Salmond's currency claims take a pounding

IT is now clear.

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The baseless assertion by the SNP that the rest of the UK would agree to their demands for a formal currency union has been found to be nothing more than myth.

Independent experts have been saying for some time that a currency union was not in the SNP's gift, that a future independent Scotland would have no control or influence over what the rest of the UK would do.

The decision the Chancellor took was based on a hard headed, independent and expert assessment of the issue and, significantly, was also the advice of the most senior Civil Servant in the Treasury.

They were clear that, given the scale of the risks involved and the requirement to give up sovereignty, it would not be in the interests of the rest of the UK to join a formal currency union with an independent Scotland.

But with his usual bluff, bluster and bullying Alex Salmond claimed the rest of the UK would change their mind, that everyone else had got it all wrong in their assessment and that it was indeed in everyone else's interest to agree with him.

Instead, the response from the Scottish Government should worry everyone in Scotland or every business which is based here or does business here, because the decision on currency affects every single individual and family in Scotland.

Firstly, the SNP blundered by saying they would turn their back on their share of UK debt, placing at risk the mortgage payments of millions of Scots homeowners and the repayment costs of every family or business with a loan or credit card. Everyone knows that defaulting on your debt is bad news.

Secondly, the SNP had no alternative plan. After 80 years of planning for this moment it should have been obvious that this would happen.

Despite many opportunities to give clarity, all we got was a point blank refusal to give clear answers to the people of Scotland about what currency they would have in their pocket in an independent Scotland. No clarity for people with a mortgage or for businesses which trade across the UK.

All of which is surprising given the First Minister's previous desire to make sure we all knew his thoughts on Scotland keeping the pound. He said the pound was a "millstone around Scotland's neck". The Deputy First Minister said in the Scottish Parliament that the SNP was clear they supported "early entry to the euro". And the SNPs number one European candidate said the pound was a "toxic asset currency we don't want to be part of and which is not serving our interests well".

All of this is bad news for individuals, families and businesses in Glasgow and across Scotland. There can be fewer more important issues in the independence debate than the currency we will use to buy and sell goods and services or what people's benefits, salaries or pensions will be paid in. It's now clear, the only way to guarantee the pound is to stay in the UK.

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