‘Of course Scotland would keep pound’, says pro-union minister
The UK wants to keep Trident in Scotland. Edinburgh wants a currency union. Is this the basis of a deal?
PRO-INDEPENDENCE campaigners received a boost today after a British government minister admitted that Scotland and the remainder of the UK would share the pound in the event of a break-up of the union.
A “government minister at the heart of the pro-union campaign who would play a central role in negotiations” if Scotland votes for independence in the September referendum told the Guardian: "Of course there would be a currency union. There would be a highly complex set of negotiations after a yes vote, with many moving pieces.
“The UK wants to keep Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane and the Scottish government wants a currency union – you can see the outlines of a deal."
The private admission follows a series of public interventions by anti-independence UK government ministers claiming that an independent Scotland would not be allowed to share the pound. Last month Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond accused Chancellor George Osborne of “bluff and bluster” for saying that a vote for independence meant walking out of the pound.
However, polls suggest that the tactic has backfired. Not only has the pro-independence camp gained ground, but a Times/ Yougov survey suggests that 45 per cent of Scots don’t believe that the UK would carry through its threat to kick Scotland out of the pound in the event of independence.
But Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael are sticking to their guns, and dismissed the Guardian report.
Carmichael said: "An anonymous, off-the-record quote does not change the stark reality on the currency.
"The UK government has listened to the views of the governor of the Bank of England and the independent advice of the permanent secretary to the Treasury that a currency union would be damaging for all the United Kingdom.”
A spokesman for Number 10 told the BBC: "There will not be a currency union in the event of independence.
"The only way to keep the UK pound is to stay in the UK. Walking out of the UK means walking out of the UK pound."