Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill’s statement that the potential relocation of the financial sector to London is “a purely technical matter” is misleading and does not reflect reality.
Any financial sector company wishing to have the ultimate backing of the Bank of England has to be headquartered there, with all of its top management and all of its compliance records and staff similarly deployed.
That is not “a technicality” and it means that the ultimate control and sanction which rests with the management team and all of its supporting staff will be in England – not in Scotland.
Initially, routine clerical computing and other local services may remain in Edinburgh – but the higher management posts will undoubtedly gravitate to England – because that is where the financial power and backing will come from.
Similarly, financial policy and lending decisions will be made in England, under the direct control and supervision of the Bank of England.
It is a small step from there, to the realisation that in any future times of financial stringency it will be the UK business customers who will have first call on the resources and support of British banks.
That is the reality of the consequences of a Yes vote.
The Royal Bank of Scotland saying it will move its headquarters to London if there is a Yes vote is an attempt to influence how Scottish people will vote in the referendum and as such is a totally undemocratic action.
I will accept whichever way the majority votes in the referendum, even if the outcome is not the one I would like – because I believe in democracy.
I am disgusted at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s attempt to influence the vote in Scotland and undermine the democratic process. It is just a form of blackmail.
I have been a customer of RBS for 30 years but will now close my accounts and move my money to another bank.
Regardless of the outcome of the referendum I will have nothing more to do with RBS.
The news that RBS might move its brass plate is welcome. However, it should also consider a change of name. Perhaps it should just call itself National Westminster because it seems to prefer the politicians there.
RBS has been a stain on the Scottish character since its former chief executive, Fred Goodwin, destroyed a credible Scottish company. It now limps along so a complete renewal would be welcome.
As for all the other businesses clamouring to get the train south, they should remember this is a market economy.
If one company moves out another moves in to fill the vacuum. Markets are about supply and demand and demand is still going to exist in Scotland. Standard Life and other investment companies can pop south but there are going to be other companies standing in line to fill the gap.
Scotland might only have around a 12th of the economy of England and Wales but it is still an important economy in the Western world. The chairman of John Lewis Partnership Sir Charles Mayfield did his partner staff in Scotland no favours with his suggestion of higher prices in Scotland.
The other stores and supermarkets must have thought the festive season had arrived early. Perhaps he should change his company strapline to “Never knowingly undersold except in Scotland”.
Bruce D Skivington
Gairloch, Wester Ross
Will the First Minister please tell us how he would run the economy when the only banks in the country are branches of foreign banks whose lending and other policies will be decided in the UK.
E T Regan