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UK ‘wrong’ on currency union: Scots billionaire

Scotland's first home-grown billionaire has slammed the U.K. government for telling Scottish voters that they would be unable to continue sharing the pound should they vote to quit the union.

"I think it was wrong of the Treasury and Westminster government to say you just can't have a currency union, because obviously you can. It is in the interests of both (Scotland and the rest of the U.K.), if the Scottish people vote for independence," Tom Hunter, the founder of Sports Division, told CNBC.

On September 18, Scotland will vote on whether to remain part of the U.K., which currently includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Independence is supported by the Scottish National Party, which currently holds a majority in Scotland, but is opposed by the governing Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition in London, and by the rival Labour party.


There has been fierce debate between the two sides about how Scottish independence would work, including whether it would use the British pound, the euro, or its own currency. There also concerns about the country's deficit and the value of its revenues from oil drilling in the North Sea.

Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the U.K. Treasury and a constituency member of parliament in Scotland, weighed in on Wednesday.

"All of the economic evidence suggests, when you look at what has happened in the euro zone for example, that locking yourself in a currency union with a foreign country, in the way the rest of the U.K. would be asked to do, is something that poses huge long-term risks," he told CNBC.

"For Scotland too, settling independence on the basis of a currency is like trying to sell someone a car without a steering wheel. You wouldn't be able to adjust your interest rates, you wouldn't be able to adjust your exchange rate. It's bad for both sides."

Hunter told CNBC he was "undecided" about which way to vote in the referendum. However, he added that U.K. policymakers were disingenuous in claiming a Scottish-U.K. currency union would be unfeasible in the event of independence, and warned that their intransigence could push Scots towards a "yes" vote.

Read MoreWestminster parties to rule out Scottish use of the pound

"They (the U.K. government and Treasury) are trying to make a political point—they want us to stay together," said Hunter.

"That is okay, but let's have some great debate and let's have some real positives, because I must tell you that as a Scotsman, when people tells us 'no you can't have this and no you can't do that', we are bit thrown and we might just go the other way."

Read MoreScottish independence stirring voters: Poll

Twenty-nine percent of Scots plan to vote "yes" in the referendum, according to a poll published this month by Scottish market research agency TNS. Forty-one percent of those polled said they would vote "no" and the rest were undecided.

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