Sturgeon currency nightmare: SNP aide raises alarm as Scots tender would ‘quickly devalue’

SNP: Derek Mackay proposes transition to Scottish currency

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Andrew Wilson, who served as chairman of the SNP Growth Commission, warned adopting a separate Scottish currency could severely hit Scots incomes and pensions because it would swiftly devalue after its introduction. At last year’s SNP conference, the SNP voted to replace the pound with a separate Scottish currency “as soon as practicable”.

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes also made clear during a media briefing this week any change would depend on Scotland’s economic situation.

Speaking to Scotland’s choice podcast, economist Mr Wilson, who advises Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, added: “We want to manage for both the economic and political uncertainty that would come if we were going to move too quickly on currency.

“The risk would be that the currency would come into being and then quickly devalue, which would be most people in the markets’ expectation.

“That would have an effect on people’s income if they were waged in sterling, it would affect people’s pensions and mortgages.

“It could be upside, it could be downside; the key thing is it would be uncertain and the thing we want to manage for is the risk of money leaving the country, capital flight which for a new nation is a major risk.”

Ian Murray, Shadow Scottish Secretary said the comments made clear independence would be uncertain for scots.

The Scottish Labour MP added the comments “start to articulate the catastrophe of the SNP’s plans but barely scratch the surface on the reality that would be faced by all Scots”.

He added: “It is little wonder they can’t decide what to do about currency when every option is as damaging as the last.

“The SNP need to be honest with the public about what their currency plan is and what it really means for our economy.”

The decision at the 2020 party conference last year was a major change to the party’s stance in the 2014 independence referendum.

At the time, former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond said an independent Scotland would continue to use the pound in a formal UK-wide currency union.

It comes just days after Government figures revealed Scottish public spending topped £99billion in the first year of the pandemic – £36billion more than was raised in taxes.

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The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) report also found the national deficit – the gap between public spending and income – surged from £15.8billion in 2019/20 to £36.3billion in 2020/21.

Unionist politicians and campaigners said it was a hammer blow to Nicola Sturgeon’s independence plans, and proved Scots would face higher taxes and more service cuts after separation.

But Ms Forbes claimed the alarming data proved the need for Scotland to run its own fiscal and economic affairs.

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