Mervyn King took apart SNP claims about its plans for independence for Scotland, claiming Nicola Sturgeon would be forced to impose drastic tax rises across Scotland. The former Bank of England governor told BBC Any Questions that the EU would frown upon Scotland for its soaring economic deficit. This followed claims from a senior SNP figure and MSP Fiona Hyslop, who revealed plans to rejoin the EU.
Ms Hyslop told BBC host Chris Mason that the SNP wanted Scotland to rejoin the EU after breaking away from the rest of the UK.
She said: “We think the best future for Scotland is inside the EU.
“They understand Scotland’s situation, and we think that’s the best prospect for Scotland. It would an economic advantage as well.”
She denied claims that the SNP would seek to join the euro currency, instead arguing to have an independent Scottish currency.
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Ms Hyslop added: “We have a currency. It is called Sterling. We will then move as fast as we can to set up our own currency, to have the central bank and financial regulation.
“This is essential. We cannot go down with Britain and allow ourselves to be cut off from the biggest market in the world.
“We want to be part of that family of cooperation, rather than stepping away from it.”
However Lord King disputed these claims after Chris Mason inquired about the “economic viability” of an independent Scotland.
He added: “The EU would look askance at the current budget deficit in Scotland, which is 8.6 percent of GDP – and that is before Covid hit.
“If they want to join the EU, they will have to raise taxes of Scottish Scottish residents.”
Also in the BBC panel discussion, the Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross rebuked Ms Hyslop after she refused to rule out a second independence referendum next year.
Mr Ross told BBC’s Any Questions that Scottish people will find the idea of a referendum next year “galling and appalling” at a time when Scotland is battling a pandemic.