Independence: Firms likely to remain neutral - Yes chief

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BIG business and corporations are likely to remain “neutral” in the run-up to the independence referendum, the head of the Yes campaign has said.

Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland, said firms were weary of the “downsides” to declaring their support for either independence or the status quo.

Some business chiefs have voiced concerns that speaking out against separation could result in “unpleasant” attacks from SNP supporters.

Mr Jenkins told activists in Inverness: “It’s probably true more so this time than it was in the ’79 referendum or the ’97 one, I think, that there’s less appetite to come out stridently one way or another among people who run big corporations or big national and multi-national companies.

“I think they think there are downsides in coming out too stridently and saying that you are for or against something.

“If you look at the campaign so far there have been relatively few corporate entities who have spoken out – most who have spoken out have tended to say it makes no difference to us.

“We’ll carry on, we’ll do business, we’ll trade just as well if Scotland is independent than if it stays in the UK.”

Mr Jenkins added: “We know that of those who have yet to decide how they will vote, a large number are women.

“Over the next 18 months we will be setting out in detail why independence offers them the best path to creating the kind of Scotland they want for themselves and their children.

“Westminster isn’t working for women and it isn’t working for Scotland. The disastrous bedroom tax is just the latest in a series of policies engineered in London and endured in Scotland that will punish disabled people in a way that is both unfair and immoral.

“As an independent nation, we’ve got what it takes to be a more prosperous as well as a fairer country in which policies such as the bedroom tax would simply not be tolerated.”

Rupert Soames, chief executive of energy firm Aggreko, said last year that those brave enough to publicly oppose separation were subjected to “unpleasant” attacks by the Nationalists.