Retaining sterling would leave an independent Scotland tied to UK economic policy and limit its ability to tackle social exclusion, according to a think-tank.

The Scotland Institute, a think-tank which aims to present voters with facts about constitutional change, said Scotland "cannot afford to leave key areas such as monetary policy to Westminster".

A report on social exclusion advises MSPs to pursue greater devolution for specific Scottish policies for Scottish problems, and to ensure it has some influence over the Westminster policy process.

Author Dr Roger Cox argues if Scotland is independent but retains sterling "the policies necessary to prevent social exclusion in Scotland are unlikely to be developed".

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "An independent Scotland with full powers of welfare will be able to develop a fair system that addresses Scottish circumstances, in line with the needs and values of our people."