SNP members vote to introduce new Scottish currency ‘as soon as practicable’ after independence
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SNP members have voted for Scotland to introduce a new Scottish currency “as soon as practicable” after independence.
In an SNP conference debate, members backed an amendment to a resolution on the party’s Sustainable Growth Commission calling for the Scottish Government to take steps to enable the Scottish Parliament to “authorise the preparation of a Scottish currency as soon as practicable after a vote for independence” with the aim that the currency be ready “as soon as practicable after independence day”.
This was a change to the original resolution, which said that a decision on moving to a new currency would be made by the end of the first term of an independent Scottish parliament, with the Scottish central bank to report annually on progress towards meeting the six criteria for a Scottish currency laid out in the growth commission report.
However, SNP members unanimously backed the amended resolution accepting the growth commission’s recommendations as the basis for an independent Scottish economy.
The resolution, which will now become official SNP policy, was put forward by SNP depute leader Keith Brown and Scottish Government finance secretary Derek Mackay.
Covering areas such as debt, deficit and an economic policy, it was based on the recommendations of the Sustainable Growth Commission, led by former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson, which was tasked with creating proposals for an economic policy and currency for an independent Scotland.
As well as reiterating that Scotland has “significant economic assets and advantages” to be a “prosperous and successful nation”, the resolution said that the example of similarly sized independent nations “illustrates the vast potential” for an independent Scotland to develop a stronger economy.
According to the resolution, economic policy in an independent Scotland would prioritise improving economic participation, equality and productivity as well as wider promoting wellbeing.
While the resolution maintains that the levels of debt and deficit an independent Scotland would inherit are faced by the “economic mismanagement of successive Westminster governments”, it agrees that an independent Scotland would make a “fair and reasonable contribution” to UK debt.
Speaking following the debate, Brown said the resolution gave the party a “clear platform” on which to campaign and win the case for independence.
He said: “Today’s vote marked a clear rejection of failed Westminster austerity, and a commitment by the SNP to sustaining Scotland’s finances through growth.
“But in our pursuit of prosperity, we must put our people first – wellbeing, fairness and tackling head-on the scourge of inequality.
“Our party now sees the balance of advantage in a careful, managed and responsible transition to an independent currency.
“It is our ambition to move to a new currency – this is a significant and important policy choice.
“Until this can be achieved, safely and securely, our currency will remain the pound sterling.
“Today’s was an informed, valuable and hopeful debate on our country’s future – a more stark contrast to the chaos and despair of Brexit it would be hard to imagine.
“This is a winning economic plan to take to the doorsteps – one which will achieve independence for Scotland.”
However, Scottish Labour accused the SNP of adopting an “austerity plan” for Scotland.
Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard said: “Imposing a decade of austerity on the most vulnerable, tax cuts for big business and fewer rights for workers is now official SNP policy.
“The people of Scotland now have a clear choice between austerity and cuts with the SNP and the Tories, or £70 billion worth of investment with a Labour government.
“Labour governments at Holyrood and Westminster will end low pay and the exploitation of workers, reverse the rise in poverty and homelessness, and put people before profit through public ownership of our public services.”