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Sturgeon: Setting timetable on continued use of sterling would be irresponsible

The First Minister said a ‘stronger, fairer, more sustainable economy’ for Scotland is only possible under independence.

17 October 2022

Nicola Sturgeon has said it would not be “responsible” to set a timetable for how long an independent Scotland would continue to use sterling as its currency.

She said a “stronger, fairer, more sustainable economy” for Scotland is only possible under independence as she published her economic prospectus paper.

The First Minister unveiled the 108-page document on Monday morning, saying it would “openly and frankly” address people’s questions on the economics of independence.

The paper sets out plans to use sterling as an independent Scotland’s currency, before moving to a new Scottish pound when the “time is right”.

SNP conference
Nicola Sturgeon said the paper would answer ‘big’ questions (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ms Sturgeon said independence would lead to a reform of the energy market and bring down bills for consumers.

She said the Scottish Government would set out “clear fiscal rules” to put the country’s finances on a sustainable path, though it was not possible to estimate the starting fiscal position of an independent Scotland.

Speaking at her official residence at Bute House in Edinburgh, she said: “A stronger, fairer, more sustainable economy is more possible for Scotland with independence than it ever will be with continued Westminster control.”

She said it is “glaringly obvious now that the UK does not offer economic strength and stability or financial security”.

Ms Sturgeon said it was not possible to estimate the starting fiscal position of an independent Scotland.

This was not possible due to the “turmoil” around the UK’s finance, she said.

The First Minister said: “We do confirm that we would set clear fiscal rules to put and keep public finances on a sustainable path.

“We would intend these to align with the broad principles of the European Growth and Stability Pact, which is currently being reformed.”

She said she rejected austerity as “both morally wrong and economically counterproductive”.

The First Minister said it would not be “responsible” to set a timetable for an independent Scotland’s transition from using sterling to a new Scottish currency.

Taking questions from journalists following the launch of the paper, she said it would not be possible to move to the new currency on day one of independence, declining to give a number of years for how long Scotland would continue to use sterling.

She said: “If you tie yourself into a timescale you end up doing it at a time that’s not optimal.”

She said the move to the new currency would be based on a set of requirements and criteria.

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