SNP grassroots vote for quick Scottish currency adoption

29 Apr 19

The SNP has backed plans to introduce a new Scottish currency “as soon as practicable” after independence, overturning the policy of the party leadership to adopt a more gradual transition from sterling.

Activists at the party’s spring conference in Edinburgh passed an amendment fast-tracking the establishment of a separate currency by allowing the Scottish Parliament to authorise preparations to replace the pound in the aftermath of a vote for independence.

The move represented a rejection of the more cautious approach of party leaders to retain the pound until an alternative could be “safely and securely established” in the interests of the Scottish economy, with an independent parliament taking a decision on currency by the end of its first term.

However, party members agreed that the exact process and timescale for the introduction of a Scottish currency should be guided by the six economic tests set out by the Sustainable Growth Commission last year, which include a sufficiently strong fiscal position in relation to budget deficit and overall debt.

Leader Nicola Sturgeon, who last week said a second referendum should take place by 2021 if Brexit went ahead, did not refer directly to the currency question in her keynote address, but paid tribute to a “great debate” in the aftermath of the vote.

“Amendment urges progress as quickly as practicable, and six tests to ensure solid foundation for decision are endorsed,” she tweeted.

“We can move forward now with confidence to make the case for Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.”

She used her conference address to launch “the biggest campaign on the economics of independence” in the party’s history, with pamphlets setting out an alternative to the “inevitable” decline of Brexit to be delivered to every home in Scotland.

“Our new economic plan demonstrates the potential of an independent Scotland,” she told delegates.

“It stresses the importance of social justice and equality. A strong economy is the bedrock of a fair society. And a fair, inclusive society leads to a strong economy.”

She also announced the establishment of a Social Justice and Fairness Commission, which would set out how the proceeds of economic growth in an independent Scotland could be fairly distributed.

“It will demonstrate how we can use the powers of independence to end poverty, achieve full employment, and drive equality for all,” she said.

Last week, the UK government reiterated its opposition to a second referendum on Scottish independence, saying there was “no evidence” of a surge in public appetite for a further poll after Scots voted to remain in the UK in 2014.  

But Sturgeon said the Scottish Government would next month introduce a bill for a second referendum, with a view to legislation being passed by the end of the year.  

“Our job now is to get support for independence surging…and make sure that no Westminster government can ever stand in the way of Scotland’s right to choose,” she said.


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