Alex Salmond
First Minister Alex Salmond has hailed the UK Treasury's promise to underwrite British debt as a victory for the nationalistsReuters

Alex Salmond said the pledge by the UK Treasury to underwrite all British debt until the date of the Scottish referendum was a victory for his independence campaign.

The nationalists were in a stronger position after what Salmond argued was a climbdown by the Treasury on the complex question of how British debt would be shared and underwritten.

"This is recognition that the Treasury is starting to come to terms with reality - they have issued the debt and therefore have the responsibility for it.

"This is a case of the Treasury being hoist on their own petard as they have effectively endorsed the common sense approach proposed by the Fiscal Commission a year ago and that we outlined in the Scotland's Future paper published last November," he said.

The Fiscal Commission set up the Scottish government looked into the issues of how debt between the UK and Scotland would be shared.

The Scottish government has concluded that a share of Scotland's debt will not be transferred automatically once independence is achieved but will require negotiation between politicians in Edinburgh and London.

"These documents make clear that we remain prepared to negotiate taking responsibility for financing a fair share of the debts of the UK provided of course Scotland secures a fair share of the assets, including the monetary assets," added Salmond.

He also blamed any economic uncertainty and fears of rising borrowing costs on the British government.

"Any market uncertainty in the gilts market has been caused by their own refusal to discuss the terms of independence before the referendum and it is their own insistence that Scotland would be a new state that lands them with the unambiguous legal title to the accumulated debts of the United Kingdom.

"That position is now beyond argument and today's announcement makes clear that Scotland would be in an extremely strong negotiating position to secure that fair deal.

"The UK Government would be well advised to stop all the bluff and bluster around these matters and accept our offer of sensible discussions. There is a great benefit in being responsible and following the approach of the Edinburgh Agreement in letter and in spirit," he said.

On the issue of the currency he said that polling evidence of English people overwhelmingly favoured sharing a common currency.

However, the ex-chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling compared Salmond's behaviour to a "South American generalissimo" who was "playing with fire".