Scottish independence: RBS move ‘won’t impact jobs’

Royal Bank Of Scotland's headquarters at Gogarburn. Picture: TSPL
Royal Bank Of Scotland's headquarters at Gogarburn. Picture: TSPL
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Contingency plans drawn up by Royal Bank of Scotland in the event of Scottish independence would have no impact on jobs or operations, according to the First Minister.

Alex Salmond claimed the announcement from the bank had been used by the UK Government as part of its political campaign.

RBS and Lloyds Banking Group have said they will register themselves in England if Scotland votes for independence in next week’s referendum.

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The First Minister told BBC Radio Scotland: “I’ve just been handed the letter that the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland sent out to staff this morning and let me read you it: ‘It’s my view as chief executive that any decision to move our registered headquarters would have no impact on everyday banking services used by customers in Scotland.

“’This is a technical procedure regarding the location of our registered head office, based on our current strategy and business plan. It is not an intention to move operations or jobs’.”

The First Minister added: “The first news of this came to the BBC from a source within the UK Government, within the Treasury, not from the letter from the chief executive issued this morning which makes clear there’s no impact on operations or jobs.

“It’s part of a political campaign during this referendum campaign from the UK Government.”

Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax and Bank of Scotland, said last night it has plans in place to set up new ‘’legal entities’’ in England if Scotland votes Yes in a week’s time.

RBS, which has been based in Scotland since 1727, has also said that it would be necessary to re-domicile the Bank’s holding company and its main operating entity to England.

Meanwhile, the John Lewis Partnership issued a warning that shoppers in Scotland are likely to face higher prices if the country goes it alone.

Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said it had no plans to reduce its commercial presence north of the border, where it has nine shops, a contact centre and employs more than 3,000 people.

The latest Survation poll for the Daily Record puts support for the Union at 53% and backing for independence on 47%, when undecided voters are excluded.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney predicted the banks would stay as he was “very confident” a currency union would be agreed in the event of a Yes vote.

Uncertainty was entirely down to the “refusal of the United Kingdom Government and the Labour Party to expressly engage in a reasoned discussion” on the issue, he said.

He said yesterday’s visits of the Westminster party leaders to Scotland demonstrated how likely they were to change tack if independence is backed in the referendum.

“The minute the UK political establishment believes there is a possibility of us being successful they rush to come to some agreement, to be involved in this process,” Mr Swinney told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

“It is very clear to see from the actions of the UK party leaders.

“So if we get a Yes vote a week today, then what we will have is an emphatic mandate to make sure that Scotland secures that currency union.

“I am very confident.”

He insisted that the Scottish Government had always been clear that it recognised that operating in a currency union would mean “some fiscal constraints”.

“We would have to operate within an agreed framework. We would have to have shared banking regulation.

“These elements are not resisted by us. These are elements that we wholly accept as being part and parcel of the argument.”