Scottish independence: PwC denies taking stance on the debate

One of the UK's biggest accountancy firms has denied it has taken a stance on the issue of Scottish independence.

Its chairman had been quoted as saying his organisation "believed in the United Kingdom".

A spokesman for Ian Powell of PwC told the BBC "it is not the case that we have a view on independence at this time".

The spokesman insisted the firm was apolitical in the constitutional debate.

An article on the Huffington post website was based on a news conference given by Mr Powell.

A transcript of the answer given by Mr Powell has been released.

It said: "Journalist: In terms of thought leadership can we expect the firm to take a public view on Scottish Independence and UK membership of the EU?

Ian Powell: On the Scottish one. The Scottish one is really interesting isn't it. We've got a Scottish business, it seems to us that quite a lot of Scottish businesses don't seem to want to get engaged in the debate whether its for fear or whatever the reason is I don't know. Certainly from a PwC perspective we believe in a united kingdom, we believe that the right thing is you do have as big an economic unit as you can and we haven't gone out in Scotland and said that at all yet, but that is what we think as an organisation. So you will start to see us contribute to this debate and discussion but we've also got to respect that we do operate in Scotland and like other businesses in Scotland we need to make sure we get the balance of it right. "

The BBC understands Mr Powell made the comments without having spoken to the company's office in Scotland although they do apparently reflect his current thinking on the constitutional question.

The company as a whole is yet to issue a formal view on Scottish independence.

A spokesman for PwC told the BBC: "The matter of independence is for the Scottish people to decide. Many businesses we speak to are concerned about getting engaged in a political debate that might distract them from the number one priority of managing their businesses through a challenging economic environment.

"Clients are, however, starting to think about the implications for their businesses, the issues around which they need clarity, and scenario planning."

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