Scottish independence: RBS concerns over Scots independence

RBS The comments from RBS came ahead of the 18 September independence referendum

Royal Bank of Scotland has reiterated that Scottish independence could have a "material adverse effect" on its business.

The Edinburgh-based bank, 80% owned by the taxpayer, said a "Yes" vote in the 18 September referendum could cause uncertainty and hit credit ratings.

RBS said independence could also affect the fiscal and monetary backdrop under which the bank operates.

Scottish ministers said independence would boost the nation's economy.

The bank's comments came it announced its half year results, confirming figures published last week which showed a big jump in operating profits, to £2.6bn.

In a section of its results report on risk factors facing the group, RBS stated: "Although the outcome of the referendum is uncertain, subject to any mitigating factors, uncertainties resulting from an affirmative vote in favour of independence would be likely to significantly impact the group's credit ratings and could also impact the fiscal, monetary, legal and regulatory landscape to which the group is subject.

"Were Scotland to become independent, it may also affect Scotland's status in the EU.

"The occurrence of any of the impacts above could significantly impact the group's costs and would have a material adverse effect on the group's business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects."

'Political events'

The results report added: "The group's credit ratings would be likely to be negatively impacted by political events, such as an affirmative vote in favour of Scottish independence."

The bank earlier raised issues about independence in its annual report, published in April.

Despite this, RBS boss Ross McEwan has previously said the bank could "adapt" its business in the event of independence.

The Scottish government has stressed that an independent Scotland retaining the pound under a formal currency union with the rest of the UK was in everyone's best interests.

And it has said an independent Scotland's membership of the EU would be negotiated "from within", given the UK was already a member, and that a plan to negotiate membership in 18 months was achievable.

Ross McEwan RBS chief executive Ross McEwan has said the bank could "adapt" to Scottish independence

A Scottish government spokesperson said a recent survey by finance firm Deloitte highlighted that businesses were more concerned about the impact of the next UK election and a referendum on leaving the EU than Scottish independence.

The spokesperson added: "As Ross McEwan himself pointed out earlier this year, RBS already operates in 38 countries around the world, and if it needed to be 39 then he said 'that's what we'll do'.

"Scotland has a strong and diverse economy and the point of independence is to win the powers we need to build on those strengths and create a more prosperous and secure economy - which is good for the financial sector and everyone else."

Shadow business minister and Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray, said: "That the Royal Bank of Scotland have reiterated their concerns about separation underlines the threat it poses to Scottish jobs, savings and mortgages.

"Alex Salmond cannot continue to ignore these concerns. He is risking the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people all across Scotland to fulfil his own political ambitions.

"It is clear that, if we leave the UK, we lose the pound and would have to reapply to join the EU."

The pro-independence think tank Options For Scotland has argued RBS should be broken up in the event of independence, with the Scottish government taking a majority stake in its Scottish arm.

In May, Lloyds Banking Group chairman Lord Blackwell said the referendum was creating "uncertainty" in the sector, although he added the group had not been making plans to leave Scotland in the event of a "Yes" vote.

His comments came after Standard Life, which has had its headquarters in Scotland for 189 years, said it would consider moving parts of it business elsewhere in the event of independence.

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Referendum Live

  1.  
    08:31: What the papers say

    It's the day before Scotland goes to the polls, so only one issue could dominate the front pages of the newspapers.

    papers

    The Sun pitches the vote as Britain's Got Talent v The Ecks Factor. It tells readers the referendum is your voice, your choice your vote.

    The Daily Record appeals to campaigners to 'keep the heid' on the final day of campaigning. The Scottish Daily Mail says there are 24 hours to save Britain. Read our full review here.

     
  2.  
    08:24: 'Comradely friendship'

    Mr Salmond concludes the interview by saying in the event of a "Yes" vote he would approach negotiations with the Westminster government in a spirit of "comradely friendship".

     
  3.  
    08:22: 'For Queen and democracy"

    Following comments from military figures critical of the pro-independence position, Mr Salmond says: "Listen to other comments, such as from a 102-year-old desert rat, and a range of other people who have served this country, coming out in favour of 'Yes'.

    "They served for the Queen and democracy. They should listen to the words of serving soldiers - they don't believe in Yes or No, they believe in democracy."

