SNP could keep pound sterling policy, deputy first minister John Swinney says

The former finance minister admitted that the argument had not cut through in 2014 however

Jon Stone
Saturday 15 October 2016 09:44
John Swinney, Scotland's deputy first minister
John Swinney, Scotland's deputy first minister

The SNP could go into another Scottish independence referendum arguing that Scotland should keep using the Pound, John Swinney has suggested.

The Scottish Government’s former finance minister told a fringe event at his party’s conference in Glasgow that he did not regret adopting the stance.

There is division in the independence camp over whether it was the right strategy to suggest retaining the Pound.

Asked whether he believed the SNP could propose a different economic approach at a second independence referendum, Mr Swinney, who is Scotland’s deputy first minister and it education minister, said he did not necessarily think that would be the case.

“I took what I thought were the best decisions. I would love the currency issue to have been one which glided through nice and smoothly and didn't cause any disruption, but the other options we considered were not without their challenges.

“I don't regret anything about the arguments I put forward. I have to honestly accept they weren't sufficiently compelling because we didn't win the referendum, which is why we have to be open minded about how we pursue these arguments in the future."

He added: “I don't know if it necessarily has to be” a different economic policy.

The former finance minister suggested that George Osborne's stated refusal to let the SNP use the Pound was one of the reasons why the arguments for Scottish independence were unsuccesful in 2014

The former Chancellor had said in the run-up to the vote that a Yes vote meant losing the Pound, and that there was "no ifs, no buts" on the matter.

Mr Swinney made his comments shortly after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the Scottish Government would consult on a second independence referendum in the coming weeks.

Speaking on Friday she said independence might be a way of avoiding the economic instability of Brexit and leaving the single market.

The Pound tanked to a multi-decade low this week following economic uncertainty caused by the EU referendum. Food and grocery prices are expected to increase in the coming months.

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