• Treasury minister Sajid Javid has claimed an independent Scotland would ose thousands of financial services jobs
• Mr Javid says companies would be forced to relocate services nearer customers in rest of UK after independence
• SNP dismisses comments, saying investment projects are at record levels
Economic Secretary Sajid Javid told the Scottish Affairs Select Committee that Scots had a strong “reputation for excellence” in financial services around the world but all this could be put at risk by independence.
“You always hear a Scottish voice on the trading floor wherever you are in the world,” he said.
He pointed out that Scotland has a “niche expertise” in asset management with an industry worth £750 billion north of the Border, one fifth of the UK share but with 90 per cent of its customers south of the Border.
“If you were to speak to any asset manager at least privately I think they would tell you they would be very concerned about what would happen post independence because 90 per cent of their customers would be based in the rest of the UK and all of a sudden they would be foreign customers in a foreign jurisdiction.”
He went on: “Then you consider the question of where firms would look at the structure of their services and the location of their services.
“It has to be the case that Scottish companies would look at least at the structure of how they are set up and where they have most of their people located and base it somehow or other on where most of their cutomers are because if they are in a foreign country they will most certainly have to take that into account.
“My biggest fear is that independence will result sadly in the loss of thousands of Scottish jobs in the Scottish financial sector.”
The SNP dismissed the comments saying the the sector is growing despite the prospect of a referendum.
SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said: “Scotland’s financial services industry is attracting new players from outside the UK, creating jobs in the sector and existing firms such as RBS are currently investing £175m in improving the resources at their Edinburgh HQ.
“Just as Westminster claims that investment in Scotland would be harmed by the referendum have been completely debunked by the latest Ernst and Young report which showed the number of inward investment projects at record levels, so this claim will be shown up for the nonsense it is.” SEE ALSO