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Scottish referendum: Business coalition speaks out against independence



In the wake of the latest televised debate over Scotland’s case for independence, more than 100 business leaders have spoken out against the vote – stating no feasible business case has yet been made for leaving the UK.

The intervention, which has come in the form of an open letter, is the largest from the UK business community so far.

The leaders said, “As job creators, we have looked carefully at the arguments made by both sides of the debate,” adding, “Our conclusion is that the business case for independence has not been made.”

Voters will decide next month if Scotland should remain in the United Kingdom, potentially breaking a 307-year union.

The debate has been heavily focused on North Sea Oil, currency, regulation, tax, pensions, EU membership and support for exports.

The letter has followed two televised debates between Alistair Darling, ex-chancellor of the exchequer and leader of the pro-union Better Together campaign and Alex Salmond, first minister of Scotland and leader of the ‘say no’ campaign.

Polling after the first debate recorded a victory for Darling, who emphasised similar doubts regarding Salmond’s decision to gain a currency union between Scotland and the UK, regardless of a lack of support from Westminster.

The second debate, aired earlier this week, saw an overwhelming flood of support for Salmond, who believed a currency union was a legal right of Scotland’s, and would be gained, regardless of the “fear mongering” presented by the opposition campaign.

The open letter was organised by Keith Cochrane, chief executive of Glasgow-based engineer Weir Group Plc. Signatories include Douglas Flint, group chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc, Andrew Mackenzie, chief executive officer of BHP Billiton Plc, Simon Thomson, CEO of Cairn Energy Plc and Angus Cockburn, interim CEO of Aggreko Plc.

Most businesses in the UK have avoided commenting on the referendum, with scepticism on both sides regarding the benefits of independence for Scotland and its effect on business. Reports analysing the profitability of North Sea Oil have also been questioned, raising concerns over the sustainability of Scotland’s economy if its citizens did vote against staying in the union.

Photo source: odolphie via flickr

Further Reading:

Scottish Independence: Salmond gains ground over Darling in second TV debate

Scottish Independence: Darling and Salmond debate energy, business and banking

The Scottish referendum is good news for renewable energy

Alex Salmond announces £20m local energy fund

Scottish North Sea’s oil reserves six times higher than estimated, business group says


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