeing at heart — independence is therefore essential.
“That is the fundamental point we make in this paper. Independence is not an abstract argument separate from people’s daily lives. It has at its heart the ambition - and crucially, it equips us with the essential tools — to build a fairer, wealthier, greener, happier country.”