Plant & Works Engineering

UK Industry still unclear of repercussions of a 'yes' vote

Published:  12 September, 2014

With the Scottish referendum nearly upon us, manufacturers both north and south of the border are still unclear of the repercussions of a yes vote with many serious questions remaining unanswered, according to business and engineering organisations.

Sir Mike Rake told an audience of business leaders that the CBI has a right and a duty to raise questions about issues of legitimate interest for businesses, workers and citizens across the UK. The question he said is not whether an independent Scotland would survive outside the UK but whether it would prosper.

Speaking at the CBI Scotland Annual Dinner at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow, Sir Mike said that he firmly believes the UK is and always has been greater than the sum of its parts and warned that the risk of a yes vote for Scotland and the UK is enormous.

Sir Mike said: “A yes vote based on so many substantive questions unanswered, will be a binary decision – a one way ticket to uncertainty with no return. “Currency union is an example. The liability, exposure and lack of control such a union would levy on the UK taxpayer makes it an obvious non-negotiable position for the UK Government. It’s why we wanted to see what the Scottish Government’s alternative plan would be.

He added: “We should have no fear of drawing strength from what is achievable as one state. Scotland also benefits from the gifts of our shared institutions: the NHS, the BBC, the Royal Mint, the Armed Forces …200 bodies in all. But there is a profound difference between how we share them now, and the sharing of them with a neighbouring but separate nation state. Nothing can be taken for granted, and there are no guarantees.

“As a new state, Scotland would have to leave and reapply to join and negotiate the terms of its EU membership. And to achieve this may well mean signing up to the Euro and Schengen. So, the question is whether all this negotiation would match the favourable terms established by the UK? Nothing can be taken for granted, and there are no guarantees.”

Sir Mike also raised the UK’s global future and made clear that open markets are an essential part of an open economy.”

The comments come after more than 100 senior business leaders representing some of the largest organisations across the UK and Scotland signed a letter speaking out against Scottish independence.

Signatories from sectors including engineering, mining, technology and the financial services put their names to a letter in a recent edition of the Scotsman newspaper saying the business case for Scotland going it alone had "not been made".