With just under 59 days to go until Scotland votes on its independence from the United Kingdom, a new report by U.K. lawmakers has found that a currency union is neither "feasible nor desirable" for Scotland or the country it leaves behind.
The Scottish Government - led by Alex Salmond from the Scottish National Party (SNP) - wants to share the pound with the U.K. in a currency union if the nation votes for independence in September, but the cross-party committee has said that it needs to reconsider this position.
"Voters urgently need to be told what the Scottish Government has as a plan B," the new report, released on Monday, said.
"'Sterlingization' would have very serious consequences for Scotland's sophisticated financial services industry...(the Scottish Government) must move quickly to provide information as to how it intends to protect the thousands of jobs dependent upon this vital part of the Scottish economy."
The Scottish government would be effectively handing over the control of its monetary policy to a country in which it had no representation, the report said. The lawmakers also added that the U.K. would be unlikely to accept the risks of default by Scottish banks.
The committee authoring the report is made up mostly of the three main political parties in the U.K., with only one Scottish National Party representative currently having membership. The key points included in the report closely resemble the stance taken by these major parties whose leaders have made statements precluding a currency union.
The report was denounced by the Scottish Government, with a spokesperson for Alex Salmond calling it "lame" in an official response. "The pound is as much Scotland's as it is England, Wales and Northern Ireland's," the spokesperson said. The Scottish Government has been bolstered in recent months by a report from the Guardian newspaper, which quoted an unnamed U.K. minister claiming that a currency union is likely to be eventually agreed.
The war of words spilled out onto the U.K. radio waves on Monday morning, with high profile names from either side being called up to voice their views on the BBC. The SNP's Stewart Hosie said that the report was overly politicizing the issue surrounding the currency union. He added that Scotland could potentially become a counterweight to the "dark star" of the City of London which he claimed sucked up vital resources that are needed in the rest of the country.
He also gave the example of Germany as being a successful country that had given up it part of its sovereignty and monetary policy with the phasing out of the deutschmark and the introduction of the euro. However, Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, criticized this comparison, saying that Germany - along with its neighbors that share the single currency - is hoping for more political and monetary integration after the sovereign debt crisis of 2011.