23/04/2013 Newsnight Scotland


23/04/2013

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 23/04/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

more prosperous and fairer country. Tonight on Newsnight Scotland will

:00:11.:00:15.

have more on the debate over the currency including an interview with

:00:15.:00:20.

George Osborne. Good evening, the Chancellor's chose St George's Day

:00:20.:00:26.

to talk about sterling. His message was that the SNP's plan for Scotland

:00:26.:00:31.

to continue to use the pound after independence is deeply flawed. The

:00:31.:00:34.

Scottish Government were swift in their rebuttal as Andrew Black

:00:34.:00:39.

reports. Spoke in England today celebrated

:00:39.:00:45.

the life of St George, their patron saint, his namesake headed north in

:00:45.:00:50.

the hope of slaying a nationalist Dragon. Welcome, ladies and

:00:50.:00:56.

gentlemen. Thank you for coming... Dismissing SNP proposals to retain

:00:56.:00:59.

the pound is an independent Scotland, George Osborne said things

:00:59.:01:04.

worked fine as they are. The saying goes that if it isn't broke, don't

:01:04.:01:09.

fix it but I say, if it isn't broke, don't break it. The

:01:09.:01:13.

alternative is to the way Scotland is now uses the pound are second

:01:13.:01:19.

best. Second best, is that really best for Scotland? As the Chancellor

:01:19.:01:23.

came to Glasgow today, the Treasury published this document outlining

:01:23.:01:27.

various options for the future of an independent Scotland. Everything

:01:27.:01:31.

from a standalone currency to the SNP's preference of a sterling zone.

:01:31.:01:37.

But all of these, say Mister Osborne, would leave Scotland and

:01:37.:01:41.

the rest of the UK worse. The first Minister was also out and about and

:01:41.:01:50.

talking up Scotland's future, this time in sciences. Alex Salmond today

:01:50.:01:53.

endorsed the findings of the fiscal group set up by his own government.

:01:53.:01:59.

It just happens to support monetary union. They think that would be the

:01:59.:02:05.

best option for Scotland and for the rest of the UK so our approach has

:02:05.:02:08.

been upfront and constructive, laying out what is best for the

:02:08.:02:14.

people of Scotland and the people in the rest of the UK. Others in the

:02:14.:02:18.

independence movement encouraged the SNP to keep an open mind. In the

:02:18.:02:21.

long run, we should be looking to develop a separate currency. You

:02:21.:02:26.

cannot do that overnight, take a slower, colour separation of

:02:26.:02:30.

currency and that would make sense to me and give us the full powers to

:02:30.:02:34.

make all of our decisions for ourselves. Despite big political

:02:34.:02:39.

posturing, it is argued that if it does come to the crash, the UK

:02:39.:02:42.

Government would come to some kind of agreement. This that the Scottish

:02:42.:02:47.

Government is keen on keeping some sort of sterling connection means

:02:48.:02:54.

that it is likely that that will go forward. I can't see the UK

:02:54.:02:58.

Government being so obstructed as to put conditions in place that are

:02:58.:03:03.

unacceptable so at the minute, that looks like it would be favoured.

:03:03.:03:06.

Hopes are high that the independence debate is now turning the corner,

:03:06.:03:16.
:03:16.:03:16.

from trading in adult -- trading insults to discussion. Thanks for

:03:16.:03:21.

coming along. As for the Chancellor, he is off back to Whitehall to plan

:03:21.:03:25.

for his next move in the fight to keep the union.

:03:25.:03:31.

This morning, I spoke with George Osborne and that was at a factory in

:03:31.:03:35.

Castlemilk. I asked him if a sterling zone could suffer a crisis

:03:35.:03:40.

like the one in the Eurozone. saying the arrangements at the

:03:40.:03:45.

moment when Scotland is part of the UK and uses the pound like all other

:03:45.:03:49.

parts of the UK, are the best arrangements for Scotland and for

:03:49.:03:52.

the UK. And anybody who wants to change that relationship, anybody

:03:52.:03:58.

who wants a separate Scotland needs to explain what they would do. And

:03:58.:04:02.

the other options, like Scotland having its own currency board

:04:02.:04:08.

joining the euro, or having a similar zone like the rest of the

:04:08.:04:18.
:04:18.:04:18.

