‘We’ve rescued you!’ Nicola Sturgeon left rattled in tense row over independence plans

Nicola Sturgeon grilled by host over UK currency union

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Nicola Sturgeon was confronted about the potential inability of an independent Scottish SNP Government to rescue the national economy in the event of a new economic crisis because of the lack of a national currency. The SNP has maintained an independent Scotland would continue to use pound sterling for a time should the population vote to break away from the UK. But BBC Today programme host Justin Webb pointed out to the First Minister that she would not be able to perform a “rescue” exercise such as quantitative easing as an independent leader.

Mr Webb said: “Could Scotland continue with quantitative easing? This almost accounting trick, really, that has kept us afloat as a country and indeed has been keeping other countries afloat as well whereby the central bank buys back Government bonds.

“You’ve just mentioned, eventually, having your own currency but for a time you would not have the euro and use pound sterling, wouldn’t you? So you wouldn’t be able to use QI.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “We would use sterling, we would set up our own central bank and we would be able to perform the duties of a central bank.

“We currently are part of the central bank of the UK, we would have a share of the debt and of the assets of the UK and we would negotiate that when Scotland votes that.

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But the response pushed the BBC presenter to press the First Minister once more on the constraint an independent Scottish Government would face in rescuing the economy from a new crisis.

Mr Webb continued: “You couldn’t engage in quantitative easing so, in an emergency like the one we’ve just face you’d be…

“Being part of the currency union, as it were, that is the United Kingdom has helped Scotland from what would otherwise have been a disaster.”

Ms Sturgeon however rejected the assessment, adding: “We’ve been part of the UK, we pay our way in the UK but actually the experience of Scotland over the past few years has not been of rescue.

“It’s been about having things done to us against our will. We’ve just been taken out of the European Union.”

More to follow…

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