Labour Conference In Inverness

Leader of the anti-independence campaign Alistair Darling will mount an attack on SNP plans for a currency union in the event of independence when he appears at the Scottish Labour conference today.

Mr Darling, who spearheads Better Together, will question the Nationalists' stance of keeping the pound and creating a ``sterling zone'' if Scotland votes Yes next year. 

A former Chancellor, will gives his views during a debate on Scotland's future on the first day of the conference in Inverness. 

He is expected say: ``The Nationalists have been telling us that we can be part of a currency union and still follow a completely different economic policy from the rest of the UK. They say that we would be able to spend, tax and borrow what we want without any constraint. 

``Either they don't understand how currency unions work or, like they did with Europe, they are trying to deceive us again. 

``The Nationalists want us to walk away and for the rest of the UK to create a eurozone-style sterling zone just so that Scotland can keep the pound.'' 

He is expected to highlight recent difficulties in Europe, telling delegates: ``You don't have to imagine what happens in a currency union. You only have to look at Europe to see exactly how it works. Germany is, in effect, telling the smaller countries what to do. 

``No wonder there is a growing split in Nationalist ranks. A growing number of Nationalists realise that a currency union, whatever else it is, is not freedom.'' 

Mr Darling's speech comes as his party considers the interim report of its commission looking at the future of devolution in Scotland. 

Income tax was identified as the ``best candidate'' for further devolution but the commission ruled out moving control of corporation tax, national insurance and North Sea oil taxation to Holyrood. 

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: ``This interim report provides a starting point for our debate about the future of devolution. 

``Now that the devolution commission has set out its findings, we need to open up this debate to the people of Scotland so that Scottish Labour can reflect the views of the majority of Scots who want to stay within the United Kingdom.''