ASH Regan has said she will see “what steps can be taken now” to begin setting up a new Scottish currency if she is chosen as the next SNP leader and first minister.

Announcing her policy on creating a new Scottish pound, Regan took a swipe at the “foolhardy” plan announced by Nicola Sturgeon in late 2022 to keep using sterling after independence and continue to rely on the Bank of England as the central bank.

The SNP contender said that as first minister she would “explore what steps can be taken now under the powers of the Scottish Parliament to start to build the infrastructure of a new currency”.

She went on: “If we are to be serious about independence then we need to get our preparations right, and I believe we can start to build the outline of an independent country now.

READ MORE: Launching a Scottish pound will be straightforward, but we must plan ahead

“My view of this isn't only informed by the economics – though I think the economics make clear that it is a foolhardy country which thinks it can prosper in the global economy without the backing of a powerful central bank – it is also informed by my belief that if we want the public to have the courage to choose independence then they must see us having the courage to do what it takes to make a successful nation.

“I don't believe that continually deliberating about when we will get round to introducing our own currency shows that courage.”

In October 2022, the SNP-Green government published the third paper in its Building A New Scotland series, which focused on the economy and laid out currency proposals.

Sturgeon (below) laid out its plans to keep using sterling after a Yes vote through an informal currency union until certain criteria are met, allowing for the transition to a new Scottish pound.

Such an informal union would see an independent Scotland continue to use sterling, but without any say at the central bank or any control over things like interest rates.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon during her resignation speech

The plan came under heavy fire from experts after it was announced, with the pro-independence economist Professor Richard Murphy saying they were poor enough that he would vote No in a referendum.

Dr Iain Hardie, a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, said the majority of the Scottish Government’s criteria for setting up a new currency should be met by the point of independence anyway.

He told this paper that the informal currency union proposed by the Scottish Government was “without doubt the worst possible currency option for an independent Scotland”.

READ MORE: SNP activists speak out against Scottish Government currency plans

Regan said that as SNP leader she would encourage the party “to look again at its position on currency”.

She said: “I don't believe a country can be truly independent if it is using another currency but has no say over how that currency is managed.

“It is not for me to dictate to the party what our final position on this should be, but I will make clear that I think the best option for Scotland is for us to move as quickly as is practicable to our own currency. I also believe that if we prepare properly before we have a vote on independence then the timescale for implementing a currency can be short.”

Regan’s campaign met with Dr Tim Rideout of the Scottish Currency Group ahead of the currency announcement. Rideout said: "I think the SNP membership and the Scottish Currency Group will love her currency policy. It will be just what is needed to get the indy case moving forward."