Scotland could provide a “safe harbour” for financial institutions fleeing London if it becomes the only part of the UK to retain access to the single market after Brexit, MSPs have been told.
However, a Holyrood committee taking evidence from business leaders was also warned Scotland could lose millions in EU payments to farmers.
Hugh Chater, director of banking at Virgin Money, told MSPs that Edinburgh could become a “relocation safe harbour” if London loses EU passporting rights, which finance companies to trade across the continent.
He added it was “very credible” that Scotland’s financial services sector could gain an advantage from Brexit.
However, Fraser of Allander Institute director Professor Graeme Roy said there was “no other mechanism” to replace EU Common Agricultural Policy payments, 18 per cent of which go to farmers in Scotland.
And Scotland Food and Drink chief executive James Withers said there was an “urgent need to get reassurance” for the 30 per cent of the sector’s workforce from eastern Europe.