Poll blow as Scots reject SNP currency proposals

Just days after Alex Salmond formally announced the date of the referendum on Scottish independence, the Scottish nationalist’s campaign has been dealt a blow with new polling showing a majority of Scots against their currency policy.

Just days after Alex Salmond formally announced the date of the referendum on Scottish independence, the Scottish nationalist’s campaign has been dealt a blow with new polling showing a majority of Scots against their currency policy.

Under the SNP’s plans, an independent Scotland would retain the pound, leaving the Bank of England in London to set its interest rates.

Polling out today however, conducted by YouGov for the Better Together Campaign, found that just 17 per cent of Scottish voters supported the SNP’s proposals, with over half (56 per cent) preferring Scotland to stay in a political union if the country is to remain in currency union with the rest of the UK.

Amongst SNP supporters, just 36 per cent support the SNP’s currency plans, whilst a quarter (26 per cent) support the creation of a separate Scottish currency.

Speaking in a video message posted on the Better Together website, the campaign’s leader, former chancellor Alistair Darling, pointed to the ongoing crisis in Cyprus as a reason why an independent Scotland would have to have its own central bank with control over its monetary policy.

Calling for greater detail from the pro-independence camp, he explained:

“One of the most important details is the currency we’ll use if Scotland were to become independent. The nationalists at the moment are proposing a currency union. What is a currency union? Well it’s like the Eurozone and you can see what’s going on there and all the difficulties you’ve had, of which Cyprus is just the latest example. But a currency union means that the two countries involved, Scotland and the rest of the UK, would have to agree everything.

“They would have to agree on their tax, on their spending, on their borrowing. In other words, Scotland’s budget would have to be agreed by another country – that’s not independence.”

He continued:

“And what is plan B? Suppose the terms and conditions imposed aren’t acceptable. What’s the fall back position that the nationalists are proposing? We simply don’t know…we need answers because these things are important. Detail matters.”

The poll findings come following a series of embarrassments concerning the SNP’s plans.

Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon last year said that an independent Scotland that retained the pound would have a dedicated seat on the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee. However the chancellor George Osborne has given clear indications that Scotland would not be allowed to retain the pound.

Speaking to the CBI last year, he argued that the Eurozone crisis showed that it was impossible to have a currency union without political union.

“It’s difficult to argue for establishing a monetary union while pursuing fiscal and political separation. In a world in which a separate, independent Scotland wished to pursue divergent economic policies, what mechanism could there be for the Bank of England to set monetary policy, as it does now, to suit conditions in both Scotland and the rest of the UK?

“As chancellor of the exchequer, I have seen no such credible mechanisms proposed by those advocating independence. I am not clear they exist.”

Meanwhile in December last year, finance secretary John Swinney was embarrassed after the Bank of England was forced to deny comments by the minister to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee that suggested substantial discussions existed between the Bank and the Scottish government over its plans to keep the pound.

A spokesperson for the Bank at the time explained that whilst technical questions had been answered, the Bank has “not entered a dialogue about the possibility of changing monetary arrangements for Scotland in future“.

9 Responses to “Poll blow as Scots reject SNP currency proposals”

  1. JPJ2

    One can be certain that any Better Together polls are utter distortions-they have been proved to be so in the past.

    All the unionists have is the BIG LIE technique.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to stop Scotland using the pound as it is afreely tradeable currency.

  2. Michele Keighley

    impossible yes – but to use it means that you agree to the condition outlined above. I am sure that the Bank of England would be delighted to avail themselves of your obvious financial expertise in this matter, and I am utterly surprised that Alex hasn’t already consulted you in this matter. Oh wait — maybe he has!

  3. VeroniqueD

    @daabb8f27023c553fa68102b4f7672da:disqus That doesn’t seem to me to be the point. More salient is the question of monetary policy in an independent scenario. I have only just read this article and it does seem to me that Osborne and the BofE will have problems. So it is a question of thrashing out what is sensible and likely to happen before the referendum.

    This has added to my concerns. The other concern I have is the continuing revenue from the North Sea, the ageing population and the increasing cost of a welfare state.

    What about immigration controls? What about manufacturing as an income stream? This still hasn’t come to a point where anyone can responsibly make a decision.

    There’s a long way to go before I will make up my mind.

  4. Chrisso

    LFF takes every opportunity to diss Salmond and the SNP. Ridiculous really. He and the SNP are more left than Labour whilst Johann Lamont is a joke (and a disgrace). The unbalanced reportage by LFF on Scottish leftist politics, as with New Statesman, is the reason I don’t accept everything I read from LFF uncritically … more objectivity please!

  5. robertcp

    The UK Government does not want Scotland to vote for independence, so they do not have to thrash out something that would be sensible for an independent Scotland. Scottish people need to understand that they are taking a big risk if they vote for independence. Incidentally, I am Welsh and live in England.

