THE independence campaign has been labelled “the biggest threat” to a lasting economic legacy from Glasgow hosting this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
Power plant boss Angus Cockburn said the referendum risked undermining an opportunity to underscore Scotland’s industrial history and drive home the message that the country is “open to business”.
“We have got to keep the games apolitical,” warned Cockburn, interim chief executive of generator company Aggreko.
Other business leaders have expressed similar concerns, noting that foreign visitors switch the focus from discussing the games to the question of independence.
The Games run from 23 July to 3 August, closing less than seven weeks before the referendum on 18 September.
Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said the aim was to build an economic legacy like that reaped by Manchester after it hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2002.
However, many of those benefits accumulate in the months following the event, so a quick shift in focus could undermine efforts to fully capitalise on business opportunities.
Patrick and Cockburn were speaking at the launch of a campaign by Aggreko to build a lasting Commonwealth Games legacy for Glasgow.
Entitled “Generating Powerful Partnerships”, speakers included Games committee chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin, and David Murdoch, captain of the British Olympic medal winning men’s curling team.
Aggreko, which hosted the launch at its facility in Dumbarton, also unveiled specially-commissioned artwork across one of the 153 generators it will supply to help power the games. Painted by Glasgow street artist Rogue One, the generator will tour various venues during the Games.
The FTSE-100 firm is supplying power and temperature control equipment across 29 venues, including several stadia, the operations centre and the athletes’ village.
It will also supply the International Broadcast Centre at the SECC.
“Aggreko has a great track record of supporting large events worldwide and the company has been a welcome addition to the Glasgow 2014 sponsor family as our official temporary power supporter,” Lord Smith said.
“It’s great to have a highly-regarded global power firm with headquarters in the Glasgow area and an impressive manufacturing plant in Dumbarton supporting us as we prepare to welcome the world to the largest multi-sport event Scotland has ever hosted.”
Aggreko operates in more than 100 countries, including 31 of the 53 that will be represented at the 20th Commonwealth Games. Other major events where its equipment will be used this year include the forthcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the Ryder Cup competition at Gleneagles in September.