Scottish independence: HSBC boss makes 'capital flight' claim

Douglas Flint of HSBC plc Douglas Flint claimed independence was "a giant step into economic uncertainty"

Uncertainty over an independent Scotland's currency could lead to "capital flight" from the country, the chairman of HSBC has claimed.

Writing in the Telegraph, Douglas Flint said supporters of independence were "advocating a giant step into economic uncertainty".

Mr Flint donated £25,000 to the Better Together campaign last year.

Yes Scotland argued that a currency union was in the interests of Scotland and the UK, and would be agreed.

Currency has been a major issue in the independence debate ahead of the 18 September referendum.

The Scottish government has proposed continuing to use sterling in a formal currency union with the rest of the UK if voters back independence.

But the UK government and the main Westminster parties have said they would rule out such a deal.

Alternatives could include "sterlingisation" - using sterling without the Bank of England as lender of last resort - joining the euro or setting up a separate Scottish currency.

Pro-Union campaigners have pressed First Minister Alex Salmond to set out a "Plan B" but he has refused to do so, insisting that the UK government would negotiate a currency union if there is a "Yes" vote.

'Financial stability'

Mr Flint, who is group chairman of HSBC Holdings and describes himself as an "exiled Scot", wrote: "It is hard to imagine Scotland without the anchor of financial stability that it derives from sterling currency union.

"That is why the pro-independence campaign would like to recreate a currency union in the event that Scotland separates from the rest of the UK.

"If there was a better alternative that improved the future prospects of Scotland it would surely have been promoted vigorously."

He added: "The alternatives to a currency union include a completely independent currency, passive acceptance of a monetary policy designed in London for the rest of the UK, or, assuming Scotland rejoins the European Union, eventual membership of the euro.

"In all these circumstances, the transition from the existing currency union would be complex and fraught with danger.

"At the extreme, uncertainty over Scotland's currency arrangements could prompt capital flight from the country, leaving its financial system in a parlous state."

HSBC is the second largest bank in the world but has a relatively small presence in Scotland, with 10 branches.

HSBC logo HSBC is one of the world's biggest banks but has only 10 branches in Scotland
'Huge contribution'

A spokesman for the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign said: 'People in Scotland can be assured that we will be using the pound after a 'Yes' vote and there will be a currency union."

He added: "The rest of the UK exports nearly £60bn year to Scotland - we are the rUK's second biggest export market.

"A separate currency would entail transaction costs of around £500m a year to rUK businesses.

"It is therefore clearly in the interests of the rest of the UK to share a currency with an independent Scotland.

"Scotland's huge contribution to a sterling area's balance of payments is another reason why it will be in the interests of the rUK."

Commenting for Better Together, Labour MP Ian Murray said: "This is another hugely experienced expert who has underlined the currency chaos which has plagued Alex Salmond's campaign.

"When a voice such as Douglas Flint's warns of the risks of money leaving a separate Scotland to somewhere safer, you pay attention.

"With just days to go until up to a million Scots start voting by post, Alex Salmond is running out of time to name Plan B."

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Scotland Decides: SCOTLAND VOTES NO

  1. No 2,001,926
  2. Yes 1,617,989
After 32 of 32 counts Results in detail

Referendum Live

  1.  
    09:35: 'Non-negotiable'

    Alistair Darling told the Andrew Marr programme: "The agreement reached by the three parties, as far as I'm concerned, is non-negotiable. It was promised, it's got to be delivered and anyone who welches on that is going to pay a very, very heavy price for years to come."

     
  2.  
    09:32: Darling vow on Union pledge

    Better Together leader Alistair Darling has said he fully expects the pro-Union parties to carry out their pledge to give more devolution powers to Scotland.

    alistair darling

    Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Darling said: "The vast majority of people expect us all to work together for the common good."

     
  3.  
    09:30: Analysis David Porter Westminster correspondent

    I think what we saw yesterday from Gordon Brown was a pretty heavy shove from a former Prime Minister saying to the three UK party leaders - David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg - 'just a week ago, you signed up to this pledge, you said it was going to happen. Make sure that it does or Scotland will not forgive you'.

    As regards the division, what we are seeing now is just how complicated, how thorny a question constitutional reform is not just in Scotland but for the rest of the UK.

     
  4.  
    09:26: Another referendum

    Former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party Lord Ashcroft tweets: If the Westminster parties do not deliver on the "vow" made to the Scots in the #indyref then expect siren calls for another referendum.

