There are many reasons why I do not believe that an independent Scotland would be good for business. At present I enjoy the benefits of being able to freely trade in a home market of 65 million customers five million of who live in Scotland. I have the flexibility to brand myself as either Scottish or British and I don’t have to worry about currency exchange rates, varying tax systems or completely different employment legislation. Making doing business easy is critical to the growth of Scottish small businesses.
Independence means risk and uncertainty at a time when should make doing business easier particularly as we emerge from a worldwide recession. How are businesses supposed to plan for the future even we do not know what currency we will be using or on what terms we will be accepted in to the EU? Just this week we have seen the pound fall in response to a YOUGOV poll that stated the Yes campaign has a lead on the No thanks campaign for the first time. All of which has a damaging and negative impact on businesses.
To the Yes campaign who tell us that businesses can manage risk and will adapt and cope with change I would say that as a business owner I do not go looking for risk, nor do I take risks unnecessarily and particularly where there is little or no strategy or plan behind them and especially without fully pricing them. I certainly would not risk losing the stability and security of being a part of a successful 300 year old union based on a proposal that demonstrates there will be little or no benefit to businesses that could not be delivered today as part of the UK.
I am also concerned that a yes vote would damage the relationship I have with my clients in the rest of the UK. That and the additional costs to doing business in an independent Scotland will inhibit our growth and our ability to create jobs. With 70% of Scotland’s trade being with the rest of the UK it makes no sense to create barriers where there does not have to be any, which lies at the heart of the EU and their goals.
And then there are the jobs it would affect, Gordon Brown this week stated more than one million jobs in Scotland would be at risk as they are dependent on UK based companies or companies that trade within the UK. Why are we risking those much needed jobs that affect families and people thought the country?
We have already seen a number of established, successful Scottish businesses state that the business case of independence has not been made, including the bank HSBC, Audrey Baxter of soup and food firm Baxters, and Ian Curle, chief executive of the Scottish whisky firm that makes Famous Grouse and Macallan. All of whom represent thousands of jobs in Scotland and the UK.
Rather than dismissing these concerns, the many as yet unanswered questions and the many experts from around the world I would want the Yes campaign to face them head on and be honest about the potential risks as well as opportunities an Independent Scotland could result in. I don’t believe we have had an answer and particularly in business terms on either the risks or opportunities that might occur with a Yes vote.
I believe that remaining part of a secure, stable and growing economy is best for business, best for jobs and best for Scotland which is why I will be voting no thanks on the 18th of September.