CBI President Paul Drechsler has claimed the threat of another independence referendum is causing uncertainty for businesses and called on politicians to focus on delivering a clear UK/EU deal.
Mr Drechsler said getting a Brexit deal that is sympathetic to the needs of Scotland should be the priority as he set out his priorities for Scottish businesses.
At the CBI Scotland Annual Lunch in Edinburgh, Mr Drechsler also urged the new UK Government to secure the status of EU nationals in the UK and start working on a trading relationship with the EU.
Mr Drechsler said: “The new UK government, whoever it is, will have to take action quickly. In particular, they should secure the status of EU citizens in the UK, rule out a collapse into WTO trade rules and start conversations about our future trading relationship with the EU as soon as possible. And all the while taking Scotland, and the other devolved nations, with them.
“These three quick wins could get negotiations off to a cracking start and help give business the certainty it needs to hire and invest.”
Turning to the Scottish political situation, Mr Drechsler said: “Everybody knows that business abhors uncertainty. And it doesn’t matter how keen Scottish businesses are to thrive, at the moment there’s more than enough uncertainty to go round.
“That’s why we at the CBI think that the current priority should be clarity on what a future UK-EU deal could look like, and ensuring the needs of Scotland are included. Rather than constitutional issues.”
His remarks were welcomed by the Scottish Conservatives, who said they were another sign that businesses do not want another independence vote.
Murdo Fraser, finance spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “The CBI has spoken for job creators and workers all over Scotland. We have had enough of the SNP’s endless constitutional division. We desperately need a government focused on the day job.
“NIcola Sturgeon must listen. Scotland is on the brink of a recession. That’s because the SNP’s unwanted demand for a second referendum has slammed the brakes on Scotland’s economy.”
He added: “If they won’t listen to the CBI, we can send them a message they can’t ignore on June 8th by voting Scottish Conservative and saying no to a second referendum.”