Scottish independence: What have businesses been saying?

March is the end of the financial year in the UK, when businesses announce their annual results and outline plans for the future.

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Scotland Decides

Go to the BBC's Scotland Decides page for analysis, background and explainers.

With the Scottish independence referendum just months away, many big businesses have used their announcements to explain what independence would mean for them.

The economy is widely regarded as the key campaign battleground in the build up to the referendum which takes place on 18 September. Voters in Scotland will be asked the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

So, what have some businesses said so far?

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Property investors
Woman looking in estate agent's window Property investors are split over whether independence would be good for Scotland

Caledonian Trust Plc, the Edinburgh-based property investment holding and development company, said in its interim results that the economic prospects for an independent Scotland "are not favourable".

Chairman Ian Douglas Lowe said the costs of independence would be "very high" for businesses, particularly Scotland's financial sector.

However, Dan Macdonald, chief executive of Edinburgh-based property investor Macdonald Estates, disagreed with this assessment, saying independence would create growth.

He added: "Full fiscal autonomy can equip the Scottish Parliament with the financial tools it needs to tailor policy and priorities to Scotland's particular needs, to secure investment and stimulate growth in the economy, and to create jobs."

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SSE
Electricity pylon SSE is the UK's second largest energy supplier

A single UK energy market would be "likely" if Scotland becomes independent, according to SSE.

The company, which is the UK's second largest energy supplier, issued a statement which said "a single energy market in Great Britain would be the most likely outcome in the event of a 'Yes' vote".

The statement also recognised that post-independence negotiations between the Scottish and UK governments could be "complex" and might result in changes to the existing market.

It added: "SSE has already put in place arrangements to ensure that it takes account of this uncertainty in its decision-making and is undertaking work to ensure that it has a clear view of the issues that would arise should there be a 'Yes' vote, and is in a good position to engage constructively with the Scottish and UK governments in the event of Scotland ceasing to be part of the UK."

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Jupiter Fund Management
Maarten Slendebroak Maarten Slendebroak said he saw "significant long term business opportunity" in Scotland

Chief Executive Maarten Slendebroek said the investment firm's Scottish business would prosper regardless of the outcome of September's vote.

Mr Slendebroek said: "While the uncertainty regarding Scotland's future is a concern for business in the short term, we see a significant long term business opportunity for Jupiter in Scotland.

"It has a vibrant financial services sector and is home to many of the wealth management clients we are targeting. That will not change, regardless of the outcome of a referendum."

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BlackRock
BlackRock HQ Blackrock sent its assessment on Scottish independence to its clients

The world's biggest investment fund manager has said Scottish independence would bring "major uncertainties, costs and risks".

Blackrock's assessment was that those risks would be "mostly for Scotland, but also for the remaining UK".

The New York based company, which manages trillions in financial assets, believed a currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK "looks infeasible" and would "bring risks to both countries".

It added that "best of the few choices" Scotland had would be to launch its own currency.

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Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook aeroplane Thomas Cook's chief executive said the Scottish government's pledge to reduce air passenger duty was a "relatively small part" of the independence debate

Travel giant Thomas Cook told online news service the Huffington Post that two referendums - the Scottish independence vote and the potential UK referendum on EU membership - were creating "massive uncertainty" for business.

Chief executive Harriet Green said both votes were unsettling for companies looking to create jobs and attract investment.

Ms Green also dismissed British Airways boss Willie Walsh's suggestion that independence could be a "positive development", due to the Scottish government's pledge to cut and eventually scrap air passenger duty.

She said air passenger duty was a "relatively small part of that debate".

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Next
Next store The Next chief executive was asked about independence after the company announced increased profits

The chief executive of clothes and homeware retailer Next said Scottish independence would have no effect on how the company was managed.

According to The Herald, Lord Wolfson said: "I don't think it would make any difference. We manage our business in Eire how we manage in the UK.

