Posted by Allison on 14 September 2015, 15:23
Imagine living in Scotland, going online to buy something and paying in ScotPounds. This could be the future if an idea from an economic think-tank actually takes flight.
Everyone will remember the drama surrounding the Scottish independence vote that occurred last year. One of the major issues that came to the fore was the question of which currency Scotland would use if the vote did come in for independence. Obviously that didn’t happen and it became a moot point. However before we knew that for sure, there was a lot of uncertainty over what the country would do for a currency.
Now the New Economics Forum (NEF) has proposed a digital currency for Scotland that would be very similar to the BitCoin. Their research into the idea has revealed the potential for £200 million in additional revenues from tax. These would go to the Scottish government and thus provide a major boost to the country.
They also propose that everyone in Scotland – at least everyone on the electoral roll, which amounts to 97% of the people in Scotland – would get S£250 to start things off. This would act as a citizens’ dividend. It would undoubtedly get a lot of interest into the project as people would use this money to buy things online they may not otherwise have bought. They would obviously buy from Scottish businesses too, which would keep the money in the country and benefiting businesses there.
This is only a suggestion, an idea – but it has hit the headlines this week. It is something we could possibly see in the future, although it remains to be seen whether the idea really does take off. The idea is that it could kick-start a whole new currency, for use only in Scotland, and it could be something those in charge could start now. According to Duncan McCann at NEF, there is no reason to suppose the ScotPound they have suggested could not be put into action now.
If this did happen, Scotland would be the first country in the entire world to do it. The country would still use sterling though, so if it did go independent at some stage in the future there would still likely be an issue there to be resolved. It is not a magic cure-all for that problem, if it should rear its head again. This is instead all about supporting local businesses and keeping the currency within Scotland.
It is certainly a novel idea but it remains to be seen whether those in charge in Scotland would ever bring it in to being. Certainly there doesn’t seem to be too much in the way of comment from Holyrood at the moment, although that doesn’t necessarily mean there is no one there who could believe in it. Watch this space.