A North- east Conservative MSP has hit out at nationalist plans to keep the pound Stirling after a ‘Yes’ vote in next year’s independence referendum.
Dr Nanette Milne has said that the SNP’s policy on currency is in “absolute tatters”.
The SNP have been under increasing pressure this week after the Chancellor George Osbourne said that the UK Government would be “unlikely” to allow and independent Scotland to keep using the pound.
He raised fears that a currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK would tie the UK to Scotland’s economic policy and suggested that the treasury would veto any proposal for a shared Stirling zone.
Dr. Milne suggested that Scotland, in the event of independence, would either have to join the Eurozone or launch a new currency altogether.
She said: “The nationalists plans on currency are in absolute tatters. They have spent years chopping and changing what their policy would be and now every option open to them has either been ruled out or is much worse than what we have at present.
The Unionist MSP added that the nationalist currency plans had changed: “First of all they wanted the Euro, then they wanted us to join the ranks of countries such as Palau, the Marshall Islands and East Timor and not actually have a currency. Now they have asserted that the rest of the UK would be happy to enter into some kind of Eurozone style currency union with us, even although we had just told them that we didn’t want to be in the same country as them.
“The Nationalists are trying to do on membership of the pound what they did on membership of the EU or NATO – asserting that everything would be ok, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”
She said it was a “huge gamble”: “Alex Salmond is asking us to take a huge gamble with our money. The only way to guarantee that we keep the UK pound is to vote to stay in the UK.”
George Osbourne had been paying a visit to Scotland this week for the launch of the Westminster government’s second paper on independence,
He said in a speech in Glasgow: “There are no modern examples of a successful, formal currency union between two countires of such unequal size.
“If you want to keep the pound, keeping the United Kingdom is the best way to do it. Put simply, the United Kingdom is the most successful political, fiscal and monetary union in world history. It works for Scotland, it works for the United Kingdom and it would be bad for Scotland to throw it away.”
But First Minister Alex Salmond hit back at the Chancellor, telling him to “stop the political sabre-rattling”.
The SNP leader said that without Scottish resources like North Sea oil and gas to back up Stirling, the rest of the UK would see its balance of payments deficit “double overnight”.
Mr Salmond said: “I think when the serious economic interest takes over, as opposed to the political sabre-rattling, we will sit down and do what is in the interests if the people of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.”