"We do not see Scottish independence as a business issue."

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BAE
Shipyard BAE employs about 3,000 workers on the Clyde

BAE Systems said continued union between Scotland and the rest of the UK offers "greater certainty and stability" for its business.

The company employs about 3000 workers on the Clyde and is helping to construct two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers.

Chief executive Ian King said: "BAE Systems has significant interests and employees in Scotland, and it is clear that continued union offers greater certainty and stability for our business.

"In the event that Scotland voted to become independent, we would need to discuss the way forward with the Ministry of Defence and UK government, and work with them to deliver the best solution in those circumstances."

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Ineos
Grangemouth oil refinery The Grangemouth oil refinery, which is owned by Ineos, employs more than 1,300 people

Jim Ratcliffe, whose company Ineos operates the Grangemouth oil refinery near Falkirk, said the vote will not make a difference to the future of the plant.

He told the BBC: "[Grangemouth] will survive in both scenarios. I don't think the Scottish vote will make any difference to Grangemouth one way or the other."

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British Chambers of Commerce
BCC logo The BCC represents about 92,000 businesses across the UK

The British Chambers of Commerce said its members are not saying "Yes" or "No" to Scottish independence, but they're looking for clarity on four issues.

Head of policy, Adam Marshall, told the BBC: "[Members] want to know what's going to happen on currency, they want to know what's going to happen on tax, they want to know what's going to happen on pensions, and they want to know what's going to happen on Europe.

"What they aren't saying to us is yes or no, what they're saying to us is we want to know what's going to happen on these particular issues because otherwise we are being asked to make a prediction based upon something we as a business would never do."

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Alliance Trust
Katherine Garrett-Cox Chief executive, Katherine Garrett-Cox, has announced contingency plans for independence

Investment firm Alliance Trust has said it is setting up companies registered in England ahead of the referendum.

The Dundee-based company said it had to remain focused on services in the UK and beyond.

Chief executive Katherine Garrett-Cox said: "The referendum in September is creating uncertainty for our customers and our business, which we have a responsibility to address.

"Regardless of the outcome it is critical that we are able to provide continuity of service and protection for their investments and savings.

"To give them full confidence, we have started work to establish additional companies registered in England, in order to provide operational flexibility and to complement our existing business in Scotland."

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Aviva
Aviva sign Chief executive Mark Wilson wants Aviva to stay neutral in the debate

The boss of insurance giant Aviva, Marks Wilson, has stressed that he is neutral in the independence debate, saying that it is a decision for the Scottish people.

He said: "Obviously we are looking with interest at what's going on, but I really think that's an issue for the Scottish people.

"We operate all around the world and we operate in many jurisdictions and in many places so I really think that's not an issue for us to focus on."

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Aggreko
Aggreko cargo Aggreko is the world's largest temporary power company

The temporary power firm, Aggreko, said that independence would make doing business more complex, but that it would find a way to deal with it.

The Glasgow based enterprise said: "If Scotland were to leave the United Kingdom and become an independent country, it would likely burden our UK business with added operating complexity and cost.

"There is also a risk that the outcome of the issues of currency and membership of the EU will not be helpful to our business.

"At the very least, if Scotland votes for independence we will face some years of uncertainty and hiatus."

Aggreko stressed, however, that it would "find ways to manage around this challenge if it arises".

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Standard Life
David Nish David Nish, chief executive of Standard Life, said plans have been made for independence

Standard Life has had its headquarters in Scotland for 189 years. However, its annual report stated that it would consider moving parts of it business elsewhere in the event of Scottish independence.

The report said Scotland had been a great base for the company, but added: "If anything were to threaten this, we will take whatever action we consider necessary - including transferring parts of our operations from Scotland - in order to ensure continuity and to protect the interests of our stakeholders."

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British Airways
Willie Walsh Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA's owners, was positive about independence

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways' owner company, IAG, was positive about independence due to what he believed would be more favourable tax rates.