UK. Full. Do you worry that there is a Eurozone style crisis? It would

:04:18.:04:23.

beg also some questions about economic risks, about why a foreign

:04:23.:04:27.

government which is what the rest of the UK would have become would want

:04:27.:04:31.

to enter into this arrangement, why it would want to tie itself to the

:04:31.:04:37.

economic policies of the Scottish Government so frankly I think it is

:04:37.:04:42.

unlikely that the arrangement could be agreed with the rest of the UK or

:04:42.:04:47.

indeed would work. If this is a profound analysis rather than

:04:47.:04:52.

posturing, why don't you just say right now, as you would be the man

:04:52.:04:55.

in charge of the negotiations on this should it come to pass, why

:04:56.:05:05.

don't you say no? I am saying it is unlikely. Why not say no?I will not

:05:05.:05:12.

negotiate before the measure because my argument is that we should keep

:05:12.:05:17.

it together. It is the SNP who must answer questions. You could say this

:05:17.:05:22.

is bad for the rest of the United Kingdom and we will not enter

:05:22.:05:26.

negotiations. I think the best arrangement for both is to have what

:05:26.:05:29.

we have at the moment and it is for those who want to break up that

:05:29.:05:33.

arrangement to explain what they would put in its place and you have

:05:33.:05:40.

heard from the SNP. Let's say Scotland becomes independent, you

:05:40.:05:43.

represent the whole of the United Kingdom now, if you believe it is

:05:43.:05:47.

such a bad idea to have a formal currency arrangement with an

:05:47.:05:51.

independent Scotland, surely it is your responsibility to say to people

:05:51.:05:56.

that you say as Chancellor that he will not negotiate this because we

:05:56.:06:02.

could run the risk of a Eurozone crisis. I think the current

:06:02.:06:06.

arrangements are the best. The Eurozone style currency zone which

:06:06.:06:10.

you are asking me about, Scotland having its own currency, Scotland

:06:10.:06:17.

using the pound as John Swinney suggesting without any consent, like

:06:17.:06:27.

Panama uses the American dollar, those are second best options.

:06:27.:06:30.

have pointed out somewhere in your document that the stability pact in

:06:30.:06:35.

the Eurozone did not amount to a row of beans in the crisis. You said

:06:35.:06:39.

this morning that in a currency zone they would have to be more

:06:39.:06:42.

controlled by the UK over Scotland's budget than at the

:06:42.:06:47.

moment. What do you mean? We're not just talking about borrowing or

:06:47.:06:51.

pact, pact, what would you want to be able

:06:51.:06:55.

to control? This is one of the questions about I currency zone

:06:55.:06:58.

which is how much control do you give to a foreign government about

:06:58.:07:06.

your tax, borrowing decisions? In the Eurozone, they have to submit

:07:06.:07:10.

budgets to national parliaments and Brussels. So one question would be,

:07:10.:07:19.

but the Scottish Government have to submit its budget to Westminster

:07:19.:07:29.
:07:29.:07:32.

before it is fitted to Holyrood for approval? That would include tax

:07:32.:07:36.

policy? All decisions that affect the economic sustainability of ink

:07:36.:07:45.

-- country. Tax is one component of borrowing. But John Swinney was

:07:45.:07:51.

saying again this morning that they would hope that Scotland had full

:07:52.:07:55.

fiscal freedom. That is not how currency zones operate and why the

:07:55.:07:59.

way, what about the question that John Swinney does not address which

:07:59.:08:03.

is who is to say that the rest of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland

:08:03.:08:07.

and Wales, would accept any kind of decision or control from an

:08:07.:08:16.

independent Scotland over its budget policies? John Swinney says that

:08:16.:08:20.

