DCSIMG

UK businesses ‘do not back currency union’

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  • by TOM PETERKIN
 

The majority of businesses based elsewhere in the UK do not support a currency union with an independent Scotland, a survey claims today.

A British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey of 2,400 employers based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland found that just 35 per cent support a formal currency union with Scotland.

A formal currency union that would enable Scotland to keep sterling while continuing to share the Bank of England as a central bank is a key economic policy of the SNP.

The survey also found that 85 per cent of firms elsewhere in the UK supported Scotland remaining within the Union.

On the currency questions, 28 per cent said a separate Scotland should have its own currency and 18 per cent said an independent Scotland should adopt the euro.

Last night, Edinburgh South Labour MP and shadow business minister Ian Murray said: “Hundreds of thousands of Scots are employed by firms based elsewhere in the UK, so it’s important that the voice of these large employers is heard in this debate.

“Our UK single market means that businesses can sell their goods throughout the whole of the UK without any barriers between them and their customers. Why would we want to put that at risk?

“This survey confirms what some of Scotland’s largest employers like Standard Life, RBS and Shell have made clear. Breaking up the UK would create huge risks and cost jobs in Scotland.

“The majority of businesses in the rest of the UK do not support a currency union. It would be bad for Scotland and bad for the rest of the UK. That’s why it is off the table. What people in Scotland need from the Nationalists is some honesty about what would replace the pound if we leave the UK.”

Scottish Conservative enterprise spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “We know the threat of separation is causing extreme tension among employers in Scotland. What is now becoming clear is it’s a headache for the vast majority of businesses in the rest of the UK too.

“They don’t want to break apart a system that works very well, and these are the people who know best.

“And a complete lack of clarity from the SNP about a range of factors like currency and regulation is the reason so many people are panicking about the prospect of separation.”

The SNP reacted to the survey by pointing to a finding, which suggested that 63 per cent of businesses outside Scotland believed it was important to reform the arrangements of allocating public expenditure within the UK.

The SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said: “Today’s survey absolutely underlines the need to vote Yes in September to ensure that Scotland can protect its budget.

“On top of unprecedented cuts we’ve already seen, senior figures at Westminster are committed to slashing another £4 billion from Scotland’s public services.”

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