Ex-Bank of England chief: Scotland ‘certainly could’ be an independent country

Written by Emilio Casalicchio and Jenni Davidson on 21 March 2017 in News

Former Bank of England governor Lord King suggested it was a question of whether Scotland wanted to take the financial consequences

Mervyn King with Ben Bernanke - Image credit: PA images

Scotland “certainly could” be an independent country, but would find breaking away from the UK “expensive”, a former head of the Bank of England has said.

Lord Mervyn King, who led the Bank of England for ten years between 2003 and 2013, suggested it was a question of whether Scotland wanted to accept the consequences that would follow separation from the rest of United Kingdom.

The former Bank of England governor told BBC’s Newsnight: “Scotland certainly could be an independent country. There are plenty of small countries the same size as Scotland.


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“Scotland has the people, it has a capital city, a history and culture. It could be an independent country.”

“The question is, does it want to be given the consequences of it?"

King suggested that currency was not a “major problem”, but the issue would be public finances and borrowing.

He said: "[I]f the oil price remains low and if they lose the money which is transferred from the rest of the UK to Scotland, then they would have to make that up in their own budget, but that's a consequence of deciding to be financially independent, you end up paying for yourself.

"And it would be a challenge to borrow on the international market if Scotland decided to run a large budget deficit. I think that would be expensive, the interest rate would go up.

“But that’s one of the consequences of saying ‘if we want to be independent we have to accept the consequences.’”

Ahead of the debate in Holyrood today and tomorrow on the Section 30 order for a new independence vote, Nicola Sturgeon said it was the “sovereign right” of Scots to carve their own path.

"If MSPs pass this motion this week, then the Prime Minister's position of blocking a referendum and forcing through a hard Brexit without giving the people a choice will be democratically indefensible,” she said.

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