George Osborne is playing politics, if you want allows Scotland to use

:08:20.:08:23.

the pound, then an independent Scotland will not take on a share of

:08:23.:08:28.

the British national debt. What is your response to that? John Swinney

:08:28.:08:32.

must answer basic questions about what currency Scotland would use if

:08:32.:08:37.

they became independent. I will not renegotiate the terms of

:08:37.:08:42.

independence because I wanted to remain in the UK and the best way

:08:42.:08:46.

for Scotland to keep the pound is for Scotland to stay in the United

:08:46.:08:56.
:08:56.:08:58.

do not know how clearly you could hear that interview with George

:08:58.:09:03.

Osborne, he is quite specifically making the point that the stability

:09:03.:09:08.

pact where you have limits on stock of debt and borrowing did not work

:09:08.:09:12.

in the Eurozone crisis and if he was to consider a currency union with an

:09:12.:09:15.

independent Scotland, it would have to involve much more than that. He

:09:15.:09:22.

says it must include tax and spending. Is that something you

:09:22.:09:28.

would be prepared to contemplate? do not think it would be necessary

:09:28.:09:32.

in that level of detail. An agreement about the strategic

:09:32.:09:37.

financial framework would be. argument is that it didn't work in

:09:37.:09:41.

the Eurozone and he is not prepared to repeat it in a British Eurozone,

:09:41.:09:50.

if you like. It is about how clearly you secure that. Those requirements

:09:50.:09:55.

were not securely founded on the member states involved in the

:09:55.:09:59.

Eurozone. What is important is an approach to financial responsibility

:09:59.:10:03.

which would be implicit in this arrangement and they would have to

:10:03.:10:07.

be a very clear and rounding and well founded agreements around the

:10:07.:10:13.

levels of debt that we could incur and the level of rowing we could

:10:13.:10:18.

undertake. For example, let me give you a very basic example. One of the

:10:18.:10:21.

points the Treasury makes in its document is that they would have to

:10:22.:10:24.

be a commitment to a currency union say you couldn't have Scotland

:10:25.:10:29.

flirting with the idea of joining the euro or setting up its own

:10:29.:10:33.

currency if the rest of the UK was to agree to a currency union. Would

:10:33.:10:36.

you be prepared to give a binding commitment that Scotland would not

:10:36.:10:42.

apply to join the euro unless it was either agreed with the United

:10:42.:10:49.

Kingdom order that the same time? -- or done at the same time. What

:10:49.:10:53.

George Osborne has been saying is about his interpretation on the

:10:54.:10:56.

currency question. I could not have been clear in all of the interviews

:10:56.:11:01.

I have given for some considerable time that the Government's position

:11:01.:11:06.

in Scotland is that we want to establish a sterling zone and we

:11:06.:11:11.

reduced the currency of the pound. And that is our clear undisputed

:11:11.:11:15.

option. You would be prepared to give the option I have suggested to

:11:15.:11:25.
:11:25.:11:28.

commitment because that is the commitment of the Scottish

:11:28.:11:33.

Government. You seem to be suggesting today that if the British

:11:33.:11:37.

government did not do what you wanted in a currency union of

:11:37.:11:45.

Scotland votes for independence, you might not accept a share of the UK

:11:45.:11:49.

national debt. Where you being serious or was it a joke? I was

:11:49.:11:53.

pointing out the illogicality of George Osborne 's position. As

:11:53.:11:56.

regards the pound and the Bank of England, he is saying that he

:11:56.:12:00.

decides what happens and is the one who will determine what will happen

:12:00.:12:04.

in that Scotland has no say at all. That cannot possibly be the case

:12:04.:12:12.

because that would mean George Osborne determines the position

:12:12.:12:16.

which has as much at stake for Scotland as the rest of the UK. I am

:12:16.:12:20.

simply making the point that if George Osborne was taking control of

:12:20.:12:24.

all of the assets then he must take control of all the liabilities and

:12:24.:12:28.

debts also. There is an asymmetry here and that

:12:28.:12:33.

is the problem. It is all very well to say your proposals for a currency

:12:33.:12:38.

union makes sense and that you have economists with Nobel Prize is

:12:38.:12:42.

