David Mundell: Union opens doors for us

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SCOTLAND Office Minister David Mundell will use a keynote speech to American business leaders to warn that independence would weaken Scottish business interests overseas.

Mr Mundell will tell a gathering in Chicago today, as part of Tartan Week in the United States, to claim that being part of Britain “opens doors for Scotland” and allows the country to “punch above our weight”.

The Tory minister will claim the UK’s muscle of 270 diplomatic posts, employing more than 14,000 people, would deliver a better deal in terms of promoting overseas investment opportunities for Scottish firms.

Mr Mundell, who is speaking at the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) briefing in Chicago, will also claim that the UK’s overseas network of support for Scottish firms is 20 times bigger than Ireland’s and almost ten times bigger than Norway’s, in a clear attack on the economic viability of an independent Scotland.

The minister is meeting business leaders on trade mission to Chicago, New York and Philadelphia during Tartan Week, an annual celebration of Scottish heritage.

However, a spokesman for finance secretary John Swinney accused him of promoting “a scare story”.