South East concern over Scottish referendum uncertainty

A 'Scotland Welcomes You' sign in Gretna at the border between Scotland and England Image copyright AFP

In less than one week's time people in Scotland will make an historic decision when they vote whether to remain part of the United Kingdom or to become independent.

In the past 24 hours Lloyds, RBS, Clydesdale, and Tesco Bank have all said that if Scotland votes for independence they would move their legal headquarters south of the border.

So, the stakes have never been higher for both the yes and no camps. It's a contentious issue - not just north of the border but here in the South East too.

At Versapak International, near Dartford, they make, amongst other things, ballot boxes and security seals, some of which will be used by local authorities for the referendum next week. Like many companies, which trade with Scotland, they're concerned about the current uncertainty - particularly over whether Scotland would be able to continue to use the pound or not.

Referendum repercussions

The company's business development manager Julie Goddard says: "Nobody quite knows at the moment what this is going to mean for people, what currency would come into play - whether they would become part of the EU."

The Yes campaign want to keep the pound as part of a formal currency union with the rest of the UK, arguing that is in everyone's best interests, but the three main UK parties - the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats - say that whoever's in power after the next UK election will not agree to such a move.

Ms Goddard also says the company has long established relationships with Scotland and with countries within the EU but they have very different ways of dealing with the different customers.

Although people living in Kent and Sussex - even those originally from Scotland - won't have a vote on September 18 many still feel strongly about the future of the Union.

I went to Maidstone to ask whether Scotland should remain in the Union or become independent.

One man told me he would like the Scots to stay in the Union - because he thinks it makes sense financially - and he adds "because I like the Scots".

A Scot, now settled in Kent, says he believes his home country can sustain itself and thinks their welfare and health service are better than the rest of the UK's so they should take the opportunity to vote Yes.

If it's a "Yes" vote the repercussions will be felt on both sides of the border.

Andy McSmith, who writes for The Independent, says: "If Scotland votes to break away I think there will be a lot of demands for regional devolution in England because people in Newcastle live nearer Edinburgh than Kent and they probably feel more in common with the Scots than the southern English.

"They'll say if the Scots have got independence we want devolution - so the consequences will be enormous."

Whatever the outcome next week - it will have a long-term and wide-reaching effect.