He told the BBC: "If anything, [Scottish independence] might be marginally positive because I suspect the Scottish government will abolish air passenger duty, because they recognise the huge impact that that tax has on their economy.

"So, it's probably going to be a positive development - if it does happen - for British Airways."

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Lloyds
Lloyd sign Lloyds assessed the risk of independence in their annual report

Lloyds - which is Britain's biggest bank - said that uncertainty surrounds what would happen in the event of a "yes" vote in the referendum.

Its annual report stated: "The impact of a yes vote in favour of Scottish independence is uncertain.

"The outcome could have a material impact on compliance costs, the tax position and cost of funding for the group."

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Ryanair
Michael O Leary Michael O'Leary said independence might boost Scottish tourism

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, said he supported the position of the Scottish government in relation to the abolition of air passenger duty in an independent Scotland.

He explained: "There's no doubt that most airlines would support the position of the Scottish government in relation to the abolition of the APD (air passenger duty), which does untold damage to Scottish tourism."

"If the air travel tax were repealed by the UK government or an independent Scottish government, you'd see visitors to Scotland double over a five to 10 year period."

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BP
BP sign The head of BP urged Scotland to stay in the UK

Bob Dudley, BP boss, said that the prospect of Scottish independence created "a big question mark" which will create concern for all businesses.

He said: "We have a lot of people in Scotland, we've got a lot of investments in Scotland. There's much debate about what would happen with the currency and of course whether there would be connections with Europe or not.

"These are quite big uncertainties for us. At the moment we're continuing to invest at the (same) pace because these projects are under way.

"But it's a question mark. I think all businesses have a concern. My personal view is Great Britain is great and it ought to stay together."

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Shell
Ben van Beurden Ben van Beurden urged Scotland to stay in the UK, and the UK to stay in the EU

The chief executive of the oil company, Shell, wants Scotland to remain in the UK for the sake of "continuity and stability".

Ben van Beurden said: "We're used to operating in uncertain political and economic environments. But, given a choice, we want to know as accurately as possible what investment conditions will look like 10 or 20 years from now.

"As a global business with feet planted firmly on both sides of the Channel, we also believe that the UK's national interests are best served by a close relationship with Europe.

"It's for similar reasons that we'd like to see Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom.

"Shell has a long history of involvement in the North Sea - and therefore in Scotland - and we continue to invest more than a billion pounds there every year."

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RBS
An RBS branch RBS has been based in Scotland for nearly 300 years

RBS chairman Philip Hampton told shareholders at the bank's annual meeting on 25 June that the state-backed lender was considering its options should Scotland vote for independence in September.

He said the bank would continue to maintain a "neutral position" but warned that the issue had created "a great deal of uncertainty" and would have implications for the bank's credit rating, tax and regulation.

He added: "We are having to consider the possible business implications of a 'Yes' vote and our response.

"We maintain a continuous dialogue with the Bank of England, UKFI (UK Financial Investments) and the UK government and the Scottish government on these matters."

Several months ago, RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said the bank could adapt to independence if it had to.

He said: "It's really important that the Scottish people get the opportunity to vote, and then if I need to adapt my business to serve England, Scotland, Wales and both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, then I will."

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    10:21: Big G move

    The Big G in Glasgow's George Square, which marked the city's hosting of the Commonwealth Games, is to be given a new permanent outdoor display site.

    But the city council has not yet revealed where it will be located.

    big g

    Work will begin on Monday to dismantle it. It will then be strengthened and the metal will be treated to make it fit to be permanently displayed outdoors.

    Alongside the Big G, Glasgow City Council is looking into new homes for the 25 Clyde statues around the city.

     
  55.  
    10:15: Morning Call BBC Radio Scotland

    We're currently discussing Prof Richard Dawkins's controversial comments that it may be immoral for a mother to continue with a pregnancy if she knows the baby would be born with Down's syndrome.

