Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Sunday, 4 January 2009

Salmond in call for euro rethink

Worker holding Euro notes
Only a few Scottish businesses and tourist attractions accept the euro

The Scottish first minister has said the time is right to look again at the option of the UK adopting the euro.

Alex Salmond claimed there was a strong argument in favour of the euro, particularly as sterling declined.

He said that in the short term, shops, restaurants and pubs should accept the euro from foreign tourists.

And he told BBC Radio Scotland that the arguments for and against adopting the euro as the UK's currency should be re-examined.

Mr Salmond said: "I think there is a strong argument for the euro, and I think as sterling declines even further that argument is being made very strongly.

"Of course in the short term, businesses in Scotland should follow the example of the official government agencies like Historic Scotland and make it clear to the many European visitors we hope to welcome to Scotland for the Year of Homecoming that their currency and their money is very much accepted in the tills of Scotland."

The first minister said many of the "claimed advantages" of retaining sterling as currency were now not as strong as the chancellor thought they were, and called for a reassessment.

'Warmly welcomed'

His comments followed those of SNP MSP Willie Coffey, who said foreign tourists should be able to spend euros in Scotland's shops, pubs and restaurants to make life easier for visitors coming to the Homecoming celebrations.

Homecoming events are being hosted by the Scottish Government to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of poet Robert Burns.

Mr Coffey, the MSP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, called on banks to work with the retail and tourist sectors to help them improve their capacity for trading in the euro.

"The message that Scotland is open for euro business would be warmly received by visitors from eurozone countries and by many others for whom Scotland will be one stop in a wider European trip", he added.



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