Scottish independence: I’ll vote Yes if devo-max not option, says Farmer

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Kwik-Fit tycoon Sir Tom Farmer has echoed fellow entrepreneur Jim McColl’s warning that the absence of a third option in the referendum ballot paper option on devo-max could drive him to support independence.

The Edinburgh-based entrepreneur, a high-profile SNP supporter, revealed this week that he was still not convinced by “separatism” and wanted Scotland to remain in the UK, with beefed-up powers for Holyrood.

Mr McColl, chief executive of Clyde Blowers, said yesterday he still backed full fiscal autonomy for Scotland in the UK. But if this option did not appear on the ballot paper, then independence would provide a “better future” than the status quo.

Sir Tom said of the constitutional debate yesterday: “I’ve always thought it would be independence or devo-max.”

But if it was only a straight Yes-No option on independence, he added: “I think my feelings would be the same as Jim McColl’s.”

He added: “I’m still open-minded and I’m still ready to wait for the arguments that lie ahead, but I’ve said all along that its fiscal autonomy that I want.”

Stagecoach tycoon Sir Brian Souter, another influential SNP backer, has indicated that he will not be getting involved in the independence debate at this stage, it emerged yesterday.

Both sides of the debate are determined to attract the support of big business, and the pro-Union campaign claimed there was “precious little” support from major business figures at the official launch of the Yes campaign last Friday.

The event was dominated by showbusiness figures, including actors Brian Cox and Alan Cumming and Makar Liz Lochhead.

The pro-Union campaign is expected to launch in the next few weeks and will be headed by former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling.