SNP leader Alex Salmond insists and independent Scotland would join the EU and keep the pound sterling in a currency union with the UK
SNP leader Alex Salmond insists an independent Scotland would join the EU and keep the pound sterling in a currency union with the UK Reuters

The Scottish National Party is trying to drum up support in the North of England by claiming that bordering an independent Scotland will help boost jobs and business prospects in the region.

According to extracts from a speech that the SNP's leader Alex Salmond will deliver later today - St. George's Day - the incumbent pro-independence political group will try to reinforce its belief that an independent Scotland will retain the pound, trade and transport links will stay strong, and the jobs market will improve.

"In this very spirit, I can therefore confirm that following a Yes vote in the referendum, the Scottish Government will host a series of special forums on economic co-operation with the north of England," Salmond will pledge, according to extracts of his speech released in advance by his office.

"It is a practical demonstration of co-operation and partnership between us - a partnership which will be strengthened by an outward looking, prosperous, independent Scotland."

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed that the UK has a North/South divide when it comes to joblessness.

The South West saw its unemployment rate tumble to 4.9%, down from 6.8% on the previous quarter. Likewise, the South East saw its total jobless rate fall to 5.1% in the three months to February, down from 5.3%.

However, the trend is reversed as you travel north.

The West Midlands, for instance, saw its jobless rate rise to 8.2% from 8.1%. Similarly, Yorkshire and Humber's jobless rate climbed to 8.5%, up from 8.4%.

Even in the regions where the out of work rate has fallen – the North East (9.3%) and the North West (7.6%) – the rates still well above the national average.

SNP's Promises

Scottish people will vote in an independence referendum on 18 September this year and will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

However, over the last three months, Britain's main political parties - the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, and Labour - have united in a bid to demolish the Scottish National Party's promise that an independent Scotland will keep the pound.

UK Chancellor George Osborne has explicitly said that "Scotland walks away from the UK, it walks away from the pound."

Job Centre
The South West saw its unemployment rate tumble to 4.9%, down from 6.8% on the previous quarter Reuters

SNP members have branded the comments as "bullying".

Recent polls have also shown that Scots believe Chancellor George Osborne is "bluffing" by ruling out a currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK.

According to research from YouGov, four in ten (40%) of the respondents said that Osborne was being sincere when he warned that an independent Scotland could not share sterling.

But almost half (45%) of the respondents said they thought the Conservative MP and other Westminster politicians are deploying the warning as an empty threat, designed to win support for the "no" campaign.

However, it is not just UK political parties that have smacked down SNP's claims over and independent Scotland keeping the pound – a raft of economists and research houses have also said that it is unlikely to remain in a currency union of the country breaks away from Britain.

The Confederation of British Industry has repeatedly launched a scathing attack on the SNP's economic plan, in the event the country breaks away from the UK, by saying it "doesn't add up".

It has since pledged official allegiance to the No campaign on its economic findings.

Fitch Ratings and a number of investment banks, including Citi and JPMorgan, and major financials have all warned on the unlikeliness of an independent Scotland keeping the pound.