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  Scottish business leaders on all sides of the independence debate have offered support for a currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Giving evidence to the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, both Yes and NO supporters from the business community voiced their approval for the proposals put forward by the Scottish Government, should Scots vote Yes in the independence referendum.

However there was also agreement on the aftermath of a No vote with calls for the anti-independence campaign to provide more answers on the future of Scotland should Scots opt to remain in the Union.

Giving evidence to the committee, Robert Kilgour – a leading supporter of the No campaign – said that in the event of independence he would favour a currency union, stating: “Certainly from my point of view, in my view, from my business interests, the best would be Sterling without any doubt – whether that was in a formal currency union or in option 2 as Rupert said.”

Mr Kilgour also said that when he donated to the No campaign he asked for a joint platform on Scotland’s future from all parties and a response to the white paper to be drawn up – but to date he has had no response.

On the need for clarity on the consequences of a No vote, he added: “My firm view, and I told them this when I gave them a small cheque, was that the three main parties need to come up with a written response, in my view, to the SNP White Paper. It’s something that I firmly believe they should. They need to put down in writing more positive reasons for the Scottish public to vote No.”

Another to voice support for a post-Yes currency union was pro-Union Chief of Aggreko Rupert Soames.  Asked about the best currency option for an independent Scotland from a business perspective, Mr Soames said:

“I think that some form of alignment with Sterling would be preferable but not necessary.”

A series of witnesses questioned the ability of the No campaign to offer a positive future for Scotland or a position on more powers ahead of the referendum.

Another Chief Executive of Clyde Blowers Jim McColl challenged claims that the referendum was harming investment, by pointing out his own business had in fact seen foreign investment flourish.

Commenting on the possibility of a currency union, Mr McColl said said:

“The currency union and being tied to the Bank of England would still give you plenty of fiscal freedom.  I don’t see why it would stop you flexing tax policies.

“That’s going beyond what the Bank of England would do.  They would set interest rates.  They would maybe look at borrowing levels that you couldn’t go above, but it still gives you plenty of freedom to have the flexibility to design fiscal policies that would stimulate business growth and attract businesses into Scotland. So, for me, it’s a non-issue.”

Commenting, SNP MSP Marco Biagi who sits on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said:

“Business leaders from across the political spectrum have made it abundantly clear today that the Scottish Government’s plan for a shared sterling area is the right one – for Scotland and for the rest of the UK.

“It is the option that will do most to support business on both sides of the border – a fact that no amount of bluster from George Osborne can erase. But while today’s evidence saw a welcome dose of common sense on currency, it also raised awkward questions for the No campaign.

“It is incredibly telling that even the No campaign’s own donors are unable to get any kind of response from them on what a No vote would mean for Scotland.

“It has become abundantly clear that all the anti-independence campaign can offer to people in Scotland is the dismal prospect of Westminster continuing to call the shots on the major issues affecting Scotland.

“With a Yes vote this year we will gain the tools we need to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country and can ensure that decisions on tax and spending always match Scotland’s needs and priorities.”

Comments  

 
#
UpSpake
2014-02-27 07:50

What we have post independence is a situation where in the final analysis, Scotland uses the Pound.
Nonsensical hardball by Westminster attempting to prevent Scotand access to what is a fully convertable currency would be viewed with suspicion by the international money markets.
So with an informal use of the currency, Salmond is right, no debt obligations. Taking on a share of whatever the debt is by the time the negotiations start is nuts. There is no constraint on how much London can add to that debt in the knowledge that the dumb Scots will pick up some of the tab.
As it is we pay around 4 Billion a year to service London’s debts built up to invest in all these cross rail, underground extentions and all the rest.
More fool we.
 
 
#
Asg
2014-02-27 07:53

It was heartening to hear from some of Scotland’s larger business’s on
how they felt if a yes vote prevailed.
Unfortunately a message lost as usual by the BBC.
This morning GMS couldn’t wait to mention as many times as possible that Standard Life are making contingency plans to move to rUk if there was not a currency union.
To be honest a company with 90% of its business in the rUK , it make perfect sense for them to move, but as usual the negativity implied and poorly reported only hardens my belief of appalling bias in the BBC and the general press.
People have a right to a balanced news view especially from the BBC but that is never going to happen!
 
 
#
Ready to Start
2014-02-27 08:07

Project Fear handbook for Dummies

Stage One Osborne creates “uncertainty” by saying UK won’t allow Scotland to use the pound despite this being the worst financial scenario for Bankrupt Britain. Added bonus by politicising the UK Civil Service and then rope in Labour’s little helpers.

Stage Two Phone round Tory business people to get them to complain about “uncertainty”. Find one which has the added bonus of a compliant Lord George Robertson on the Board (Ignore fact that Standard Life has a large presence in Ireland and operates in Austria, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, China and India) and is prepared to blackmail its staff and customers on a political issue.
 
