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  A new survey which found 63% of businesses outside Scotland want alterations to current funding arrangements demonstrates the danger of remaining in the United Kingdom, the SNP has said.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey also found considerable support for a currency union among businesses in the rest of the UK should Scotland vote Yes in September’s referendum.

In addition, the study discovered that over 90% of businesses outwith Scotland consider the debate to have had no impact on their corporate decisions to date but most (85%) wanted Scotland to remain in the Union.

However only a quarter agreed that Scotland should have any more powers with over one fifth calling for powers to be returned to Westminster.

The survey comes in the wake of calls to scrap the Barnett Formula – the method used to allocate tax revenues from Westminster to the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, recently said he expects the Labour Party to commit to ending the use of the Barnett Formula in its 2015 general election manifesto, while the Shadow Welsh Secretary, Owen Smith, said the mechanism had “seen its day”.

The SNP criticised the calls, suggesting such a decision would see an additional £4bn cut from Scotland’s budget if the country remained in the UK at that stage.

Stewart Hosie, Treasury spokesperson for the SNP, said the results of the latest BCC survey showed that businesses elsewhere in the UK were happy for the Westminster parties to commit to more cuts to Scotland’s public services in the event of a No vote.

“On top of unprecedented cuts we’ve already seen, senior figures at Westminster are committed to slashing another £4bn from Scotland’s public services – and this survey finds that businesses outside Scotland would pile further pressure onto the UK Government to do this,” said Mr Hosie.

The MP for Dundee East also referenced the currency debate as a whole when giving his opinion on the BCC survey and suggested that the debate on European Union membership was more worrying for businesses than the Scottish independence referendum.

“Businesses also stated that the referendum debate has had no impact on their business decisions,” continued Mr Hosie. “The biggest threat to UK business is Westminster’s obsession with a referendum on EU membership that could see us ripped out of the European Union.”

He added: “It is no surprise that the survey finds that a currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK is the preferred option of businesses.

“The inescapable truth is that a currency union is in the interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

Key findings from the BCC survey included:

The majority of businesses outside of Scotland want Scotland to remain part of the UK

·        The majority of businesses surveyed (85%) said that Scotland should remain within the UK

·        Only 11% of firms said that Scotland should become an independent country

·        If Scotland votes to remain part of the UK, almost half of businesses (49%) believe that the current division of power should remain the same

·        Exactly a quarter of businesses (25%) said that the Scottish Parliament should have more power if Scotland remains part of the UK, but a fifth (21%) also said it should have less

More than half of firms outside of Scotland do not see any opportunities with independence

·        Two thirds of businesses (63%) say no new opportunities would arise for their businesses if Scotland votes for independence

·        Only 6% of companies believe that potential tax savings (due to different tax rates between Scotland and the rest of the UK in the case of independence) would be an opportunity for their business

·        Firms identified the highest risk as trading across borders should Scotland become independent, (26%), and identified future currency arrangements as the most important issue (47%) for their business

Businesses outside of Scotland would favour a reform of the Barnett formula if Scotland voted to remain part of the UK

·        63% of businesses said it was important that the current arrangements for allocating public expenditure between the UK nations were reformed, should Scotland vote ‘no’ in September

A third of firms outside of Scotland would like a formal currency union between the UK and Scotland if Scotland votes for independence

·        Just over one third of businesses believe a formal currency union would be in the best interests of the UK if Scotland became independent (35%)

·        More than a quarter (28%) said Scotland should create its own currency if it votes for independence, 18% said it should join the Euro and 8% said it should retain Sterling but not join a formal currency union

The Scotland referendum debate hasn’t impacted the majority of firms south of the border, but more firms perceive a negative impact since the BCC’s 2013 survey

·        A clear majority (91%) of businesses outside Scotland said that the independence debate has had no impact on business decisions to date

·        However, reports of negative impacts are increasing. 11% of firms reported the debate having a negative impact on orders and sales, compared with only 5% in August last year.

·        The percentage of businesses reporting that the debate had a negative impact on their decisions to invest was up to 11% from 6% last year.

