Thomas Burgess, in stating his intention to boycott B&Q as a result of its chief executive having the gall to express a view on the referendum (Letters, 2 June), gives us yet another example of the SNP’s much trumpeted “fair, equal and democratic society” that we could enjoy in the event of a Yes vote.
Anyone speaking for No is vilified on the internet and has their business threatened with boycotts. Mr Burgess, however, in his haste to condemn Sir Ian Cheshire completely misses the point.
He quotes Ireland and China as examples of countries in which the company operates as it does in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
The difference is that the countries in which B&Q operates have established financial structures which are understood by B&Q and within which it can plan and operate.
It would be a very foolish move for any business to embark on major investment, ahead of the referendum, in an environment where there was a huge amount of uncertainty over EU membership and conditions, VAT, currency, interest rates, taxation, cross-border controls and many other aspects of forecasting for investment.
For this reason inward investment will slow down in the run-up to the referendum and will grind to a virtual halt in the unlikely event of a Yes vote as companies will prefer to invest where they can see a stable financial structure.
It has long since become tiresome, but still must not go unremarked, that any question against a Yes vote is simply dismissed as scaremongering or bluff.
Thomas R Burgess takes B&Q chief, Sir Ian Cheshire, to task for stating that further company development in Scotland will be put on hold until currency arrangements are finalised, should the vote be Yes. Is this not a perfectly reasonable reaction from a company head, for whom financial matters are, to say the least, quite important?
Mr Burgess questions why currency is not therefore an issue for Sir Ian in the Irish Republic or the People’s Republic of China, but the reason is because it is a settled matter in these countries, unlike here in Scotland where, with only three months until the referendum, we still await answers to many key questions.
As for Mr Burgess’s suggestion that B&Q merely wishes to “suck money” out of Scotland, I would urge him not to feel hard done by. Believe it or not, this is the aim of every company, including Scottish ones, that operate internationally, although they usually describe it as “entering into a mutually beneficial partnership”.
Walter J Allan
Colinton Mains Drive