Businesses that were “vehemently” opposed to independence are now considering whether leaving the UK could provide greater certainty if Scotland could remain in the European Union, a Holyrood minister said.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said that there are a “number of businesses” which are considering that situation, despite the uncertainty another referendum could bring.
He spoke out after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the SNP conference in Glasgow an Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation within days.
Mr Brown told a fringe event hosted by the CBI that there “seems to be something of a change right now”, where businesses as part of scenario planning are “looking at the possibility that we could have an independent Scotland in the rounds of the EU and whether that provides the certainty - even though it would be uncertain to get to that point”.
He stated: “There are businesses which were pretty vehemently No last time that are looking at that amongst the other options.”
CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn stressed independence is a “decision of the Scottish people”.
The business organisation had campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU, but she added: “We were very clear we were making the economic case, we thought that was our duty and our obligation as the representatives of business, to lay the facts out as clearly as we could, recognising people could make other decisions based on factors to do with sovereignty, security and other factors”.
Ms Fairbairn said: “This really is a decision for the Scottish people, I’m not just saying that I really mean that.
“If there is a decision to have another referendum, at that point we will consult our members as we have in the past.”