backing you up. The point is, the British government will decide

:12:42.:12:46.

whether this happens or not and they are seeing that they do not see any

:12:47.:12:52.

way of making it work. Irrespective of how convincing your arguments,

:12:52.:12:58.

ultimately, it does not matter, they will decide. It was interesting in

:12:58.:13:00.

your interview with George Osborne and you give him every opportunity

:13:00.:13:05.

to say no and he did not take it. That says to me that today has been

:13:05.:13:09.

an escapade and posturing to try to make it all sounds too difficult,

:13:09.:13:17.

too hard and with too many barriers to overcome. In reality, the

:13:17.:13:22.

proposition that we have put forward and followed by the fiscal

:13:22.:13:25.

commission which has distinguished people taking part in it, it makes

:13:26.:13:29.

sense in the interests of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom

:13:29.:13:32.

because of the trade that goes between our respective due

:13:32.:13:38.

restrictions and because of the balance of payments.

:13:38.:13:41.

If George Osborne and Danny Alexander stick to their current

:13:41.:13:45.

idea that they do not think this will work and they will not agree to

:13:45.:13:52.

it, what is your plan B? They have not said that. They said it cannot

:13:52.:13:59.

work. You cannot possibly enter into a negotiation if you do not have a

:13:59.:14:06.

plan B. That would be irresponsible to the people of Scotland. We should

:14:06.:14:09.

argue as to what they think is the most appropriate arrangement for the

:14:09.:14:14.

people of Scotland. And to put that in front of the Scottish population.

:14:14.:14:19.

What if you do not get that? I will not second-guess and speculate about

:14:19.:14:24.

these other options. We have a proposition that we have taken care

:14:24.:14:30.

to develop and canvassed external opinion. We did that several weeks

:14:30.:14:32.

ago and gone into all of the detail, more detail than the

:14:32.:14:38.

Treasury have done. We have produced a strong and workable proposition.

:14:38.:14:44.

You must have a plan B. You are in effect asking the people of Scotland

:14:44.:14:46.

to vote for a proposition that depends on the agreement of the

:14:46.:14:52.

British government when the British government is saying it is minded

:14:52.:14:55.

not to agree to it. You cannot expect people to vote for

:14:55.:15:00.

independence on that basis. The UK and did -- the UK government has not

:15:01.:15:10.

said that. In their document they say it could be established by

:15:10.:15:13.

agreement between the two governments. If the UK government is

:15:13.:15:17.

to remain faithful to the Edinburgh Agreement that was signed in October

:15:17.:15:20.

between the Prime Minister and the first Minister, both governments

:15:20.:15:25.

agreed to work in a constructive spirit... You cannot seriously claim

:15:25.:15:34.

that the British... No, I said the Edinburgh Agreement committed the

:15:34.:15:38.

United Kingdom government to engage constructively with the Scottish

:15:38.:15:44.

government to implement the terms of a yes result in a referendum in

:15:44.:15:47.

September. If the UK government is going to remain true to that

:15:47.:15:52.

commitment, we are entitled to say that this is our preferred option

:15:52.:15:54.

and instead of posturing, they should deal seriously with this

:15:54.:16:01.

matter. Is not the problem you have, and some people going for

:16:01.:16:06.

independence would take this point of view also, is that you are so

:16:06.:16:14.

desperate for this currency union, it is so important to do, that why

:16:14.:16:20.

should you bother leaving the UK in the first place? That's back if it

:16:20.:16:27.

is so important to you, why do you want to do this? If people do that

:16:27.:16:30.

they would not have access to the full range of fiscal powers that I

:16:30.:16:37.

believe are essential... That is where I think the Chancellor is

:16:37.:16:41.

completely wrong. We must gain access to the economic and fiscal

:16:41.:16:46.

levers that are much more comprehensive and go across the

:16:46.:16:50.

whole selection of different areas in relation to the management of the

:16:50.:16:52.

economy and to strengthen the Scottish economy. Thank you, John

:16:52.:16:58.

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS