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Give an independent Scotland its own currency

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Overview —

An independent Scotland needs its own currency.

Common Weal believes that an independent Scotland needs its own currency. This is the core message of the campaign and adds to the discussion around what independence should look like and what it should mean.

In August 2018, we launched a major new campaign supporting the proposal that an independent Scotland should have its own currency by day one of independence.

This campaign draws upon and expands Common Weal’s previous work on currency to make a detailed and logical case not just for the reasons why an independent Scotland should have its own currency but also lays down the process by which this can be done.

An alternative proposal put forward by the SNP's Sustainable Growth Commission proposes that Scotland should Sterlingise (i.e. should use the UK pound sterling unofficially and without control over it) for an indefinite period of time and then attempt to form a new currency later – are shown to be significantly weaker than our proposals and may make Scotland more vulnerable economically and less able to change policies later once independent and those initial changes have bedded in.

We've published five reports on the benefits of a Scottish currency (including the main proposal) and published a book on how to do launch one by day one of independence. We're produced a series of films to explain the policy. And we've campaigned hard with members of the SNP to support this policy.

 
 

These have been supported with a load of short explainer films, briefing notes for activists, leaflets and flyers and a host of articles and essays. We have handed out fliers at all the SNP's National Assemblies and have been pushing the case in the media and social media all summer 2018. The response we have had is fantastic and we believe we're persuading people.

While there has been a shift in some of the rhetoric from the SNP on the question of currency, the detail of the conference motion being presented does not match a change in policy terms. Indeed, the Growth Commission's six tests would remain.

As well as the six tests The Growth Commission would have an independent Scotland pay the UK £5.3 billion every year indefinitely.

Another key recommendation is to copy UK laws like financial regulations into Scots Law without review.

It also recommends that an independent Scotland should continue to copy any changes the UK makes to those financial regulations for years after independence.

As Robin McAlpine points out in this article the SNP membership is being sold something very, very different from what they are being told they are being sold.

The Growth Commission is proposing more of the same - an economy based on perpetual growth and providing comfort to international lenders and bankers. It makes a Green New Deal - high-quality new jobs, a new generation of manufacturing, an incredible economic stimulus which would enrich us all, truly 21st century infrastructure, not only survival but real, pure, distilled hope - impossible. 

It is a reminder of the Better Together campaign which argued we were too small, too poor, and not clever enough to be independent. The Growth Commission isn't just Better Together's patter, it is the right wing part of Better Together's patter. That's probably unsurprising when the most prominently cited economic thinker in the Growth Commission report is Michael Heseltine.

We will be making sure that everyone is aware of the problems inherent in the motion and the Growth Commission approach. We have plans to release even more materials and will campaign to - at the very least - get the six tests removed. SNP members should reject this proposal at conference on 27/04/2019. An independent Scotland needs its own currency.