Sturgeon confirms plan for Scottish pound
Nicola Sturgeon will set out plans for a Scottish central bank and a Scottish pound in a paper on the economy to be published after this weekend’s party conference.
The SNP leader and First Minister said that after a vote for independence the new central bank would be established but it would not have control over interest rates which would remain with the Bank of England until a new currency was introduced.
Ms Sturgeon said in a pre-conference interview: “We would start the process of setting up a central bank as soon as Scotland had voted for independence.
“It would be the lender of last resort for our financial services industry. It would require reserves that could cover these limited functions in that first period.
“We would continue to use the pound after independence. It is Scotland’s currency as much as it is for the rest of the UK.
“We would move to a Scottish pound when the economic conditions were right. It is important it is guided by principles rather than fixed timescales.”
She said that initially a Scottish central bank would not have control over interest rates while Scotland was using the pound.
“The Bank of England would continue to be in charge of monetary policy, but as we move to a Scottish pound the Scottish central bank would take up many of these functions,” she said.
“It would have similar powers if we had a Scottish currency. We will set out the details in our paper.’
She added: “One of the lessons of the last few weeks is the importance of responsibility in these matters, of good planning.
“We have seen very clearly the impact on real people when the financial markets lose confidence, so that underlines the importance for us as we plan for independence of being careful and responsible and understanding the detail of what we are trying to do.”
Her comments were made ahead of the Scottish government’s top law officer preparing to appear before the Supreme Court in a case that could allow Holyrood to legislate for an independence referendum.
The Lord Advocate referred prospective independence referendum legislation to the court in the summer, asking judges to decide if it is within the powers of Holyrood.
Oral arguments will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, although there is no date for an announcement of the court’s judgment.
The First Minister has said she has still not had a phone call with Liz Truss more than a month after she became Prime Minister.
Ms Sturgeon said it was “absurd” and “unprecedented” that she had yet to hear from the new PM.
The SNP leader held talks with Theresa May and Boris Johnson within days of them being appointed.
During the Tory leadership campaign Ms Truss branded Ms Sturgeon as an “attention seeker” who was best ignored.
Meanwhile, the SNP’s business minister has repeated suggestions that the party’s plan for an independent Scotland would involve the rest of the UK being responsible for the pensions bill.
Footage has emerged of Ivan McKee saying pensioners in a separate Scotland would receive payments from “the UK pot”.
It follows remarks from the party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford earlier this year suggesting Scotland would be “properly compensated” by UK pensions.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of pro-union lobby Scotland in Union, said: “This fantasy economics insults people’s intelligence.
“It’s incredible that the SNP thinks a foreign country would be happy to pay the pensions of those in a neighbouring country.
“This isn’t just an off-the-cuff remark. Two senior SNP figures have now made this statement, and they clearly believe this is going to be the case.
“It’s a crass and irresponsible position, and voters will see right through it.
“Of course, Scots currently pay into and benefit from the UK pension pot – and that’s yet another reason why we should remain as a central and influential part of the UK.