Scottish manufacturers cast doubts over independence

Posted on 27 Aug 2014 by The Manufacturer

Some of Scotland’s largest manufacturers are among the companies to sign a letter saying the business case for independence had yet to be made.

In a letter published in today’s Scotsman newspaper, signatories from 130 companies have urged Scotland to remain part of the UK by voting No in next month’s referendum.

These include leaders from the finance, retail, manufacturing and technologies industries.

Manufacturing figures casting doubt include Andrew Mackenzie, chief executive of BHP Billiton and Ian Curle, chief executive of Edrington, which owns the whisky brands Macallan and Famous Grouse.

It read: “As job creators, we have looked carefully at the arguments made by both sides of the debate. Our conclusion is that the business case for independence has not been made.

“Uncertainty surrounds a number of vital issues including currency, regulation, tax, pensions, EU membership and support for our exports around the world; and uncertainty is bad for business.”

The letter was organised by Keith Cochrane, chief executive of the Weir Group engineering firm, who has been an advocate of a No vote after warning of the risks facing an independent Scotland.

It comes just days after polls declared First Minister Alex Salmond as the resounding victor in the latest referendum television debate with No campaigner Alistair Darling.

The Independence movement has also won backing from former Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Sir George Mathewson, who argued the country’s financial sector would prosper on its own.

“There is nothing to suggest that being part of a smaller country hinders a financial services industry,” he said.

“Switzerland, for example, has – in Geneva and Zurich – not one, but two of the world’s top 10 financial centres. Singapore, with five million people, is ranked fourth. Investment is an increasingly global business, where success depends much more on people than on borders.”