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One year on: Scottish businesses call for stability rather than another referendum

3 min read

18 September 2015

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has raised the prospect of a second Scottish vote for independence.

Sturgeon has warned that the UK is “living on borrowed time” exactly one year after Scottish people voted no in the independence referendum.

However, business leaders in Scotland warned that the nation’s economy and companies needed stability rather than more uncertainty about the nation’s future.

In a speech today marking the 12-month anniversary of the referendum, Sturgeon said there would be “unstoppable” demand for another vote if the UK decided to leave the EU.

However she added: “If we are to win independence, we must convince a majority of Scots that it represents the best future for Scotland. That means we must persuade the people we failed to persuade last year.”

Business leaders may prove difficult for her to win over, with the “disruption” experienced by some companies in the long run-up to last year’s vote still fresh in their minds.

Garry Clark, of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, has warned: “Businesses don’t like uncertainty, we all know that. We’ve been faced with a great deal of it recently, whether it’s been the independence referendum last year, the general election this year and the European referendum. 

“So it is a function of how we’ve operated over the past few years. I think we want to ensure that we’ve as much stability as possible to get on with doing the job of growing the economy.”

Read content from the run up to the initial independence referendum:

Owen Kelly, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said: “The consequences and the scale of the uncertainties that would be generated by another referendum remains.”

Colin Borland, head of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland, said Scottish businesses had a variety of opinions over independence.

However, he added: “Some of our members reported that the independence referendum had a disruptive impact, especially on investment decisions; therefore a significant proportion of firms might not welcome another vote on the matter. 

“With all eyes on next year’s Scottish parliament election and likely referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU, Scottish firms already have a number of big political choices to make.”