The UK government owns 64 per cent of the ordinary shares in RBS. That means I and everyone else in Scotland owns a share of the company – roughly 615 each.
This must surely mean the bank should remain completely impartial and unbiased in its actions relating to the Scottish referendum on independence.
Its board must, therefore, cancel the bank’s membership of the Confederation of British Industry. The same probably applies to Lloyds Group as any ownership by the UK government/us presumably means they should remain neutral and not support any anti-independence organisation like the CBI?
I NOTE that several Scottish universities have emphasised, by withdrawing from the Scottish CBI, that they are attempting to be neutral in the independence referendum (your report, 22 April).
By taking such a stance they may be actually jeopardising the future of the research funding that is so central to their mission. Scottish universities benefit greatly from current UK arrangements for pooling research funds and allocating them on the basis of competition.
Scottish universities currently earn 14 per cent of UK research council and charitable body research funding with only just over 8 per cent of the UK population. If Scotland votes Yes in the independence referendum on 18 September these arrangements will become part of a long list of negotiating matters. Why would a UK government, in those circumstances, want to persist with arrangements that offer a net transfer of resources to an independent Scotland? And would it not prefer to retain them for universities in the rest of the United Kingdom?
I worry that leaders of Scotland’s universities are so concerned not to offend their primary paymaster, the Scottish Government, that they are willing to jeopardise the research funding that is the basis of their longer term success.
(Prof) Norman Bonney