Almost nine out of ten small and medium-sized businesses do not want a second independence referendum, according to a survey conducted by a Scottish-based accountancy firm, French Duncan.
French Duncan sought the views of small and medium businesses after Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to call for a second referendum.
Within 24 hours the accountancy firm had received 800 responses. French Duncan acknowledged that their survey was not a scientific study, but it found that 88 per cent of those who responded did not want another independence poll.
In addition, 86 per cent opposed the idea of independence and 89 per cent felt the financial case for breaking up the UK had weakened.
Tory economy spokesman Dean Lockhart said: “This survey sends a crystal-clear message to the SNP that Scotland does not want another independence referendum. Businesses across the country believe that independence would have a significantly negative impact on our economy. Even just the threat of a second independence referendum is hindering investment in Scotland. It would be completely wrong for this SNP government to ignore these widely held concerns.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “French Duncan themselves do not profess that the output of this survey is accurate nor even reflective of the whole of the Scottish business community. What is clear, however, is that by far the biggest threat to Scotland’s economy is a hard Brexit, which threatens to cost our economy around £11 billion a year by 2030, and cost the country 80,000 jobs over a decade.
“By giving people an alternative to a hard Brexit, the people of Scotland can choose to make their own decisions and to build on our strong economy.”
The survey was published as MSPs prepare for the final day of debating a second referendum this Tuesday in Holyrood.
Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser will accuse the Scottish Government of double standards when he closes the debate for his party.
With the vote expected to go in favour of a second poll, the SNP claims Theresa May is guilty of a “democratic outrage” by blocking the vote. Fraser will claim Scottish ministers have ignored Holyrood votes which have gone against them.
“How can it be a democratic outrage for Westminster not to respond to votes in the Scottish Parliament when the Scottish Government treat them with contempt,” Fraser will say.
A SNP spokesman said: “The people of Scotland elected a majority of MSPs with the option of supporting another referendum if there was a vote for Brexit that Scotland did not support – a bigger proportion than the MPs elected in 2015 who supported the EU referendum that has brought about this situation.”