     
  5.  
    09:21: 'No ifs, no buts'

    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, writing in The Sunday Times, insisted there could be "no ifs, no buts" about delivering the extra powers promised to Scotland, and the package "cannot be made contingent on other constitutional reforms".

    He accused the Tories of being more concerned with the threat from Ukip than the vow made to Scotland.

    Mr Clegg said: "The Conservatives, in their rush to protect themselves from an attack from the right, are only concerned about English votes on English matters.

    "Of course we need a solution to this dilemma but, by appearing to link it to the delivery of further devolution to Scotland, they risk reneging on the commitment made to the Scottish people that, in the event of a No vote, new powers would come what may.

    "Worse still, if the Conservatives enter into a Dutch auction with Ukip over ever more extreme solutions to the issue of English votes they could jeopardise the union they purport to defend.

    "Surely we haven't fought to save our union in a vote north of the border, only to see it balkanised in Westminster?"

     
  6.  
    09:18: 'Travesty of democracy'

    UK government Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, writing in The Sunday Telegraph, said Holyrood should not receive more powers while Scottish MPs can still "shape the destiny" of the NHS, education and justice systems south of the border and force "socialist policies" on England.

    "That would be a travesty of democracy, and would be regarded with fury by the English," he said.

     
  7.  
    09:16: Shapps says 'no reneging'

    Tory chairman Grant Shapps told BBC 5 Live the devolution vow would be honoured by the Westminster parties but accused Labour leader Ed Miliband of "weak leadership".

    He said: "What we think is, actually, it's absolutely right more powers go to Scotland, that's clearly what was promised in the referendum if there was a No vote.

    "There's no reneging on that at all, that is what's going to happen.

    "At the same time, we need to sort out what happens for England, and let's face it the rest of the United Kingdom is 60 million people on top of the five million in Scotland. The rest of the United Kingdom, therefore, has to have a fair settlement as well."

    He added: "We need to make sure that there are English laws voted on by English MPs. It's pretty straightforward, it's not really very complicated."

    He said Mr Miliband "doesn't want to sort the problem out" and his proposed constitutional convention starting next year is a "complete joke".

     
  8.  
    09:13: Nicola Sturgeon's story

    With Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon the hot favourite to replace Alex Salmond as SNP leader, you can read all about her journey to the top here.

    Nicola Sturgeon
     
  9.  
    09:08: Leaders' pledge

    The Sunday Post also features the referendum on its front page, with the pledge by Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg to meet their target for more devolved powers.

    Sunday Post
     
  10.  
    09:05: The Motion

    Here is the text of the motion on further powers that will be put before the UK Parliament tomorrow:

    That this House...

    • welcomes the result of the Scottish independence referendum and the decision of the people of Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom;
    • recognises that people across Scotland voted‎ for a Union based on the pooling and sharing of resources and for the‎ continuation of devolution inside the United Kingdom;
    • notes the statement by the prime minister, deputy prime minister and leader of the opposition regarding the guarantee of and timetable for further devolution to Scotland;
    • calls on the government to lay before Parliament a Command Paper including the proposals of all three UK political parties by 30th October and to consult widely with the Scottish people, civic Scotland and the Scottish Parliament on these proposals;
    • further calls on the government to publish heads of agreement by the end of November and draft clauses for the new Scotland Bill by the end of January 2015.
     
  11.  
    08:57: Reconciliation

    The Right Reverend John Chalmers said today's service in Edinburgh "is not just a photo opportunity".

    He said: "It is a real serious opportunity to look inside ourselves and commit to togetherness.

    "There were times when people said we wouldn't need any activity to bring people together. 'Scots will fix that overnight'. I don't think that is true for a lot of people."

    Mr Chalmers told Radio Scotland the church could be part of a process to help reconciliation.

     
  12.  
    08:54: Yousaf not running

    SNP minister Humza Yousaf tweets: For all journalists that are still calling about leadership let me be clear: No ifs, no buts, no mibbees - I am #TeamSturgeon

     
  13.  
    08:51: The Aftermath

    Scotland on Sunday features stories about Nicola Sturgeon's leadership chances and disorder in George Square.

    Scotland on Sunday
     
  14.  
    Text 80295 08:48: Get involved

    Barry, Blantyre: Does anyone really believe the Westminster establishment will give a toss about Scotland now the turkeys have voted for Christmas?

