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UK to make debt pledge ahead of Scotland referendum

The British government announced on Monday that it will take responsibility for all British government debt should Scotland vote to leave the United Kingdom this year.

"In the event of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom, the continuing UK government would in all circumstances honour the contractual terms of the debt issued by the UK government," the Treasury said in a statement.

An independent Scotland would be responsible for "a fair and proportionate share" of Britain's liabilities but a share of the outstanding debt would not be transferred to Scotland, it said, adding the terms of repayment would be subject to negotiation.

Britain's net debt stood at nearly 1.2 trillion pounds at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year.


(Read more: Scotland independence: Widnae itwork?)

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert | Getty Images

Scotland will vote in September on whether to keep the 306-year union intact. Scottish nationalists say independence will free it from decades of economic mismanagement. The British government is campaigning to keep Scotland part of Britain.

(Read more: Would independent Scotland have banking crisis?)

Some investors had been seeking clarification from the Treasury about what would happen to UK debt if Scotland votes for independence, the person said.

(Read more: Should Scotland drop sterling for euro?)

The Financial Times, which first reported the story on Sunday, said Danny Alexander, Treasury chief secretary, feared investors could start demanding a risk premium if they feared some UK debt could be transferred to an independent Scotland.

Better Together, a group in favour of Scotland staying in Britain, said on its website last week that according to a poll by YouGov the group commissioned, 61 percent of voters are against quitting the UK while 30 percent back independence.

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