AN independent Scotland would be embroiled in “full-blown currency crisis” and face a similar economic crash to Greece as a result of the plummeting oil price, a leading economics expert has claimed.

Professor Ronald MacDonald, from Glasgow University, said if Scotland had voted for independence in 2014 the chosen currency regimes of the Scottish Government would have led to “huge disruption to the Scottish economy, and of a magnitude similar to the recent financial crisis”.

The professor of macroeconomics and international finance said either a formal or informal sterling zone arrangement post- independence implied a fixed exchange rate.

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However to counteract the recent fall in the price of oil, this would mean internal adjustments would have needed to be made – such as “painful” cuts and tax rises – or an external adjustment where “ the exchange rate depreciates in nominal and real term”, which would mean abandoning sterling zone membership.

Mr MacDonald said: “Financial markets, knowing this was the only tenable option, would have massively speculated against the fixed exchange rate system, perhaps from day one of independence or before, creating a full-blown currency crisis with all of its attendant consequences.”

He added: “At the heart of the difficulty in designing a suitable exchange rate regime for an independent Scotland is I believe how the economy’s macroeconomic needs are balanced with ensuring residents north and south of the Border are not forced to be unwilling and unwitting currency speculators as a result of the many billions of pounds of cross border financial assets and liabilities between Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

A spokeswoman for the SNP said: “Scotland’s economy is currently outperforming that of the UK, with faster economic growth, higher productivity and a stronger labour market. The whole point of independence is to allow Scotland to make better decisions that would make Scotland a fairer and more prosperous society.”

She added: “With the value of the pound plummeting every time the Prime Minister gives a speech on Europe, and with inflation increasing, real wages stagnating and family budgets being put under ever more pressure, it is clear Brexit is by far the biggest threat to Scotland’s economy.”