    Margaret, Dundee: Tell A Salmond to be quiet. He lost. The people of Scotland gave him a bloody nose. He promised Nirvana which he could NEVER have delivered, so his pot has a nerve calling the kettle black. He's a lame duck now, resigning when he did to spoil the news of a no vote and you lot fell for it! DON'T give him the oxygen of publicity. He's yesterday's man.

     
  15.  
    08:46: The Vow

    Today's front page of The Scottish Sun on Sunday features the story of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown urging all of the Westminster parties to meet their vow for additional powers for the Scottish Parliament.

    Scottish Sun
     
  16.  
    08:44: Momentous times

    After a historic week in Scotland, the Sunday Mail aims to reflect that on its front page.

    Sunday Mail
     
  17.  
    08:40: 'Contrasting emotions'

    Right Reverend John Chalmers, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will lead a service this morning at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh with leading members of the Yes and No camps in attendance.

    Speaking on Radio Scotland, he said: "We need a variety of events to bring people together to unite in common purpose.

    "The word I have heard a lot of people use is gutted on one side. On the other side, there are people who are possibly relieved if not elated.

    "Across Scotland and in different ways, people need to find opportunities to deal with those contrasting emotions."

     
  18.  
    08:30: Miliband interviews

    Ed Miliband will be speaking on The Andrew Marr Show from the Labour party conference in Manchester. However, the BBC's political editor in the South of England, Peter Henley, is reporting that the Labour leader has cancelled other BBC interviews.

    Peter Henley: Ed Miliband has pulled out of planned BBC interviews tomorrow. They've cancelled BBC English Regions, Scotland, NI & Wales.

     
  19.  
    08:27: Sunday Herald

    The Sunday Herald has a wraparound front cover.

    The paper says: "We are proud to be the newspaper that gave voice to 45% of the Scottish population. A big responsibility and huge honour."

    sunday herald

     
  20.  
    08:17: Darling says promise 'non-negotiable'

    Alistair Darling, who led the Better Together campaign, insisted the pledge for more powers would be acted upon within the stated timetable.

    Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr programme in an interview to be broadcast later, he said: "The agreement reached between the three parties is non-negotiable."

    "It was promised, it's got to be delivered, and anyone who welches on that will pay a very heavy price for years to come."

     
  21.  
    08:11: Sturgeon favourite

    Half the Scottish cabinet have publicly backed Alex Salmond's deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, to replace him as SNP leader and first minister.

    Ms Sturgeon has yet to formally throw her hat into the ring.

    Nicola Sturgeon

    But on Friday she said she could think of "no greater privilege" than to seek the leadership.

    Pundits and bookmakers have already tipped her as the clear favourite, although as yet there are no declared challengers.

     
  22.  
    08:04: Watch Salmond clip
    Alex Salmond

    In the interview recorded for the Sunday Politics, Mr Salmond said the pledge made by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg had been "cooked up in desperation".

    You can watch the full interview on Sunday Politics on 21 September 2014 at 11:00 BST on BBC One.

     
  23.  
    08:02: Salmond quotes

    Mr Salmond said: "I am actually not surprised they are cavilling and reneging on commitments, I am only surprised by the speed at which they are doing it. They seem to be totally shameless in these matters.

    "The prime minister wants to link change in Scotland to change in England. He wants to do that because he has difficulty in carrying his backbenchers on this and they are under pressure from UKIP.

    "The Labour leadership of course are frightened of any changes in England which leave them without a majority in the House of Commons on English matters.

    "I think the vow was something cooked up in desperation for the last few days of the campaign and I think everyone in Scotland now realises that".

     
  24.  
    08:00: Salmond on the Vow

    Mr Salmond was speaking to the BBC's Sunday Politics programme, which will be broadcast on BBC One at 11:00.

    The first minister said he believed the late vow of new powers made by the leaders of the three main UK parties had won the referendum for the "No" side.

    But he predicted "No" voters would already be angry at having been "misled", "gulled" and "tricked" by the pledge.

     
  25.  
    07:56: Salmond hits out

    Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond says he is surprised at the speed with which Britain's main political parties are reneging on commitments to Scotland, following a vote against Scottish independence. He told the BBC that many voters would feel misled. The British government has denied that a timetable for giving Scotland more powers will slip.

     
  26.  
    07:52: Sunday live Steven Brocklehurst BBC Scotland news website

    Good morning and welcome to today's live page coverage of the latest post-referendum news and analysis.

     

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