     
  4.  
    08:18: 'Team Scotland'

    More from Mr Salmond: "If we are successful, and I'm assuming absolutely nothing, as first minister my first act will be to say, look, the campaign's are over, what we have now is Team Scotland."

    "I shall be inviting people from across the political spectrum to join Team Scotland. I shall do this regardless of the result," he adds.

     
  5.  
    08:15: 'Once in a lifetime opportunity'

    On a currency union with the rest of the UK, Mr Salmond says: "An overwhelming majority of people in Scotland back the Yes campaign on this matter.

    "It's in the best interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK. We're in the final stages of one of the most exhilarating political campaigns in western Europe.

    "I never thought in my political life I'd see people queuing up patiently to register to vote, as I did in Dundee. What they care about is having a once in a lifetime opportunity to influence their country."

     
  6.  
    Salmond on Today

    Following Alistair Darling's appearance earlier, First Minister Alex Salmond is currently speaking on Radio 4's Today programme.

    alex salmond

    Asked about further devolution offered in the event of a No vote, he tells presenter Jim Naughtie in Edinburgh: "These are the same package announced last spring - repackaged in desperation yesterday. They've been discounted by the Scottish people."

    He says Scotland will use the pound following a "Yes" vote, saying there will be a "common-sense agreement. You know it and I know it."

     
  7.  
    08:09: Coming up... Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    On Morning Call today on BBC Radio Scotland at 08:50: Have you changed your mind on how you're going to vote in the referendum?

    And we're inviting you to put forward your positive case for voting "Yes" or "No".

    Lines are open now - get in touch by calling 0500 92 95 00, texting 80295 or emailing morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk.

    Morning Call graphic
     
  8.  
    08:05: 'Human community'

    No supporter Elizabeth Fraser, 94, told Good Morning Scotland's Gary Robertson: "I think we are all a human family and I do not want a border between England and Scotland."

    Yes supporter Audrey Burt said: "I quite agree with everything Elizabeth said, we are part of the big human community, but I am voting for us to have the power over our own situation."

     
  9.  
    08:04: 'It's our country too'

    Asked if he would take up Alex Salmond's invitation to join "Team Scotland" in the event of a "Yes" vote, Mr Darling says: "He is not Team Scotland. We will all play our part because it's our country too - it's not his."

     
  10.  
    08:02: JD Sports: 'No major impact'

    JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill told this morning's Radio 4 Today programme the company does not think a "Yes" vote would have a "major impact" on trade.

    Asked if there was a danger prices would rise, he said: "No, not at all… we operate in Europe as well and it would be a similar process".

     
  11.  
    07:55: 'This will settle it'

    Asked on Radio 4 if a "No" vote would only hold back independence for a short time, Alistair Darling says: "No, because both sides are agreed. This is to settle the matter for a generation."

     
  12.  
    07:50: As others see us

    Professor Muriel Casals, president of the Catalan civic organisation Omnium Cultural, told Good Morning Scotland that people there were watching events in Scotland closely.

    She said: "Unfortunately for us the Spanish government is saying 'you don't have the right to go to the polls to say whatever you want'. We are campaigning for the right to go to the polls. It's wonderful for you that you are going."

    Catalan protesters

    Udo Seiwert-Fauti, a German journalist who works in Strasbourg, told the programme: "It's amazing how much interest Germans have. They realise what is going on here."

     
  13.  
    07:48: 'Tragedy' of break-up

    Mr Darling adds: "Over the last 300 years, we have all built the UK together. We have benefited from that strength that comes from acting together, pooling and sharing resources in good times and bad times and I think it would be a tragedy if the relationship were broken."

     
  14.  
    07:44: More Darling

    Mr Darling tells presenter Jim Naughtie: "What Alex Salmond doesn't tell you is that public spending is £1,200 more per head of population here than it is south of the border."

     
  15.  
    07:42: Darling on final push

    Better Together leader Alistair Darling is speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on the final day of campaigning.

    alistair darling

    Mr Darling: "People going to the polls tomorrow will be in no doubt that you can have a stronger Scottish Parliament, with more powers and more responsibility to raise the money it spends.

    "And that means the health service - if you want to spend more money on it you can do it and it really doesn't matter what is happening in the rest of the UK."

