SNP to defend stance on Scotland’s currency

<p>Alex Salmond will speak to business leaders later today.</p>

SNP leader and Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond has claimed Scotland has as much right to continue using the pound as anywhere else in the UK.

The currency has proven to be one of the main areas of debate around Scottish independence, with the country set to go to the polls to decide its fate later in the year.

Prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne have both said an independent Scotland would not be able to continue to use the pound, a stance that Scotland's deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon decried as "bullying".

Mr Salmond is now planning to use an address to members of the pro-independence Business for Scotland organisation in Aberdeen later today (February 17th) to deliver a "point-by-point deconstruction" of Mr Osborne's recent speech.

The first minister said: "The reality is the pound is as much Scotland's as the rest of the UK. By suggesting otherwise, the Westminster establishment – Tories, Labour and Lib Dems – are reaping a backlash from the ordinary people of Scotland, who feel this is an attempt to bully Scotland ahead of the democratic choice we all look forward to this September."

Currency union criticised

Former chancellor Alistair Darling, who is now the leader of the pro-Union Better Together campaign, has also stated that an independent Scotland could not continue to use the pound. He recently indicated that the idea of a currency union did not "stack up" for Scotland, or for the rest of the UK.

Mr Darling said: "Alex Salmond is a man without a plan on currency and Europe. The wheels are falling off the independence wagon."

The independence campaign has been targeted by the government in recent weeks and was further hit by claims Scotland would not be able to join the European Union as an independent country. If it could not become a member of the EU, it would also be difficult for Scotland to start using the euro as an alternative for the pound.

As well as keeping the pound, Mr Salmond and the yes campaign are planning to continue using the Bank of England in the event of Scotland voting for independence later this year.

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