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English oppose sharing pound with independent Scotland

AFP-JIJI

A majority of English people oppose Scotland continuing to use the pound if it votes to become independent in next month’s referendum, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The question of whether Scotland could keep the pound if it leaves the United Kingdom has become a defining issue in the debate ahead of the vote on Sept. 18.

First Minister Alex Salmond and his Scottish National Party (SNP) insist Scotland should have a formal, euro-style monetary union with what would remain of the United Kingdom: England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But the three main British parties reject any such arrangement.

Fifty-three percent of respondents to a Future of England survey disagreed with Scotland keeping the pound if it goes it alone. Only 23 percent agreed that Scotland should continue to use the pound if it votes to quit the union.

SNP Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed an overwhelming majority of Scots believe the pound would belong to an independent Scotland just as much as the rest of the U.K. “And they are right, because the pound is Scotland’s currency, too,” she said.

Salmond has said an independent Scotland would not take on its share of the U.K.’s national debt if it could not have a formal currency union.