    Prof Dawkins justified his statement by saying that he was expressing a scientific opinion which reflected what actually happened most of the time.

    Do you agree? Call 0500 92 95 00, email your views here or text us on 80295.

    You can listen live to the debate here.

     
  56.  
    Text 80295 10:05: Banter - your views

    When does banter become unacceptable?

    John Hall, Ayr: Those offended need a reality check. Obviously his comments are not pleasant and I don't share his bigotry, but privacy is the important thing here. The right to freedom of speech must be paramount.

    Mark in Cumbernauld: I have sent and received many texts that could be deemed as offensive but there was always humour in them. I don't see where the humour is in Malkys texts. That to me is the difference, they are not humorous but offensive.

    Craig: People who use such terms and consider it banter need to look at their own morality. Are these texts private? Not if sent using a phone paid for by his employer in which case they are the property of his employer.

    What do you think? Call 0500 92 95 00, email your views here or text us on 80295.

     
  57.  
    09:56: HSBC chief warns of 'capital flight'

    Uncertainty over currency in an independent Scotland could lead to "capital flight" from the country, according to the chairman of HSBC.

    Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Douglas Flint warned that a "Yes" vote in next month's referendum could leave Scotland's financial system in a "parlous state".

    Mr Flint, who describes himself as an exiled Scot, said the sterling currency union was an "anchor of financial stability" for Scotland.

    The three main parties at Westminster have all ruled out the Scottish government's preferred option of a formal currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK.

     
  58.  
    09:48: James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    Campaigners for Scottish independence say more than a million people have signed a declaration in favour of a "yes" vote.

     
  59.  
    09:44: Lightbulb moment

    A village in the Highlands is to host an open access wi-fi zone in a pilot project aimed at boosting internet services for businesses and tourists.

    The zone should be up and running in Brora by the end of the month.

    Science Photo Library

    But this isn't the first time the village, which is home to just 1,300 people, has been at the forefront of technological innovation - find out here why it's been dubbed Electric City for more than a century.

     
  60.  
    09:36: Flu jag

    Every child in Scotland aged 2-11 will be offered the flu vaccine from this autumn as part of a new immunisation programme.

    Children are two to three times more likely to be ill with flu than adults.

    So about 150,000 children aged two to five and 400,000 primary school children will be offered flu vaccination in 2014/15 to help protect them and reduce the risk of flu being spread to others.

    The vaccine will be given as a nasal spray.

     
  61.  
    09:23: Scots sprinter wins second gold

    Teenage sprint sensation Maria Lyle claimed her second gold medal at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea.

    Maria Lyle

    The Scot, 14, won T35 100m gold on Wednesday, had an equally comfortable win in the 200m event in 31.05 seconds.

    "I'm really pleased, even though the time wasn't as fast as I would have liked," she told BBC Sport.

     
  62.  
    Text 80295 09:13: Banter - your views

    When does banter become unacceptable?

    Al from Strathaven: Here we go again. How easily offended the easily offended are! I doubt there is anyone listening who has not received or indeed sent an iffy text. Do the thought police now stop us telling the old jokes about the Scotsman, Englishman and Irishman. Its pathetic!

    Tommy in Ardrossan: Think the attitudes expressed by the texts are offensive and outdated but how did someone get hold of the private texts? Who dug them up who released them and why?

    Darren D ‏via Twitter: I'm not supporting Mackay but life would be v dull without banter.

    What do you think? Call 0500 92 95 00, email your views here or text us on 80295.

     
  63.  
    08:58: Jean Redpath tribute

    Scottish singer Jean Redpath has died, aged 77.

    Scottish singer and songwriter Sheena Wellington told Good Morning Scotland Jean was the "foremost ambassador for Scottish traditional song for more than 50 years".

    jean redpath

    Wellington said: "She brought back lots of songs that had been lost in the mists of time and performed with such grace and humour."

