Nicola Sturgeon has defended plans for an independent Scotland to retain sterling as its currency because the pound is "every bit as much Scotland's currency" as the rest of the UK's.

Keeping the pound if Scotland leaves the United Kingdom is "simple common sense", the Deputy First Minister said.

She also accused the Westminster administration of refusing to hold talks with Holyrood ministers on the issue, claiming the UK Government risks "cutting off their nose to spite their face on this".

She spoke out before a speech by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander in Stirling this evening, during which he will argue the financial case for Scotland remaining in the UK.

The Scottish Government has said it plans to retain the pound if the country votes for independence in next year's referendum.

Economics experts in the Fiscal Commission Working Group, set up by First Minister Alex Salmond, concluded earlier this year that keeping sterling would be both "sensible'' and an attractive choice for the rest of the UK.

Ms Sturgeon said: "An independent Scotland will keep the pound because it is in everyone's best interests, and to try and suggest otherwise simply flies in the face of the facts.

"For a start, the pound is every bit as much Scotland's currency as it is that of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and as such, it is simple common sense that we should continue to use it as an independent country.

"But that common sense argument is backed up by overwhelming economic arguments.

"We have already had the detailed expert report of the Fiscal Commission Working Group which has backed a currency union in the event of a Yes vote in next year's referendum."

If Scotland is to leave the UK but retain the pound, it would "still enjoy the huge advantages that the full fiscal freedom of independence will bring".

She said: "That means that we will be free to make our own tax and spending choices here in Scotland, to suit our own needs and priorities and to help create jobs and build a wealthier and fairer society for everyone who lives here."

The "only plausible reason for Westminster's refusal" to have talks on the currency issue is "the fact they know this is the most sensible and straightforward outcome and they are determined not to concede that for purely political reasons".

The Deputy First Minister claimed: "The UK Government are in grave danger of cutting off their nose to spite their face on this issue. They know a currency union makes perfect sense, and there is still time for them to properly acknowledge that and have the formal discussions we have proposed.

"This is an opportunity for the Westminster Government to show it is serious when it says it wants to help, rather than obstruct, an informed debate in the run-up to the referendum. They should now step up to the plate and prove they mean what they say."