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Monday, 2 June 2014

Gordon Brown warns bullying over the currency may lead people to vote yes

The Scottish National Party has highlighted Gordon Brown's opposition to Westminster's threat about stopping an independent Scotland using the pound as more evidence of disarray within the No camp. The move - announced by George Osborne, and backed by Danny Alexander and Ed Balls - was intended to be a knock out blow to Yes, but actually contributed to a continued tightening in the opinion polls in favour of Yes. In an interview in the Daily Record, Mr Brown said: "The way the currency argument was put by the Government made the issue Scotland versus Britain. But if the only propaganda that comes from the Conservatives is, 'Britain says No', it’s bound to have a reaction in Scotland. It is bound to make people feel that people are talking down to us or are not taking us seriously or are trying to bully us."

Kenneth Gibson MSP said: "Gordon Brown's acceptance that it looked like Westminster was trying to 'bully' the people of Scotland underlines the divisions and disarray within the No campaign. In attacking Westminster's bluff and bluster over the pound, he is directing his fire at Ed Balls as well as George Osborne - given the way Labour parroted the empty threats of a Tory Chancellor. The reality is that the pound belongs to Scotland every bit as much as the rest of the UK, and independence will give full tax and welfare powers to Scotland while sharing sterling with our friends and neighbours south of the border. With the publication of the Tories' Strathclyde Commission, all parties now claim to believe in greater powers for Scotland within a shared currency"

The head of Scottish Engineering today said that uncertainty over what would replace the Pound if they leave the UK is forcing firms to delay investment in Scotland. In an interview on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme earlier today, Scottish Engineering chief executive Bryan Buchan said that large investors are “marking time pending the decision on the referendum for the Scottish operation”. Mr Buchan said that “the biggest concern of all is currency going forward”.

The Better Together campaign responded by saying that being part of the UK single market is good for firms investing in Scotland. Scottish Labour MP and Shadow Business Minister Ian Murray said: "This is another significant intervention highlighting the big risks that would come with separation. Being part of the UK single market of over 63 million people, rather than just 5 million in Scotland, is good for Scottish employers. It makes no sense to put up barriers between Scottish firms and their customers elsewhere in the UK. Last week the boss of B&Q warned that his company would hold back investment if we leave the UK and now the head of Scottish Engineering has said that uncertainty over the currency is putting investment at risk."

"The nationalists can’t dismiss these warnings like they usually do. Alex Salmond must come clean about what would replace the Pound if we leave the UK. Would we rush to adopt the Euro or would we set up a separate unproven currency? The idea that Scots can be kept in the dark by Alex Salmond is unacceptable. As part of the UK we can have the best of both worlds. We can have a strong Scottish Parliament, with the guarantee of more powers, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK. Alex Salmond wants us to risk all that on the strength of his empty promises."