An independent Scotland would need its own currency before joining the European Union (EU), a think tank has said after the SNP published its latest blueprint for breaking up Britain.
Angus Robertson, the SNP’s constitution secretary, published the seventh paper in the Scottish Government’s prospectus series on Friday, suggesting that Scotland could join the EU within two to five years of negotiations starting.
Sam Taylor, of the pro-Union think tank These Islands, said the paper’s proposals on currency amounted to an admission that Scotland could not join the EU while using sterling.
He said: “This paper concedes that independence would mean a hard border with England and giving up sterling for an untested new currency. But it downplays or ignores the fiscal and economic costs of separation.”
The 78-page document, which is focused on an independent Scotland’s journey to joining the EU, states that the process of re-joining the bloc would be “closely aligned” with the process of establishing a Scottish pound. The document described plans for checks on goods which are traded across the border between an independent Scotland and England, with Mr Robertson saying there would be the “least friction possible”.
Mr Robertson unveiled the latest document at Queen Margaret University on Friday, alongside Christina McKelvie, the SNP’s Europe minister.
‘Scotland already aligns with many EU rules’
Following a Yes vote in an independence referendum, he said, Scotland would begin negotiations with the UK Government and EU.
Mr Robertson added that this would be a “relatively quick process”, pointing out that Scotland already aligns with many EU rules.
The prospectus paper says there would be a “single trade window” online for companies which trade goods across the border with England.
Checks on goods need not happen at the border itself, the paper states, though it also suggests spot checks and automatic number plate recognition on minor routes along the border to monitor non-compliance.
The UK Government has repeatedly rejected calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence, and opposition parties at Holyrood have criticised the prospectus series as “fantasy”.
A UK Government spokesman said: “People in Scotland want both their Governments to be concentrating on the issues that matter most to them, like growing our economy, halving inflation and improving public services. This is not the time to be talking about distracting constitutional change.”