ANDREW Wilson’s claim that it could take an independent Scotland 10 years to develop a Scottish pound has been met with anger by one of those who forced the SNP leadership to change the party’s position on currency.

In an interview with the Herald on Sunday, the chairman of the SNP’s Growth Commission said he believed Scotland could be fully independent by 2026 after a referendum and negotiations during the next Holyrood term.

However, Wilson warned it could take another “five to 10 years” for the introduction of a Scottish pound. He said rushing it could “be short-term risky, politically difficult, and it would make the cost of government borrowing more expensive.”

At the SNP’s conference last year, members voted to replace the pound with a separate Scottish currency “as soon as practicable”.

This went against the party leadership, who backed a more gradual transition to a new currency.

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Tim Rideout from the Scottish Currency Group, who was instrumental in changing the party’s position, wasn’t impressed with Wilson’s interview.

He told The National: “Andrew Wilson hasn’t a clue on currency. Given he was actually at the debate, it seems he does not even know what the SNP policy is.

“Conference was explicit that we start the preparations for a new currency ‘as soon as practicable after a vote for independence’ such that we are ready to introduce that currency ‘as soon as practicable after Independence Day’. Whatever else it might mean, nobody would say ‘ASAP’ was 10 years.”

In his interview Wilson said Scotland would need to “accept that we don’t have monetary sovereignty for the first period after independence.”

He added: “After all, we don’t have it now,” he said. “We’d have all other powers. The monetary policy situation that we have now would continue until such a time that it’s no longer in our interests.”

Wilson continued: “We’ve big integration with the rest of the UK – mortgages, pension, wages. So if you were to say right from day one that we’ve our own currency, then you don’t know what’s going to happen to your pay, your pension.

“It’s risky towards the economy and also politically risky because people would be uncertain and we’d spend the whole referendum campaign talking about what would happen to mortgages and pensions – and therefore having a referendum on what would happen in the first few weeks, rather than over the next 25 years.”

Rideout said this “sterlingisation” would be “economically and politically risky.”

He added: “It is likely this policy would collapse within weeks of the indyref2 campaign starting as the No side will just say we will be like every other country and introduce our own currency.

“After independence and leaving the sterling area then it is sterlingisation that is extremely risky. It is absolutely not the same as using sterling within the UK.

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“There is no lender of last resort, there is no control of things like interest rates, borrowing will be much more expensive – not less as he claims – because we will have to go to the international markets, and there is no source of emergency funds for something like the pandemic.”

Rideout said Wilson’s call to sort out borrowing, taxation, growth and exports before introducing a Scottish pound would be a “massive failing as it demonstrates no appreciation for the fact that it is having our own currency which enables these things to happen.”

He added that the “finances of any state with its own currency are always sustainable.”

“The only time they are not is if a state breaks the cardinal rule and borrows in a foreign currency. Borrowing in dollars was the downfall of Venezuela, Argentina, and many others. Strangely, borrowing in a foreign currency is precisely what Wilson would have Scotland do.”

In the interview, Wilson said independence would be long, hard work.

“If we’re striving to be as good as a society as somewhere like Denmark, it could take a generation,” he said.