Comparisons between businesses outside of Scotland, and businesses based in Scotland:

The BCC’s sister organisation, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), published a related survey last week made up of responses from businesses based in Scotland. This is how the results compared with the British Chambers of Commerce survey of businesses based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

·        In Scotland, 24% of businesses report that their decisions have already been influenced by the independence debate, whereas outside of Scotland, this number drops to 9%

·        Business in Scotland are more than twice as likely to expect to change their strategy (49%), than in the rest of the UK (20%) if Scotland becomes independent

·        In the event of a ‘no’ vote, 68% of Scottish businesses would like to see more powers given to the Scottish Parliament, compared with 25% of businesses in the rest of the UK.

·        Nearly three quarters of companies surveyed in Scotland (74%) said currency arrangements were an important issue. Whilst this was the most important single issue for businesses based outside of Scotland, it was identified by only 47% of them.

Commenting, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Business opinion across the United Kingdom on the Scottish independence debate is far from unanimous. That’s only logical, as businesses have different interests, and different views on our complex history of economic and political union.

“Businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland remain less than captivated by the intense debate unfolding north of the border. Yet they do have views on the potential impacts of a change in Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the UK.

“In the event of a ‘yes’ vote, cross-border trading and currency arrangements loom large in businesses’ thinking. If Scotland votes ‘no’, constitutional questions remain around the devolution of power and the distribution of public funding between nations.

“Business communities across the UK have diverse views on the Scottish independence debate. Yet one thing is for certain. Regardless of how Scotland votes in September, things will never be quite the same again.”


# aballoch 2014-05-07 08:16
It`s not surprising that businesses or general public are less than captivated by the independence debate, they are given no information on it. I live in Oxfordshire and, of course, get all the "national" news from an English point of view. There are rare instances where a "totally neutral" ( one yes to two no voters usually)mention is given with a quick reminder that public spending is higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK. There is NEVER any information regarding Scotland`s contribution. Even some of my more enlightened and usually better informed colleagues still see Scotland as living off the rest of the UK ( they usually say England then `oh sorry I meant the rest of the UK`).
# Mac 2014-05-07 08:45
After the CBI farce I doubt Scots now pay heed to what the bosses have to say about Scotland's future.

They are a completely discredited bunch.
# bringiton 2014-05-07 09:01
So,without anything else being considered,sepa ration will mean that we will keep £4bn of our income by not handing it over to Westminster.
It is OUR money,not Westminster's.
Even Better Together must now realise that Scotland will be better apart.
# Breeks 2014-05-07 09:05
This is a very simplistic way to look at business.
If Scottish business has gone through years of under investment and been obliged through lack of opportunity to focus its capacity on a narrow spectrum of customers, then we should be cautious of that business model being the 'ideal'.
That applies whether it's ship building restricted to the military, house building that is hostage to the over capacity in bulk timber frame, or specialist products like tweed and hosiery squeezed into niche markets where name is as important as quality.
This business model does not represent a healthy economy.
As a Nation, we need a root and branch re-evaluation of our attitudes to business, and I mean right down to the DNA level. To Hell with Scottish Enterprise and fishing for business with a grant on a hook. That model has failed, and done nothing while our trades, crafts and specialisms have withered and died.
It falls so far short of good enough.
# macgilleleabhar 2014-05-07 11:48
I have posted elsewhere that I thought the Referendum was about the people within Scotland not business outwith Scotland.
If Scotland is not to become a social democracy, where people not service industries come first,we will have failed.
In the unlikely event of companies based outwith Scotland cutting back on their involvement here,others will fill the gaps which may in turn benefit local companies.
Lets evaluate how we can have a better structure across our whole society by not having "Top- down" government but Down-Up governance.
# argyll6 2014-05-07 15:41
After watching Scottish questions at Westminster, I can understand why people outside Scotland believe we are a kept people unable to look after ourselves, not one Labour MP stood up for their country, they all tried to demean it, Lets hope we get our independence and they get what they deserve, their p.45's

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