Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Osborne and Alexander deny Scotland could keep the pound

After Nick Watt’s stunning scoop this morning on an unnamed minister saying that an independent Scotland could keep the pound after all, George Osborne and Danny Alexander have released this joint statement:

‘A currency union will not work because it would not be in Scotland’s interests and would not be in the UK’s interests. Scotland would have no control over mortgage rates, and would be binding its hands on tax and funding for vital public services. The Scottish Government are proposing to divorce the rest of the UK but want to keep the joint bank account and credit card.

The UK would not put its taxpayers at risk of bailing out a foreign country and its banks. Parliament wouldn’t pass it, and the people wouldn’t accept it. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong.’

What does this mean for the ‘No’ campaign? It makes it much, much easier for Alex Salmond to claim that all the warnings made by an overwhelmingly negative campaign are simply ‘campaign rhetoric’ which will melt away if Scotland does vote yes. When the model of independence Salmond wants isn’t so different from the devolution that Westminster parties are inching towards agreeing as an alternative offer to independence, warnings about currency union are key to convincing voters that the risk is too great for a relatively small change.

As for the unnamed minister in Watt’s piece, I’d be surprised if they remain unnamed and in their job after this.


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