    She said Jean had brought Scottish traditional music to an American audience.

    "She would walk on stage and smile at the audience and that was it, they were won over. She believed implicitly in what she was doing."

     
  64.  
    08:51: Morning Call BBC Radio Scotland

    Former English Premier League football manager Malky Mackay has apologised for sending disrespectful text messages.

    On Morning Call, Kaye Adams asks: When does banter become unacceptable?

    malky mackay

    Tell us what you think by calling 0500 92 95 00, texting 80295 or emailing. The lines are open now.

    You can listen live to the debate here.

     
  65.  
    08:43: Ferguson's shipyards

    The first minister is due in Port Glasgow this morning to meet the workers laid off when the Ferguson's shipyard went into administration a week ago.

    The deadline for interested parties to table bids for the yard was up at 5pm last night.

    This morning it has emerged that the engineering tycoon - Jim McColl- has thrown his hat in the ring.

    The chairman of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions - Jim Moohan - told Good Morning Scotland he welcomed the interest that was being shown in the yard.

    He said: "I'd be very confident a very successful businessman like Jim McColl could develop a strategy and vision to put the yard in a very competitive place."

     
  66.  
    08:35: Newspaper review

    The front pages of Scotland's newspapers carry stories of the referendum, shipbuilding on the Clyde and Paul Gascoigne, as well as the situation in Iraq.

    newspapers

    You can see our newspaper review here.

     
  67.  
    08:28: What is tidal power?

    The director of the group behind a major tidal power project in the Pentland Firth said Scotland is now a world leader in tidal power.

    Tim Cornelius explained to Good Morning Scotland what tidal does and how it works.

    He said: "It is like an underwater windmill.

    "So just picture a turbine with three blades that goes underwater and literally the turbines rotate as the current comes in and the current goes out.

    "Big advantage of tidal power is it is completely submerged so you don't see it and you don't hear it."

    Mr Cornelius said the energy production from tidal was constant and high-predictable.

     
  68.  
    08:22: Power from the sea

    The construction of a major tidal energy project is set to begin later this year in the Pentland Firth.

    It has been announced that the MeyGen scheme has secured £50m in funding.

    Of that, more than £20m will come from the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

    Atlantis CEO and MeyGen director Tim Cornelius. told Good Morning Scotland: "This is now the largest tidal power project, what we call free stream tidal power, certainly in Europe, if not the world. So, it certainly puts Scotland on the map as now being the world leader in free stream tidal power."

     
  69.  
    08:15: School gate

    The Independence referendum campaigns are being barred from most schools in Scotland ahead of polling day, BBC research finds. Read the story here.

     
  70.  
    08:10: GP websites

    Too few GPs have a website or allow appointments to be booked online, according to Reform Scotland. Read the story here.

    doctors
     
  71.  
    08:06: BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Edinburgh M8 - eastbound delays between J2 Claylands and J1 Hermiston Gait

    In Edinburgh, Leith Walk - the traffic lights are out of action at Annandale Street, take care through the junction

    Glasgow M8 - looking slow eastbound around junction 22 Plantation

    That's true of the Glasgow-bound M77 at junction 2 Barrhead Road

     
  72.  
    08:02: BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    It is a chilly start across most places this morning. A lot of dry and bright weather to come for many, with some good spells of sunshine - particularly across the southern half of the country.

    Some showers around through parts of the north - the most frequent of which are found in the North West Highlands, and across Aberdeenshire.

    Some showers are feeding down the west coast too.

    Showers will continue through the day, becoming more extensive down the east coast this afternoon - with perhaps the odd rumble of thunder in among them.

    Temperatures around 16/17C in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Further north, closer to 14/15C - still on the cool side for the time of year.

     
  73.  
    08:00: Steven Brocklehurst BBC Scotland news website

    Good morning and welcome from the Scotland Live team and our rolling live text service of news, sport, weather and travel from across the country between now and 6pm.

     

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