SCOTLAND would keep the pound for at least 10 years after independence under plans set out today by the SNP’s Growth Commission.

The Sustainable Growth Commission - which was set up by the SNP to look at future economic prospects - will set out proposals for a "Come to Scotland" package as part of efforts to boost the country's population.

First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has already said the report will "restart the debate" about Scottish independence.

The 354-page report includes 30 recommendations on how to grow the economy, including introducing a new visa system for Scotland which would be in contrast to the "UK Tory government's hostile approach to migration".

READ MORE: 'Golden Hello' for skilled migrants among plans in SNP's independence blueprint

The document by former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson sets out how the country can use the "3 Ps" - population, participation and productivity - in a bid to grow the economy.


This morning the BBC reported that the commission will say that Scotland should keep Sterling for the first few years after independence in order to provide certainty and stability, with the Bank of England continuing to set interest rates and other monetary policies.

Ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, the SNP proposed a currency union with the rest of the UK which would have seen the country continue to use the pound. This was ruled out by the then-Chancellor George Osborne and has been viewed as a key factor in the Yes campaign losing the vote.

But the SNP argues that that an independent Scotland would not need the permission of the UK government to continue using Sterling.

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The Treasury's top civil servant, Sir Nicholas Macpherson "strongly" advised Mr Osborne against agreeing to the currency union proposal, which he said would have been "fraught with difficulty".

BBC Scotland also reported the growth commission report includes detailed plans to help fund continuing UK debt to promote "respect and good order" towards the rest of the United Kingdom. And Scotland would contribute about £5bn a year to meet debt commitments and fund international aid.

Demographic trends mean Scotland needs to attract people to boost its working-age population, with the report setting the goal of the country retaining an additional 5,000 overseas graduates each year - which could be worth £1.5 billion a year to the economy within a decade.

Speaking ahead of the publication of Scotland: A New Case for Optimism, Mr Wilson said: "We have a great opportunity for Scotland to strike a completely different tone on a vitally important area of economic policy - how we attract talent to our country.

READ MORE: Tom Gordon: Will the SNP's Growth Commission be worth the wait?

"For the next 25 years all of Scotland's projected population growth is expected to come from migration.

"Under current UK policy there is a real danger that the working population in Scotland could fall – meaning fewer people creating wealth, jobs and contributing to our NHS.

"Growing our working population and, through it, our economy is perhaps the greatest national challenge we have - and is made even more urgent by Brexit and the threat it poses to our working-age population."

He stressed that "Scotland needs more migration to drive our economy forwards and we need to extend a friendly welcome to international talent".

Mr Wilson continued: "It is a fact that those born outside the UK who have made Scotland home for their businesses, their research or their families are significant net contributors to our economy and public finances - we need more of this.

READ MORE: 'Golden Hello' for skilled migrants among plans in SNP's independence blueprint

"We also need more people from across the UK to consider the benefits of living and working here.

"Our package is designed to attract people to Scotland to study and to stay here, to build a career and a fulfilling future for themselves. We need investors, entrepreneurs and a skilled workforce to achieve our potential."

Mr Wilson has already hailed the report as the "most substantial work on Scotland's economic future that has ever been undertaken".

It is split into three sections, looking at Scotland's opportunities for economic growth, public finances and the key issue of what currency an independent Scotland could use.

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said: "Of course we want to attract the best and brightest to come and live and work in Scotland. But you don't do that with high taxes and you don't do it by trying to tear up the UK.

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"You do it by growing Scotland's economy - something the SNP government is failing to do, largely because it is spending so much of its time obsessing about independence.


"Four years on from the independence referendum, it really is time for the SNP to stop building castles in the sky, and to get on with the job of building a stronger Scotland now.

"Let's be clear, the only purpose of this independence blueprint is to help Nicola Sturgeon's attempt to push us back towards a second referendum. We will oppose any attempt by her to do so."

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard also hit out at the nationalists, saying: "The SNP government can attempt to reboot the case for independence as much as it likes. The people of Scotland do not trust it and want a government focused on jobs, schools and hospitals instead."

And Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie called on the Scottish Government to "focus on driving positive change and improvement in public services and the economy" instead of pursuing "yet another divisive push for independence".

READ MORE: Tom Gordon: Will the SNP's Growth Commission be worth the wait?

But a Scottish Green spokesman said: "Many No voters in 2014 will no doubt be open to the case for independence, especially when this report is compared to the bleak, post-Brexit economic analysis papers, which we have seen, from the UK Government."

He added: "While independence would give us a better chance of running a fairer economy, that shouldn't stop us taking action right now."