As Scotland’s voters opted to remain part of the United Kingdom, business leaders today called for both sides of the campaign to work together and focus on economic growth.
David Watt, executive director of IoD Scotland, said: “Many will have been looking forward to this day thinking that it would be the culmination of what has been a long and, at times, energising rather than enlightening campaign.
“But, the reality is, the work to build Scotland’s future was always going to begin today.”
He added: “For now, any thought of Yes or No colours must be set aside as we work towards a deal for Scotland that allows us to move forward with confidence.”
Owen Kelly, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said uncertainties that would have been thrown up by a Yes vote could now be put aside “and we can concentrate our efforts on promoting Scotland as an international financial centre within the UK”.
“Clearly there will be changes to the governance of Scotland but the currency and regulatory environment within which our industry has had so much success remains intact,” he added.
“We look forward to joining any discussions about increased powers for the Scottish Parliament.”
Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron said the independence debate had divided opinion across the entire UK and “it is now time for us to come together and work hand in hand, embracing our dynamism, energy and skills”.
She added: “There remain many other challenges. The European Union is a key trading market for Scotland, as is the rest of the UK, so continued access to these markets will be critical for business. We urge early discussions to maintain this position.”
Andy Willox, Scottish policy convenor of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The result is clear. We must now focus on the future and how we can come together to make Scotland the best place to live, work and do business.
“With the Scottish Parliament set to become a more powerful actor in our economy, the touchstones of the new devolution settlement must be boosting business and growth. In the weeks and months to come, we look forward to playing our part in making that happen.”
CBI director-general John Cridland said: “This is a momentous day for our United Kingdom and this result will be greeted by a collective sigh of relief across the business community.
“Business has always believed that the Union is best for creating jobs, raising growth and improving living standards, and welcomes that the people of Scotland want to play an integral role in this internationally successful partnership.”
Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business, said: “Many of our members, and other small businesses owners, will be relieved with the outcome, given the uncertainty for business which has been created throughout the campaign, which would have surely continued in the event of a yes vote.
“The Forum of Private Business will ensure their voice is heard by Scotland’s leaders to help positively influence the use of additional powers that Westminster has already promised to grant them.”