Weir Group joins chorus of leading businesses anxious about uncertainty

THE boss at one of Scotland’s most successful engineering firms has warned that lack of details over the independence referendum was creating “uncertainty” for businesses.

Keith Cochrane, chief executive of Glasgow-based Weir Group, echoed comments made last week by the utilities giant SSE. Mr Cochrane said answers needed to be given “as soon as possible” over the running of the referendum and what structure an independent Scotland would take.

“People need to understand and take an informed view of what is a life-changing, generational decision,” he said.

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But Mr Cochrane down-played the idea that Weir Group would move its head office away from Glasgow if Scotland became independent.

Although Weir Group is one of Scotland’s largest companies, it has a relatively small footprint here, with its operations being spread around the globe.

First Minister Alex Salmond wants to hold the ballot in autumn 2014, but Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has called for the question to be put to the people next year.

Mr Moore said: “As yet another business raises serious questions about independence, it is clear that the referendum continues to cause damaging uncertainty.

“Weir Group’s concerns over the unanswered questions add to those of SSE last week and should be heeded.

“That is why we want to put a single question to the people of Scotland next year.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “This is yet another example of an iconic Scottish business stating that confusion over the referendum is causing uncertainty.

“Our businesses need clarity on their future and for the good of Scotland we need to get on with making this decision.”

Finance secretary John Swinney said: “We are absolutely committed to having a fully-informed debate on Scotland’s future. In autumn 2013, we will publish the full prospectus for independence in plenty time for the referendum.”

He said the First Minister was “delighted” to have announced £4 million investment by Weir Group in Dubai recently.