Osborne 'Couldn't Back' A Shared Pound

Chancellor George Osborne declared today he would not sign up to a currency union with an independent Scotland, saying such a deal would ``not work'' and was ``not going to happen''.

The Tory went to Edinburgh to send the stark message to Alex Salmond's Scottish Government, which has set out plans to create a ``sterling zone'' with the rest of the UK if there is a Yes vote in the referendum.

Mr Osborne said: ``The SNP says that if Scotland becomes independent, there will be a currency union and Scotland will share the pound. 

``People need to know that is not going to happen. 

``Because sharing the pound is not in the interests of either the people of Scotland or the rest of the UK.'' He said official advice from civil servants on the key issue of currency was that ``they would not recommend a currency union to the Government of the continuing UK''. 

Mr Osborne said: ``Listening to that advice, looking at the analysis myself, it is clear to me I could not, as Chancellor, recommend that we could share the pound with an independent Scotland. 

``The evidence shows that it wouldn't work, it would cost jobs and cost money. It wouldn't provide economic security for Scotland or for the rest of the United Kingdom.'' 

He added: ``I don't think any other Chancellor of the Exchequer would come to a different view.''

Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, echoed Mr Osborne's remarks on a currency union, insisting such a deal ``simply isn't going to happen''. 

Mr Alexander said having read the civil service advice he ``couldn't recommend a currency union to the people of Scotland and my party couldn't agree to such a proposition for the rest of the UK''. 

He said: ``The SNP continue to pretend that an independent Scotland could continue to share the pound. It couldn't, without agreement. And because a currency wouldn't work for anyone, it simply isn't going to happen. 

``The SNP now need to work out what their alternative currency proposal is and set it out openly.'' 

He also hit back at claims from Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that the ``Westminster establishment'' was attempting to bully Scotland ahead of the referendum. 

Mr Alexander said: ``This isn't bluff, or bullying, it's a statement of fact. 

``The SNP's claims that an independent Scotland could or should be able to share the pound are pure fiction. When we vote in September, no one in Scotland should vote for independence in the belief that we could keep the pound.''