Scottish referendum uncertainty hits jobs and investment

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

The recovery of the Scottish economy has been set back by uncertainty over the independence referendum, claimed an industry insider
The recovery of the Scottish economy has been set back by uncertainty over the independence referendum, claimed an industry insider

Related tags: United kingdom, Edinburgh

Uncertainty over the Scottish independence referendum had damaged the nation’s economy by stalling “hundreds of thousands of pounds of investment”, a food industry source has told the Food Manufacture Group.

The food industry insider – who asked to remain anonymous – said the lost investment had cost Scotland thousands of jobs, as the business community hedged its bets ahead of the independence vote on Thursday September 18.

“The elephant in the room during the whole debate​ [about independence] has been the drop in capital expenditure and investment since the referendum was announced,”​ the prominent Scottish food industry source told FoodManufacture.co.uk. “I have certainly seen a drop off in client expenditure during the period and I know I am not alone. How many jobs has this exercise in vainglory cost Scotland?

‘Thousands of lost jobs’

“It must be thousands of lost jobs and hundreds of thousands of pounds of stalled investment.”

Small to medium-sized enterprises particularly were delaying investment until the answers to key questions became clear, said the source. “The Yes campaign has neglected to provide any details on some vital questions, such as, if the vote is positive, what currency will Scotland use – the pound, the euro or the groat?”

Other key questions involved the impact of a yes vote on business tax rates, pensions, Scotland’s EU status and the fishing industry.

The high level of concern about a yes vote was even prompting some businesses to take options on commercial properties in Newcastle and the North East of England, said the source. “Commercial estate agents in the north of England report receiving queries from businesses about the cost of relocating from Scotland. But they are doing so quietly because of the amount of abuse flying around.”

‘Attacks of the cybernats’

Few business people dare voice opposition to a yes vote for fear of reprisals, continued the insider. “Many Scottish business people are wary of saying anything negative about a yes vote, in the light of the social media attacks of the cybernats​ [cyber-nationalists] on JK Rowling ​[after she backed the pro-union campaign Better Together].

“If they stick their head above the parapet, they worry they will get accused of all kinds of things – such as betraying their country.”

“I pray to God that Scotland will see sense over insanity. I do not believe the real questions have been addressed because the mob starts to shout people down.”

FoodManufacture.co.uk has asked the Scottish government to respond to the allegations.

Meanwhile, 200 celebrities – including Sir Mick Jagger, actress Helena Bonham Carter and Sting – have signed a letter urging Scottish voters to reject independence. The letter said: “We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them. What unites us is much greater than what divides us.”

Celebrities supporting independence include actors Sir Sean Connery and Brian Cox and novelist Irvine Welsh. 

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