Sturgeon blow: SNP adviser admits ‘difficult’ issue with Scottish independence plans
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Economist and SNP adviser Andrew Wilson, who serves as chairman of the SNP Growth Commission predicted Scotland could be independent by 2026. However, speaking today Mr Wilson raised concerns about the prospect of a new Scottish currency warning it shouldn’t be brought in too quickly.
At last year’s Party conference, the SNP voted to replace the pound with a separate Scottish currency “as soon as practicable”.
However, this went against the wishes of leader Nicola Sturgeon, who said she wanted a more gradual transition to a new currency.
This meant the SNP’s official policy was to replace sterling with a new Scottish currency after independence.
The decision at the conference last year is a major change to the party’s stance in the 2014 independence referendum.
At the time, First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond said and independent Scotland would continue to use the pound in a formal UK-wide currency union.
Mr Wilson, who wrote the SNP’s economic blueprint for independence before coronavirus, said: “We’re not imaging ourselves into a position of where we would like to be in ten years, we’re dealing with the transition and what that could do to people’s jobs and the risk of people moving their money out of the country.
“We’ve big integration with the rest of the UK – mortgages, pensions, wages.
“So if you were to say right from day one that we’ve our own currency, then you don’t know what’s going to happen to your pay, your pension.
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“It’s risky towards the economy and also politically risky because people would be uncertain and we’d spend the whole referendum campaign talking about what would happen to mortgages and pensions – and therefore having a referendum on what would happen in the first few weeks rather than over the next 25 years.”
Mr Wilson stressed in the interview with Business Scotland and the Herald on Sunday that moving to a Scottish pound seemed like a “minority pursuit” in terms of polling opinion.
He stressed rushing into a new currency would be “short-term risky, politically difficult and it would make the cost of government borrowing more expensive”.
He added: “Why rush your fence? Accept that we don’t have monetary sovereignty for the first period after independence.
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“After all we don’t have it now. We’d have all other powers.
“The monetary policy situation that we have now would continue until such a time that it’s no longer in our interests.”
At the same time, Mr Wilson appeared to contradict Keith Brown, the SNP’s deputy leader on the topic of independence.
Mr Brown made the remarks following an IPSOS Mori poll released this week which suggested a majority of Scots would back independence.
The SNP’s deputy leader said: “This is a landmark poll which shows that independence has now become the settled will of the majority of people in Scotland.
“Faced with the chaotic and incompetent government of Boris Johnson and a Westminster system which treats Scotland as an afterthought at best, more andmore people are deciding that the best way forward for Scotland is as an equal, independent country.
“And if there is a clear majority for pro-independence, pro-referendum parties in next year’s election – as this poll shows there would be by some considerable margin – then no Tory or any UK Government has the right to stand in the way.
“Quite simply, in those circumstances, the Tories would lack any moral or democratic authority whatsoever to try and block the will of the people, and it would not stand.”
But Mr Wilson warned it would be “a mistake to say we’re there yet” stressing it’s important not to rush.
“What we’re hearing from the polls is that independence isn’t yet the settled will, but it is settling,” he added.
“It’s important not to rush the fence because we’ll give the Prime Minister the ability to resonate with people by saying ‘now is not the time’.
“It would be a mistake to say we’re there yet – people can change their mind again. But I detect a growing solidity.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly ruled out another Scottish independence vote under his premiership.
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