     
  16.  
    07:37: Salmond plea to voters

    Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has written to voters urging them vote "Yes".

    In the letter, he asks voters to step back from the political arguments and trust in themselves as they go into the polling booth.

    The letter says: "The talking is nearly done. The campaigns will have had their say. What's left is just us - the people who live and work here. The only people with a vote. The people who matter.

    "The people who for a few precious hours during polling day hold sovereignty, power, authority in their hands. It's the greatest most empowering moment any of us will ever have. Scotland's future - our country in our hands.

    "What to do? Only each of us knows that. For my part, I ask only this. Make this decision with a clear head and a clear conscience."

     
  17.  
    07:29: The view from Germany

    Lizbeth in Muir of Ord: Spoke to a German visitor yesterday he says "Angela Merkel says No but the folk say Yes ... you are very lucky, everyone in the world loves Scotland. We hope you say Yes."

     
  18.  
    07:15: Gary Robertson BBC Radio Scotland

    How others see us - #bbcgms gets the view from Germany and Catalonia 0715. #indyref

     
  19.  
    07:15: Kenneth Macdonald BBC Scotland Science Correspondent

    The organisers of the referendum count will use techniques from forensic and computing science to handle a record number - almost 790,000 - of postal votes.

    Polling card for Scottish referendum

    Counting staff are using scanners and advanced signature recognition software to make sure the person who posts in their vote is the same one who applied for it.

    The machines will not be set to reject ballots automatically - they would then be checked by humans.

     
  20.  
    07:03: The polls

    With just a day of campaigning left, the polls suggest the result of the referendum is still too close to call.

    Three new polls, one by Opinium for the Daily Telegraph, another by ICM for the Scotsman and a third by Survation for the Daily Mail, were published last night. With undecided voters excluded, they all suggested a lead for "No" of 52% to 48%.

    For more on the polls, go to our poll tracker on the Scotland Decides website.

    Poll tracker
     
  21.  
    06:56: On the campaign trail

    For Yes Scotland, First Minister Alex Salmond kicks off his final day of campaigning with a visit to Hyspec Engineering in Stewarton, Ayrshire, to discuss jobs.

    For Better Together, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will be addressing events across the Highlands, including Kingussie, Inverness and Nairn, and Scottish Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale will join "No" campaigners at Haymarket Station in Edinburgh.

    Elsewhere, well-known "Yes" campaigners including Elaine C Smith, Ricky Ross and River City cast members will address voters in Buchanan Street, Glasgow.

     
  22.  
    06:53: Good Morning Scotland

    Tune into Good Morning Scotland for the latest Scottish independence referendum news and analysis.

    Gary Robertson

    On the final day of campaigning before tomorrow's vote, presenter Gary Robertson speaks to both sides in Edinburgh.

     
  23.  
    06:49: Gary Robertson BBC Radio Scotland

    A look at the #indyref issues for Edinburgh as we hear from yes and no campaigners in the capital. #bbcgms

     
  24.  
    06:47: 'The Scottish average'

    Polling expert John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, has been telling Good Morning Scotland which areas of the country he thinks will be most important to the result.

    voter with umbrella at 1999 Holyrood election

    He said: "This is a nationwide vote - none of them will be decisive.

    "If there's anywhere one can pick out, then maybe Fife will end up closest to the Scottish average."

     
  25.  
    06:42: Ex-military warn over 'Yes' vote

    Military figures have warned Scottish independence would make the whole UK more vulnerable to attack.

    British soldiers in Afghanistan

    In an open letter in the Sun newspaper, 14 former armed forces chiefs said a "No" vote in Thursday's referendum was "critical for all our security".

    Breaking up Britain would "weaken us all", they added.

    The letter "to the people of Scotland" was signed by seven former Chiefs of Defence Staff - Lords Boyce, Guthrie, Inge, Vincent, Stirrup, Craig and Richards.

     
  26.  
    06:30: Welcome Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and welcome to Referendum Live. We'll be here till late with the latest news, comment and analysis around tomorrow's vital vote.

    It's the final day of campaigning and both sides will be going all out to win over those final switherers.

    You can keep in touch and tell us your views throughout the day - tweet using #bbcindyref, email or text 80295.

     

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