Scottish independence: Uncertainty over vote ‘biggest bogeyman’ for business
ONE of the UK’s leading business figures will warn today that the independence debate has laid “a thick layer of uncertainty” over Scotland’s future, as he backs the case for the Union.
CBI director general John Cridland will use a speech in Glasgow to argue that the private sector on both sides of the Border “would lose out from the fragmentation of our UK single market”.
He will argue that the example of the monarchy, the currency, the armed forces and the success of Team GB in the Olympics have shown that the Scots and the English are better off in the same country.
“We do so much together, and have done for so long, that I think we forget the value of it,” he will say.
However, the SNP hit back last night, insisting Scotland was already suffering uncertainty due to Westminster policies.
Mr Cridland’s warnings come with the detail of the forthcoming referendum still to be agreed on. Uncertainty, he will say, is “the biggest bogeyman” for business, and he will criticise the lack of progress in laying out the case for and against independence.
“Reading the coverage, you could be mistaken for thinking that the only issues are: when the referendum will be held; who’ll be able to vote; and what the question will be.
“What I think the Scottish people – and, indeed, all the British people – really want to know is what separation or continuing Union would mean to them and their families.”
He will say the CBI’s “collective view” is that it is “not convinced of the business and economic case for Scotland seceding from the Union”. But he will concede that the business body would respect the will of the people of Scotland, adding: “If the vote is a Yes to independence, the CBI will, of course, work with the mandate. We have always said the decision is one for the Scottish people.”
A spokesman for finance secretary John Swinney said: “The only uncertainty being caused to Scottish businesses at the moment is through the dismal economic policies of the UK government, and its failure to properly invest in capital projects – which Mr Cridland is himself on record as criticising.”
Scottish Labour’s shadow finance secretary, Ken Macintosh MSP, said: “The CBI has joined the chorus of calls warning that the SNP government’s obsession with separation is distracting them from focusing on what matters – creating jobs and growth.”
Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “Alex Salmond’s argument for independence is flimsy at best, and has no backing from the business community.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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