British finance minister George Osborne has reiterated Scotland won’t keep the pound if it becomes independent from the UK.
Scotland will in September hold a referendum on its future that could result in the breaking up of the 300-year union with the United Kingdom.
Osborne called it “a huge event” and said he “passionately” wants Scotland to remain part of the UK, while repeating a warning from earlier this month of the consequences were it to leave.
“Part of our job, for those of us who are not in Scotland, is to point out some of the consequences of independence,” he said in Sydney, where he was attending this weekend’s G20 summit of finance ministers and central bankers.
“One of them is this question of the use of the pound where the leader of the Scottish National Party says ‘well, we will have a currency union with the rest of the UK, we will share the pound’.
“That is not possible, a currency union will not be sustainable for very similar reasons as to why the euro has proved a difficult currency union.”
All three of Britain’s main political parties have voiced similar sentiments.
The latest opinion poll in Scotland found 34 per cent in favour of independence and 52 per cent against. Twelve per cent were undecided and two per cent said they would not vote.
“For me personally, I passionately want Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom, I think it will be not only good for Scotland but the rest of the UK as well,” said Osborne.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has branded warnings about a currency union as a “concerted bid by a Tory-led Westminster establishment to bully and intimidate”.
In another blow to Scottish independence hopes, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said on Sunday it would be “difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the European Union.
The Scottish government has previously said it will seek to negotiate Scotland’s EU membership in the 18 months after the referendum, should Scots vote in favour of leaving the UK.