The SNP conference overwhelmingly supported measures to speed up the process of introducing Scotland’s own currency under independence.
Delegates backed an amended motion 481 to 37 that would see an enabling bill drafted ahead of a second referendum to create a Scottish Central Bank which would be responsible for issuing a new Scottish pound in anticipation of the creation of the new state .
The debate on the third day of the SNP’s online conference comes two and a half years after the party voted to use the pound but to introduce a new currency as soon as possible.
But the wording met with resistance with some party members fearing the process would take many years and wanted a faster transition to a new Scottish currency.
Left-wing party activists wanted six economic tests that “will guide” the exact timing of the removal of a new currency, although the measures were approved by the conference.
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The currency debate has continued in the party since then with today’s resolution forwarded by activist Tim Rideout.
He told delegates that no advanced economy has ever sought to use another country’s currency and that attempting to do so would be to launch “possibly the most dangerous experiment in world monetary history.”
He added: “So we have to follow the safe and proven path that almost every country has taken to become independent, which is to have our own currency. We will use the Scottish pound – not the English pound.”
Rideout argued that having a central bank “is a key component” of any country with its own currency and was also a prerequisite for applying to join the European Union.
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“The use of the British pound rules out any application for EU membership. So we have to plan that too,” he said.
“Planning is the key. After the Brexit vote, London was in a state of total “what do we do now” unpreparedness.
“We’ll have to be ready, so we’ve started running. Two years, or whatever, for a transition to Independence Day will go very quickly.”
Rideout added that the SNP could make some of those preparations, including drafting the bill to establish a Scottish Reserve Bank as Scotland’s new central bank.
Activist Tim Rideout
“This brings us to the point where we are ready to present this legislation the day after the vote. Keep in mind that it will probably take six months to be approved by Parliament,” he told the conference.
He said much of his original motion had been curtailed by the party conference committee and went on to describe what they were.
“The Reserve Bank will be owned and controlled by the Scottish government. It will be the monetary authority, which means it will create Scottish pounds. It will own the Scottish payments system and will be the state banker,” a- he declared.
“We have to make sure that he is under the control of Parliament and accountable at all times to us and our elected representatives. This means things like US-style confirmation hearings for the governor’s appointment, annual reports, and parliamentary committee appearances. This is the key.
“This is because as the monetary authority it will establish and issue the new Scottish currency. It will also set the interest rates for loans to commercial banks, and it will work in conjunction with other international central banks .
“This means that he will hold and manage our foreign exchange reserves on behalf of the Ministry of Finance.
Chris Hanlon, SNP Policy Officer
“With us he will keep the Scottish Government’s accounts and provide the lending and overdraft facilities necessary to achieve government fiscal policies such as full employment and the Green New Deal.
“Finally, as MP Douglas Chapman envisions, he could manage a Scottish Sovereign Wealth Fund.”
An amendment to the resolution called for the establishment of a party forum to discuss the principles of the establishment of the bank and the establishment of the new currency.
He said a national assembly is expected to be held before the party’s spring conference, which will give members time to consider all the details and evidence on how best to create a central bank and reach agreement on The law project.
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Amendment activist Chris Hanlon, who is the party’s policy-maker, told members: “This will be a critical first step on the road to independence.”
He said: “As we fight the campaign ahead, it will be important that those we ask to trust us to protect their livelihoods as we build our new nation believe that we know what we are doing, that we have planned and are planning for all the practicalities that will be necessary as we take back the reins of power.
“Many voters will look at us from a different perspective than they saw in the 2014 referendum.
“They will see us as the group that is likely to win this referendum and they will want to be assured that they will not see a repeat of 2016 when a group of night cowboys won a referendum that they had absolutely no idea about. of how to implement. ”
He added: “There will be difficult and detailed questions on a lot of topics that were not asked last time.
“Topics like strengthening the civil service, or operating a border with the rest of the UK, what our relationship with the EU will look like, how long it will take to negotiate and what action can we take to speed up our return to the single market.
“It is important that we look credible as a government for a newly independent nation that prepares to manage this transition in a way that will minimize disruption and maximize the economic benefits of withdrawing from the political union that has brought us to life. was imposed in 1707.
“We have to start planning what we will do when we gain our independence.”
The currency issue is seen as one of the key policies in which the SNP wants to have absolute confidence in order to win a second independence referendum.
Some supporters of independence believe that the policy proposed by the party in 2014 was the cause of the defeat of the Yes camp.
The advanced position then was for Scotland to continue to use the pound sterling in a monetary union with the United Kingdom.
However, politics were hit when former Chancellor George Osborne said he would not agree to a monetary union with the new state.