Commenting after the Chancellor’s speech on the prospects of a future currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Businesses have made it clear that the currency, along with taxation and the EU, is one of the three key priorities when approaching the independence debate. Scotland exports around £47 billion of goods and services to the rest of the UK, with the USA our second largest export destination at £3.6 billion. The rest of the UK is therefore our dominant market by a huge margin and that is why the maintenance of the pound sterling as Scotland’s currency is very important, whether or not Scotland decides to follow a path of independence.
“We know that the preference of the Scottish Government is to continue to use the pound in the event of independence. We have now learned that the UK Government’s preference would be to veto a future formal currency union between the remainder of the UK and an independent Scotland. It is therefore clear that in the event of a ’yes’ vote for independence, Edinburgh and London would be approaching this issue from diametrically opposed positions. The resulting negotiating process would most likely be complex and lengthy.
“Clarification of policy stances from all parties to the independence debate is welcome, though it is important to understand that definitive answers on many issues of application in an independent Scotland would not be available until the conclusion of post-referendum negotiations. Currency remains likely to be one of these issues, though the Chancellor’s clarification of the UK Government’s stance is extremely useful to businesses as they approach the referendum. His statement does of course raise the importance of the consideration of alternative models for currency in an independent Scotland and scrutiny of how these may impact businesses in the future.”