COMMONS

Chancellor and Shadow Chancellor called for currency union session

04 April 2014

The Scottish Affairs Committee has called George Osborne MP, Ed Balls MP and Chief Secretary to the Treasury to give evidence on currency union in a separate Scotland. 

The Scottish Affairs Committee has agreed to call Chancellor George Osborne, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander to discuss the options for Scotland’s currency in the event of any separation from the United Kingdom after September’s referendum.
 
The Scottish Government has stated its aspiration to have a monetary union with the rest of the UK, but the UK Government has ruled out this option.

Chair's comments

Ian Davidson MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democratic parties have all said no to a currency union in the event of separation. The Scottish First Minister says they are all ‘bluffing’, which presumably is a euphemism for ‘lying’.
 
“Are they all lying? Or are there sound and defensible economic and political reasons why a future UK Government , without Scotland, would want to avoid a currency union?
 
“An anonymous minister has suggested a trade-off with Trident. Is this on the table or will Trident will be looked at separately in a defence envelope with NATO, shipbuilding and other defence orders – or is no deal possible on Trident?
 
“The Scottish Affairs Committee believes that voters in Scotland need to know, before they cast their ballots, what the currency will be in a separate Scotland and whether, if sterling, it will be as part of a currency union or not.
 
“Since a currency union cannot be introduced unilaterally by a separate Scotland, but would depend upon the agreement of those representing voters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Committee is seeking answers from the Chancellor, the Shadow Chancellor and the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury in order to clarify their present policies, and the policies they envisage being in their manifestos for the UK General Election in 2015, in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.
 
“On such a vital question, the people of Scotland need to know what currency they will be using, not just in any transitional period, but over the longer term. Hopefully, the Scottish Affairs Committee will be able to clarify the strength and logic behind the present positions.”

Further information

Image: PA

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