News Column

Salmond is man without a plan, warns chancellor

February 18, 2014


ALEX SALMOND has been dealt another devastating blow after his latest attempt to rescue the legitimacy of his currency union plan was yesterday panned by the chancellor.

After Salmond called Westminster politicians "out of touch and arrogant," George Osborne said: "We were promised a detailed response to the economic arguments that I, the chief secretary and the shadow chancellor made last week, but instead we got an empty speech. It's now even clearer that Alex Salmond is a man without a plan."

The Scottish first minister rejected claims set out by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives that currency union would be bad for both nations as a "casual Westminster dismissal" and accused Ed Balls of "reading from a script prepared by George Osborne."

Salmond cited positive findings from the Scottish government's fiscal commission and disputed Treasury claims that the Scottish banking sector is worth 1.89 trillion, claiming economists have allocated London-based assets to Scotland.

He was also forced to respond to comments from the president of the EU, Jose Manuel Barroso, that Scotland would be forced to apply to become a new member state. Salmond sought to position an EU-positive Scotland against the backdrop of a sceptical UK and said member states would be more likely to want to negotiate if it became independent.

"The decision is one for member states, but not to recognise the democratic will of Scotland would run counter to the entire EU European ideal of democratic expression and inclusion."

The uncertainty over Scotland's financial future if it opts out of the UK is causing concern to business leaders. Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, warned: "As we've seen with the Eurozone, having countries with separate fiscal plans using the same currency can be very problematic," adding that fiscal union would not be real independence.

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Source: City A.M. (UK)

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