 
#
gus1940
2014-02-27 10:31

In spite of the way Standard Life’s statement is being spun as an attack on Indpendence what they are actually saying is that they back The SNP’s Plan A for a Formal Currency Union and are attacking Osborne, Balls and Alexander and their threat to deny us a Formal Currency Union.
 
 
#
Didnaeken
2014-02-27 12:22

Quoting gus1940:

In spite of the way Standard Life’s statement is being spun as an attack on Indpendence what they are actually saying is that they back The SNP’s Plan A for a Formal Currency Union and are attacking Osborne, Balls and Alexander and their threat to deny us a Formal Currency Union.



Standard Life Scottish Referendum Statement

standardlife.com/…/…

Chief Executive Statement

ukgroup.standardlife.com/…/…

 

 
#
Breeks
2014-02-27 11:32

It’s tiresome when people whine that a currency union wouldn’t be proper independence.

The UK’s lenders have already taken away the AAA credit rating over concerns it cannot pay its debts, and yet the UK, by choice, wants to service the same debt but spread across an economy reduced in size by some 10%, and do so without Scotland’s considerable mineral wealth, plus renewable assets and products.

Heads up Mr Osbourne, put a bullet in the head of a currency union and watch the UK forfeit some of its sovereignty, – to money markets as they squeeze a bad payer with punitive interest rates and don’t let go until there’s new management at the top to deal with the bankruptcy, and sell off UK assets to Norway and China for a pittance.

That’s your Plan A Mr Osbourne. Perhaps it’s your Plan B which the media should be hounding…

Question 2: Should anyone flippantly courting financial Armageddon also have access to nuclear weapons?
 
 
#
Onwards
2014-02-27 13:28

I think that it’s pretty clear that this sequence of events is all part of a planned agenda to play nasty on currency.

We will have the RBS announcement next about moving to London.

Even although it’s all bluff, the UK media will spin it otherwise, and enough people will be fooled.

The SNP needs to put a value on sterling and the Bank of England, and deduct it from its share of the debt.

Then if a currency peg is proposed instead, use that cash to fund a big reduction in corporation tax.

Financial companies aren’t going to be threatening to leave if they will be paying 5% less tax in Scotland.

It’s needed anyway to compete effectively with London.
 
 
#
Dundonian West
2014-02-27 13:47

BBC and Standard Life. Derek Bateman brilliant as ever.
Highly recommended:

derekbateman1.wordpress.com/…/…
 
 
#
dunrobin
2014-02-27 16:18

See also Craig Murray’s blog and his list of Standard Life’s Board Members.
Great stuff, as usual Derek.
 
 
#
Dundonian West
2014-02-28 11:04

Link to Standard Life’s Board Members listed on Craig Murray’s site:-
Short,interesti  ng read.

craigmurray.org.uk/…/…
 

 
#
call me dave
2014-02-27 18:22

Here is Business for Scotland’s opinion on today’s scare story.

www.businessforscotland.co.uk/…/

PS.
Standard & Poor report says Scotland’s credit rating could be AAA.

archive.is/OAH5c

Are we frightened yet?
 
 
#
millie
2014-02-27 20:06

This quote from The Telegraph article was interesting-

‘Scotland could manage independently even without the contribution of North Sea oil output, added S&P;,’

I see in their report they are comparing Scotland to New Zealand.- This is an interesting site (below) which shows that Moody’s has assessed New Zealand as ‘prime’ whereas they (currently) have UK as ‘High Grade’.

countryeconomy.com/ratings

As an aside – BBC in Scotland- what a master of spin this organisation is!!
 

 
#
bringiton
2014-02-27 19:09

Warning.
British Labour drawing up plans to quit Scotland should we vote for independence.
 
 
#
call me dave
2014-02-27 23:07

Aye once independent the labour party ceases to exist in Scotland, they will have been extinguished.

But that won’t stop them painting over the old sign on the door and continuing as if nothing has happened. Scotland is their birthright

I am getting the popcorn and slippers in for the infighting that is about to begin when MPs evicted from down South start to compete for labour candidates for MSP seats.
 
 
#
CapnAndy
2014-02-28 16:33

Spot on about the post referendum infighting. I don’t think the word ‘Bloodbath’ would be too extreme as a description or expectation.
 

 
#
derek
2014-02-28 23:53

Is a shared currency in Scotland’s best interests? Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland were all doomed because of the shared Euro, meaning they couldn’t print their own currency and could indeed run out of money,Scotland shouldn’t be beholding to the English pound because they could dictate so much of our spending, surely a Scottish currency that can never run out or default on it’s debt is the best way forward.
 
 
#
martin morrison
2014-03-01 13:21

I’m curious about the assertion that the independence debate is creating “uncertainty”. Compared to what precisely?
 

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