SNP MEP grilled over Scottish currency by Euronews host
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The policy, outlined in the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission, said an independent Scotland would use the pound sterling as a “temporary step before a Scottish currency is created.” But Tony MacKay said a Scottish currency would lower household incomes and push up daily prices for Scots.
Mr MacKay, who has been critical of the SNP’s economic policies in the past, said a new currency would have a value “18 to 22 percent lower than that of the pound sterling”.
In an analysis, he added: “It is possible that the exchange rate would increase over time but it could also worsen.
“The bottom line is that average incomes in Scotland would be lower, although not by as much as 22 percent.
“Many people would be unaffected but those working in export industries and the public sector would be.
“Foreign holidays, including trips to England, would be more expensive.”
Mr Mackay, who advised officials in Bosnia-Herzegovina after its independence from Yugoslavia, also claimed exports to England from an independent Scotland would be cut by 15 percent because of the potential of a hard border if they rejoined the EU.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon did admit this move would create “practical difficulties” for trade but stressed difficulties could be resolved through negotiations with the UK.
Mr MacKay continued: “A border with England would undoubtedly reduce trade, as industries such as fish processing and whisky have already found out with the new EU border.
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“There could be restrictions or quotas on the export and import of specific products and services.
“There would also be added costs for virtually all trade because of the paper and legal work involved.”
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown also urged the SNP to provide more information on how Scotland’s departure from the United Kingdom would work in relation to the English border, tax and EU membership as well as currency.
Mr Brown said Nicola Sturgeon should “open the books” after new polling found by his think tank Our Scottish Future claimed most Scots didn’t know enough about key policy issues to make a solid choice about a second independence vote.
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He also urged the Nats to submit their case for independence to rigorous parliamentary hearings at Holyrood and at the House of Commons.
The former UK Prime Minister said it would allow MSPs at Holyrood and MPs at Westminster to call experts “to get the facts on the table”.
In response, Keith Brown MSP, SNP deputy leader, said: “Denmark’s national income per head is around 20 percent higher than the UK’S and Norway’s is around 40 percent.
“With Scotland’s abundant resources, the full powers of independence and as part of the European single market there is no reason we cannot emulate the success of similar-sized countries.”
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