SNP candidate: Scotland would have own currency 'within months' of independence

Ash Regan and Peter MacMahon
Ash Regan and Peter MacMahon Credit: ITV Border

An SNP leadership candidate says Scotland would have its own currency "within months" of independence, if she became leader.

Ash Regan told Representing Border Scotland would not "be credible" as an independent country if it was "at the mercy of another country's currency".

The former Community Safety minister said she was confident the pound sterling would be relied on "only for a couple of months" after independence.

The other candidates to become leader of the SNP, and Scotland's First Minister, are Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.

Mr Yousaf has criticised Ash Regan's currency plans, saying they "lack credibility".

The currency issue has remained one of the key issues in the debate around independence since well before the 2014 referendum.

Publishing a paper on the issue last year, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland would move to a new currency, but that the transition would take time.

The country would be required to set up a central bank, which she said would happen on the first day after an independence vote, but the country would have to continue to use sterling for some time after that.

Ms Sturgeon told journalists it would be "irresponsible" to set out a timetable for a move to the new currency.

But Ash Regan - who had not yet resigned from the government in protest over gender reforms when the 2022 paper was published - said it would take just months to move to a Scottish currency, if efforts were made ahead of independence to start the process.

Pushed on a timescale she said the switch could happen "a couple of months" into independence.

"If I become the leader, I am going to start working on what steps we can take now, while we are not independent, in order to build the infrastructure which would let us move to a Scottish currency within months of becoming independent," she added.

Asked if Scotland currently has the powers to set up a central bank, Ms Regan said: "I'm going to look to see what steps we can take under the devolution settlement, but I'm very clear we would need to get that infrastructure in as soon as possible."