Scotland politics

Scottish independence: What have businesses been saying?

As Scotland's independence referendum edges closer, more business leaders have been talking what about the impact of independence might be for their companies.

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 been saying recently?

John Menzies

Image copyright John Menzies

Edinburgh-based John Menzies says it is hoping for a "No" vote so things can "get back to normal".

Finance director Paula Bell said: "We don't actually think Scotland should be independent.

"We'll be so glad to get back to normal when it's all over and hopefully the voters will vote for no independence."

Donald Trump

Image caption Mr Trump is staying out of the referendum debate

Donald Trump said he will not get involved in the referendum. The US tycoon spoke at a press conference at Trump Turnberry, the golf course he acquired earlier this year.

Mr Trump was asked whether the outcome of the referendum would affect his business strategy in Scotland. He said: "Windmills will have an impact on spending a lot of money because I believe they are very very negative for the economy and for tourism and everything else but the independence will not have an impact on what I do."


Image copyright PA
Image caption Independence "puts everything into hibernation" for Kingfisher's businesses

Kingfisher's chief executive said investment would "pause" in Scotland following a "Yes" vote.

The company is Europe's largest home improvement retailer, owning B&Q and Screwfix.

Sir Ian Cheshire said uncertainties surrounding currency and EU membership would put "everything into hibernation" - with plans for 23 new Screwfix shops put on hold for now.

But he said the company would continue to trade in Scotland regardless of the referendum result.

Aberdeen Asset Management

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Aberdeen Asset Management has no plans to leave Scotland

The chief executive of one of Scotland's biggest companies - Aberdeen Asset Management - told the BBC the company would remain neutral.

Martin Gilbert said there would be no plans to move its headquarters under independence.

Mr Gilbert told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We haven't planned for any changes because we're of the view there'll be plenty of time to plan after the event."

He said the business already operated in 30 countries, adding: "One more's not going to make any difference".


Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Diageo is another company committed to staying in Scotland regardless of September's result

The chief executive of Diageo, owner of many leading Scotch whisky brands including Johnnie Walker and J&B, confirmed his firm will stay in Scotland.

Ivan Menezes said to the Wall Street Journal: "Unlike other businesses, we cannot pick up and leave Scotland. We're there to stay."

He stressed the importance of remaining within the European Union, before remarking that the decision on Scottish independence was for "the people of Scotland to make".

Mr Menezes said the firm had spoken to both sides of the debate.

Scotch Whisky Association

Image copyright PA
Image caption The SWA wants answers, but is confident the industry would succeed no matter the result

The Scotch Whisky Association chief executive expressed concerns over independence, but claimed the industry would succeed no matter what the result.

David Frost, who took up the role in January, said he would be seeking assurances if there was a "Yes" vote.

In an annual review, he said: "We need further information and reassurance before we can assess whether we can mitigate these potential risks."

Mr Frost added: "Even a temporary interruption of EU membership involving exclusion from the single market or the customs union, if this were a consequence of independence, would be damaging and difficult to manage."

Kames Capital

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The referendum vote is too close to call for Kames Capital

The chief executive of the specialist investment management business Kames Capital predicts a very close result..

Speaking at an annual conference in Edinburgh, Martin Davis said his firm would continue to operate in Scotland.

He said: "We are confident we can find the right people in Scotland and hire the right people to come to Edinburgh."

Mr Davis believes there will be considerations for his business no matter if it's "Yes" or "No".

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