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Business leaders back SNP plan to share sterling in iScotland

A group of business leaders has backed SNP plans to share sterling with the rest of the UK after independence.

Eleven people put their names to a statement in support of keeping the pound. Signatories include Clyde Blowers founder Jim McColl and Direct Line Financial Services founder Jim Spowart, as well as others working in finance and property.

But pro-UK campaigners dismissed the intervention, saying the only way to guarantee keeping the currency is to keep Scotland in the Union.

The group of 10 businessmen and one woman stated: "No matter one's views on the referendum, it is clearly the case that Scotland and the rest of the UK should maintain a sterling area if there is independence.

"We support the Scottish Government's inclusion in the White Paper of a sterling area and common market for the free movement of trade, money, goods, services, capital and people. This is what's on offer to voters.

"It is in the interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK, the financial firms, wider business community and the people, to maintain the same currency.

"Many Scottish firms have the vast majority of their customers south of the border, and Scotland is the second largest export market for English business. The strength of sterling in part relies on Scotland's North Sea oil and gas reserves and key exports such as whisky.

"Of course there are other options in the longer term as economic conditions change but, for the foreseeable future, a sterling area makes sense for all parties. If there is a Yes vote, we believe that the economic interest of investment and jobs north and south of the border will prevail over the politics of a referendum campaign."

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said the position reflects "common sense".

He said: "This positive contribution to the debate, combined with the recent support for a sterling area from currency experts, builds on the overwhelming case for Scotland and the rest of the UK to continue using the pound, and leaves the No campaign's scare stories looking foolish."

A spokesman for pro-Union campaign group Better Together said: "This is a case study in SNP logic. If supporters of independence say something supportive of the SNP, they are heralded as experts whom everyone should listen to. If anyone says something that that doesn't support their case, they are dismissed as either scaremongering or simply not telling the truth.

"The Chancellor, the shadow chancellor, the First Minister of Wales, a host of economists and several leading Nationalists have poured scorn on the Nationalist currency union plans. The only way to keep the pound as our currency is to vote to keep the UK."

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