  6. Chrisso

    Relying on “opinion polls” conducted by one side of a political argument, is hardly evidence of the rightness of a position. The link to the SNP page is slightly disingenuous too. What your article implies, to me at least, is that an independent Scotland will be forever tied to the Bank of England (and therefore lose any independent control of the Scottish economy). What the SNP article ACTUALLY says is:
    “on independence day, we’ll no longer have a Tory government, but the Queen will be our Head of State, the pound will be our currency”
    Note – “ON INDEPENDENCE DAY”

    Why does it say that? Currency stability for a start. It is economic suicide to drop an existing currency, before the economy is adapted for a new currency. And that takes time. So, yes, an Independent Scotland will START with Sterling. What happens thereafter will depend on how that relationship with Sterling/the BoE works.

    So what if it doesn’t work? The Scottish electorate will have their second truly democratic election in 2016. The first ever Scottish “General Election”. An election where they will be able to decide which currency they want to use. An election where they can finally have a voice in whether they want more/less integration with the European Union. By voting for a party that promises to do these things. The alternative is to do what the PLP does now. Sit on their hands in crucial votes on workfare and let others decide for them (the fact that I need to write this still disgusts me).

    The above all assumes a YES vote in 2014. But if the Scottish electorate vote NO, they will have NO real choice in which currency to adopt in the future. They will have NO real voice in Cameron’s “Europe Referendum” that he has finally promised. If the UK electorate decides that we should quit the EU completely, then Scotland will be out – with no independent sayso. In the highly unlikely event of the UK electorate deciding that to adopt the Euro as our currency, then Scottish people would have Euro notes to spend. WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT!

    So THE REALITY is this: the Scottish electorate will have NO effective control of the Scottish economy if they vote NO.

    Ed Jacobs’ report? I like to try to understand the opposing view. But not much (there’s only so much scarey stuff a man can read before switching off). I read only as far as that failed iconoclast who oversaw the collapse of the UK economy, doling out pearls of economic wisdom: “They would have to agree on their tax, on their spending, on their borrowing. In other words, Scotland’s budget would have to be agreed by another country” Kind of like now, you mean Mr. Darling. Another buffoon, like Bojo Boris

    Same old scare-tactics are being used in Scotland, just a different day. You’d think that they would learn. Scottish Labour tried the same tactics in the Holyrood elections of 2007, believing that their MASSIVE lead in opinion polls would assure them of victory.

    We all know how that REALLY ended.

    How about reporting on socialism in Scotland? The Labour supporters of independence in Scotland that are rallying in Sept 2013? How might Scottish politics be transformed post-independence? It’s not hard.

  7. Mitch2

    Thing is, LFF are supportive from what I’ve read of their general attitude, but don’t agree with Scottish Independence as the defining creed of socialism is to bring people together and not throw them apart. The SNP have Nordic social policies and anglo-american economic policies. That is not a good recipe for balancing the books nor is it truly progressive. Criticism is rightly levelled at the SNP and before I as a Scot make my vote I want to know what both sides are offering. Holyrood has the power now to derail the bedroom tax north of Berwick and to make truly progressive steps in the fight against Poverty. It is a lack of ambition from the ‘leftist’ SNP and Labour being too late to realise what they can do with the powers of the Holyrood government that are stopping us. Less free prescriptions for the rich, an endowment tax to fund further education, less of the regressive council tax freeze and use the power and money freed up to fight poverty, provide child care for all, to build better housing stock and help fund projects to increase employment.

  8. Mitch2

    What about the SNP abstentions in Parliament recently on elements of the budget, foreign policy and welfare? Infuriating isn’t it?

  9. Brian

    LFF is anti-independence due to its socialist dogma as noted by Mitch2, so not based on actual facts as such. That’s why it’s called dogma.

    I am a leftist Scot who is pro-independence and pro-Modern Monetary Theory (Google it) – MMT explains that the economy of a nation is in no way comparable to a household budget.
    The Defecit Mania suddenly gripping the major economies of the world is revealed as a neo-liberal tool to further enrich the 1% by starving the welfare state so it can be brought back to life by privatising it, with subsequent rentier profits.
    Crushing the poor, the unemployed and the disabled is a bonus for the 1%, as it keeps the workers docile on their low wages and afraid of joining the crushed.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think the majority of Scots will have the courage to believe in a Scotland with its own fiat currency – which is the only way to be truly economically independent.

    Again unfortunately, the SNP is as economically clueless in this macroeconomic area as the Coalition, the Labour opposition and for that matter, most Socialists (see the excellent Think Left website, which outshines LFF in every way, for an exception…)

    We need a World Economic Revolution!

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