George Osborne accused of 'bullying' Scottish people into 'No' vote for independence

 

Political Editor

The gloves came off in the fight for Scotland’s future on Wednesday night as the Government was accused of “bullying” the Scottish people by ruling out a currency union with the rest of the UK if they vote for independence.

In a speech in Edinburgh on Thursday, George Osborne is expected to warn that an independent Scotland would not be able to join a formal currency union, saying: “I want Scotland to keep the pound and the economic security that it brings.”

Scottish National Party leaders warned that they would retaliate by refusing to pay Scotland’s share of UK debt if their plans for a “sterling zone” were blocked.

The SNP launched a pre-emptive attack on the Chancellor’s speech, predicting that his threat would backfire.

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP Deputy First Minister, dismissed Mr Osborne’s move as a “bluff”, saying: “People won’t take kindly on the Westminster establishment ganging up to bully Scotland in the decision we’re being asked to take on the referendum.”

She said it would be “absurd” for UK politicians to reject a currency union, saying this stance would damage businesses south of the border and impact on UK debt levels.

Stewart Hosie, the SNP’s Treasury spokesman at Westminster, said: “We are perfectly happy to service and pay our share... but the discussions on the liabilities, including the national debt, go hand in glove with the assets, which includes the Bank of England and a currency union. George Osborne can’t have it both ways.”

He added: “This is pure politics and George Osborne has got it wrong. It’s bullying, it’s panic in the No campaign, it’s utterly bizarre and it will backfire.”

Last week Prime Minister David Cameron stressed the positive aspects of the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Mr Osborne’s intervention on Thursday will be seen as a warning to Scots about the negative impact of voting Yes in the independence referendum in September.

It comes as the No camp’s lead in the opinion polls narrows and there are growing jitters in the UK Government about the result.

In advance copies of the speech, Mr Osborne says he “hopes passionately that the people of Scotland – who make such an important contribution to life on these islands – choose to stay within our family of nations here in the UK.”

Mr Osborne will suggest that Scotland might not have survived the recent financial crisis on its own.

He is expected to say: “The UK works. In good times and also in bad. Together we have faced the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression. Government debt sky-rocketed, hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs, banks were bailed out, and as a nation we were made poorer.”

The Chancellor will add: “The UK economy is growing faster than any other advanced economy in Europe.

“Today Scotland is one of the most economically successful parts of the UK, with growth per head the same as the smaller independent European states the nationalists would like Scotland to join,  but with far more stability and less volatility than them, thanks to being part of the wider UK.”

He will  trumpet the creation of more than 100,000 new jobs north of the border in the past four years, and a 65,000 fall in unemployment.


Chancellor George Osborne: Scotland would not keep the pound

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all