Scottish independence: Small firms divided over Yes vote implications

Office desk The survey suggested more than 90% of small business owners had already decided how they would vote in the referendum on 18 September

Scotland's small business owners are divided over the possible implications of independence, a survey has suggested.

Small business network Ingenious Britain found 48% believed independence would be a negative step for their firm.

A total of 37% said leaving the UK would be a positive move, while 10% said it would have no impact.

Ingenious Britain surveyed about 1,000 small business owners in Scotland.

It found that more than 90% of respondents had already decided how they would vote in the referendum, which will be held on 18 September.

Four out of 10 (41%) of those questioned said they felt independence could make it less likely for them to be be able to invest in growing their business, while 36% felt leaving the UK would make it more likely they they could do this.

Informed decision

When asked what issues concerned them about having a small business in an independent Scotland, taxation, possible new regulations, currency and EU membership were among those mentioned most often.

But just over a third (37%) of small business owners said they had not had enough detail from the different campaigns to allow them to make an informed decision about the impact independence would have on them.

Responding to the survey, Michelle Thomson, director of the pro-independence business and economic policy network Business for Scotland, said: "Day in, day out Business for Scotland is welcoming new members, business owners who see what an independent Scotland could mean for them.

"Using the powers of devolution Scotland has the most competitive business environment in the UK thanks to a range of measures, like the small business bonus scheme, which mean we are next only to London in terms of securing overseas investment and jobs, due to the fantastic efforts of Scottish Development International."

'Greater opportunities'

A spokesman for the pro-Union Better Together campaign said being part of the UK was good for Scotland's small businesses.

He added: "Having access to a single market of 63 million people rather than five million means there are greater opportunities for Scotland's employers.

"Where is the sense in creating a barrier between Scottish businesses and their customers where none exists today?

"What businesses in Scotland need is clarity from Alex Salmond about what would replace the pound. Would we rush to adopt the euro or would we set up a separate unproven currency?"

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