Scotland politics

Scottish independence: What have businesses been saying?

With the Scottish independence referendum just months away, many businesses have been explaining what they believe independence would mean for them.

The economy is widely regarded as the key campaign battleground in the build up to the referendum which takes place on 18 September.

Voters in Scotland will be asked the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

So, what have some businesses said so far in April?

Waitrose

Image copyright PA
Image caption Waitrose will continue to open new shops in Scotland regardless of the referendum outcome

The development director of Waitrose said the outcome of the referendum "will not affect" the supermarket's expansion plans in Scotland.

The company has secured planning permission for a branch in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, due to open in 2015, and announced plans to open its eighth Scottish store in Ayr.

Writing in Waitrose's in-house journal, Nigel Keen said: "The decision on independence for Scotland is one for the Scottish people to make and voting is a personal matter for our partners.

"It will not affect our expansion plans in Scotland and we are continuing to explore opportunities to build on the increasing popularity of our brand there."

BSkyB

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sky "like being in Scotland", according to a staff memo

Satellite broadcaster BSkyB said it had no plans to change its business in Scotland, whatever the outcome of September's independence referendum.

A staff memo said that Scottish independence isn't something "that Sky takes a view on corporately."

It continued: "Scotland will continue to be an important part of our business, whatever the voters decide in September.

"We like being in Scotland having been there from the very start of the business 25 years ago."

Weir Group

Image copyright Weir Group
Image caption The Weir Group said they saw "substantial risk" in independence

The Weir Group is based in Glasgow, with 15,000 staff working in the minerals, oil and gas, and power sectors in more than 70 countries.

Chief executive Keith Cochrane said that independence carried "substantial risk" that the "quality of life of millions of people" was at stake.

A report from the engineering firm said: "Unsurprisingly, as a political document, the Scottish government's White Paper paints a picture of independence as being a risk-free option with only potential benefits.

"However, voters should be aware that what they are being asked to say 'Yes' to carries substantial risks to our economy and therefore to the quality of life of millions of people."

Barrhead Travel

Image copyright PA
Image caption Bill Munro described a "Yes" vote as "an impending disaster"

The founder of Barrhead Travel told his staff that a "Yes" vote in Scotland's independence referendum would be "a disaster".

In a leaked memo, Bill Munro detailed what he saw as the dangers of independence and accused the SNP of misleading voters.

Mr Munro's message said: "I have been asked by many of my staff what my views of the referendum are.

"As the weeks pass and more is discovered, the magnitude of the impending disaster should there be a 'Yes' vote becomes ever more apparent."

Martin Currie

Image caption Martin Currie said its policy is one of "political neutrality"

Edinburgh-based fund manager Martin Currie said it had "a corporate policy of political neutrality".

It added: "Our overriding duty, first and foremost, is protecting the interests of our clients."

It identified a number of "key uncertainties" associated with Scottish independence:

  • financial-services regulation
  • the approach to individual taxation
  • the currency that an independent Scotland would use
  • whether an independent Scotland would become a member of the European Union by the current target date of 24 March 2016

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