THE Sustainable Growth Commission’s position on sterlingisation was music to the ears of Alex Salmond, the former First Minister who led the Scottish Government’s campaign for independence in the 2014 referendum.

For it was Salmond who told the Scottish people that sterling could be used by an independent Scotland, a point that was largely lost during the row over what was interpreted – and ruled out by Chancellor George Osborne –as a currency union.

The Scottish Government’s White Paper Scotland’s Future plumped for Scotland being part of a new "Sterling Area" and the row over that currency union overshadowed the point that even if the UK Government rejected the Sterling Area plan, Scotland could still use the pound as its currency, whether linked to a Sterling Area or otherwise.

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Yesterday’s report made much the same conclusion, albeit with a time limit.

Salmond was most energised, however, by the report’s emphasis on productivity, immigration and trade as these are real problems that Scotland faces now and which independence could help to solve.

Salmond told The National: “What really matters to a country is productivity and trade.

“It is productivity and trade which govern the growth and success of an economy. Currently both our productivity and trade are being jeopardised.

“Our crucial trading links are under threat from the crazy Brexit policies of the Westminster Government. Those policies, such as we know of them, are also leading the UK to a collapse in international investment which will be bad for the economy as the figures released just this week have shown.

“Productivity is also being jeopardised by the ridiculous immigration policies of the Westminster Government which are stopping highly productive people coming to Scotland and contributing to the wealth and growth of this country.

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“They are jeopardising productivity, they are jeopardising our trading links, the two things that are absolutely instrumental to growth and success, and that is happening now.

“So the lesson for any country and the reason that Scotland needs independence is to secure these vital ingredients of economic success, of productivity and trade.”

In a sense, argued Salmond, the issue of what currency Scotland chooses is a matter for an independent Scotland to resolve at a time it suits the Scottish Government.

Salmond said: “Mark Carney, the Canadian governor of the Bank of England, already told a House of Commons committee this week before the Commission’s report was even out that Scotland could be in a currency union with the rest of the UK after independence.

“That assertion certainly upset Unionist politicians, but Mark Carney had already said something similar at the start of 2014, though that was not the way it was presented. I just wish he had been a bit clearer back then as it would have been of assistance to us as that was our position in the run-up to the independence referendum.

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“Mark Carney was telling the absolute truth in 2014 and he could have gone on to say that there are many currency positions that a country can take and a country should take a currency position which is most conducive to facilitating growth in its economy. Look around Europe and we see successful countries with different currency arrangements.

“Denmark has an independent currency in a fixed link with the euro and by contrast, Sweden has its own floating currency which is allowed to find its own level on international markets, despite the fact that they are both successful small countries and both part of the European Union. Finland on the other hand is fully integrated into the euro.

“You can do any of these things. You can use the currency of another country, and any and all of these things are possible.

“It was Mervyn King, the predecessor of Mark Carney at the Bank of England who has said a couple of times in recent years that Scotland could use sterling if it wanted to. “The fact is that nobody can stop Scotland using sterling if it wants to.

“But that is not the magic ingredient of economic success. For economic success, you need growth in productivity and trade, and then you choose which ever currency position best meets your requirements and which is most conducive to the prosperity and success of the country.”

Two governors of the Bank of England say Scotland can use the pound. The Sustainable Growth Commission and Alex Salmond agree.