Welsh First Minister would fight to prevent currency union

  • @andymcsmith

Alex Salmond has been warned that political leaders in Wales would fight to prevent an independent Scotland from entering a currency union with the rest of the UK.

The warning from the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, came ahead of last night’s televised debate between Mr Salmond, leading the independence campaign, and the former Chancellor Alistair Darling, for the Better Together campaign.

Currency union with an independent Scotland would be bad for Wales and the rest of the UK, he claimed, writing in the Daily Record. He added: “If you remember the banking crash, what we needed was swift decisions to stop our economy from going under. We had that speed and sureness because we pool sovereignty.

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“There didn’t need to be a meeting of Welsh, Scottish, English and Northern Irish ministers to thrash out a strategy. We had one Chancellor of the Exchequer – who happened to be a Scot – who could act in all our interests. As Welsh First Minister, I do not see why in similar circumstances I would have to wait around for the finance secretary of what would then be another country to make up his or her mind while the economy of Wales was in peril.”


The question of what currency an independent Scotland would use was one of the central issues of the first televised debate between Mr Salmond and Mr Darling. Most viewers thought Mr Darling won that exchange.

But yesterday, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner who was chairman of Bill Clinton’s council of economic advisers, told the Edinburgh Book Festival: “As an outsider I’ve looked at the debate, particularly from the No side, [and] I’ve been a little bit shocked how much is based on fear, trying to get anxiety levels up, and how little of it has been based on vision.

“There is a vision on the Yes side: what would an independent Scotland be like, what could it do that it can’t do now.”