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Business Quotations

A selection of quotations from people involved in business with reference to Scottish independence
  • David Nish – Chief Executive, Standard Life

    "We have been in Edinburgh for a long period of time, over 180 years. We are proud of our Scottish heritage. The only thing I will keep under review is the competitiveness of our business."

    Source: The Herald
    Date: 14 March 2012

    Note: Standard Life’s Chief Executive responding to queries around the likelihood of the firm reviewing the location of their headquarters in an Independent Scotland. Mr Nish did call for "greater clarity and certainty" on taxation and regulation.

  • Stephen Hester – Chief Executive, Royal Bank of Scotland

    "We operate in lots of different places, Scotland is of course our heartland, and we operate within whatever the politicians or the people decide are the rules of the land, so we’re not going to get involved in a political debate."

    Source: STV News website
    Date: 9 October 2012

    Note: Comments made by Stephen Hester, in an interview with STV News, that the Royal Bank’s operations in Scotland would not be affected by a vote in favour of Scottish independence in the referendum.

  • Jim McColl OBE – Chief Executive, Clyde Blowers

    "The significance of these constraints for the future of our domestic industry and the associated jobs suggests to me that we require the levers of full economic control."

    Source: The Herald
    Date: 7 September 2012

    Note: Jim McColl commenting that the current economic and fiscal constraints in which the Scottish Government operates suggests that the full economic levers are needed to generate a stronger economy.

  • Spokesperson For Wood Group

    "We do not consider the outcome of any independence vote for Scotland will have an impact on the business."

    Source: The Business Herald (supplement to The Herald)
    Date: 4 September 2012

    Note: A spokesperson for the Wood Group commenting that Scottish independence would not make any difference to the multinational company’s business and operations.

  • Spokesperson for Mitsui

    "Mitsui believe that Scotland has a bright future for further development of its energy resources and are excited about its participation."

    Source: Scottish Government/Mitsui Press Release
    Date: 16 April 2012

    Note: Manager of Japanese industrial group on the announcement of a Scottish-Japanese partnership to invest in oil and gas and renewables opportunities in Scotland and internationally.

  • Douglas Fraser - BBC Business and Economy Editor

    "The evidence of economic meltdown in the event of independence is not stacking up as its opponents had hoped... It may be that some companies are choosing not to invest in Scotland because of uncertainty over its constitutional future. But if so, most are keeping quiet about it."

    Source: BBC Online – column by Douglas Fraser
    Date: 28 March 2012

    Note: Column by BBC’s business and economy editor, Douglas Fraser, stating that foreign investors show confidence in Scotland, following the recent investment by GlaxoSmithKline in Montrose and Irvine.

  • Keith Cochrane – Chief Executive, Weir Group

    "The Weir Group has a proud history of more than 140 years as a leading Scottish engineering business. I want that to continue for at least another 140 years and it is important that the conditions exist for quality debate around what a post-independence business environment could look like."

    Source: The Herald
    Date:12 November 2012

    Note: Keith Cochrane commenting that he would like the Weir Group to continue as a leading Scottish engineering business well beyond the 2014 referendum, and urging businesses to become actively involved in the debate over Scottish independence

  • Malcolm Fraser – Founder, Malcolm Fraser Architects
    James Aitken – Partner, Legal Knowledge Scotland
    Michelle Rodger – Founder, Tartan Cat Communications
    Dan MacDonald – Chief Executive, Macdonald Estates
    Peter De Vink – Managing Director, EFGH
    Jim McColl – Chief Executive, Clyde Blowers
    Jay Spence – Chief Executive, Infiniti Properties Management

    "It now looks certain that the UK Government has rejected the possibility of a second question on more economic powers for Scotland in the 2014 referendum. We believe that if our nation is to realise its full potential and if we are to deliver a fairer, more competitive and faster growing economy, Scotland’s parliament needs the full range of economic and social levers."

    Source: STV News website
    Date: 13 October 2012

    Note: Comments made by seven leading Scottish business people, in an open letter published by Yes Scotland, that independence would be the best option for Scotland’s economic growth in the absence of a second question on more economic powers in the 2014 referendum.

  • Ian Godden – Former Chairman of ADS

    "Scotland can maintain its position in defence interests because there is an individual capability and engineering capability that Scotland has got which makes it attractive."

    Source: The Scotsman
    Date: 21 January 2013

    Note: Comments by Ian Godden, at a Commons Scottish Affairs Committee hearing, that the international nature of defence contracts meant that an independent Scotland could have a successful defence industry.

  • Tom Wilson – Chief Executive, Glasgow – Prestwick International Airport

    "There is no reason – particularly under independence – that Prestwick could not provide that for Scotland."

    Source: BBC Business Scotland (interview with Douglas Fraser)
    Date: 10 December 2012

    Note: Comments by Tom Wilson that an independent Scotland would open up business and provide a boost for the Ayrshire-based airport, as well as for the wider Scottish economy. Mr Wilson also commented that independence would allow the Scottish Government to have full control of Air Passenger Duty, which would allow more flights and choices to be brought to airports across Scotland

  • Ernst & Young’s Attractiveness Survey

    "Perhaps most surprisingly, respondents attracted by the UK’s corporate taxation regime and/or by its relatively stable political climate were more likely to favour Scotland as an investment location over the rest of the UK. This further indicates that, as of the 2011 data, concerns over the prospect of independence and its impact on taxation levels are having little or no effect on foreign direct investment decisions."

    Source: The Scotsman
    Date: 20 June 2012

    Note: Extracts from the recent Ernst and Young Attractiveness Survey which states that the prospect of independence is having little or no effect on foreign direct investment decisions in Scotland.

  • John McGlynn – Founder, Airlink

    "If a stronger-powers option is not included in the 2014 referendum, I, like many others in the business community, will most likely come to the conclusion that the worst of all options is the status quo and back independence."

    Source: The Scotsman
    Date: 11 June 2012

    Note: Made by John McGlynn, founder of leading Scottish firm Airlink, that the absence of an more powers option would lead him to vote for independence.

  • Martin Gilbert – Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management Group

    "My only plea is that we have a logical argument and we can be told what the figures are. We have very little in the way of hard facts."

    Source: Press and Journal
    Date: 18 January 2013

    Note: Comments by Martin Gilbert in which he calls for a "logical argument" in the constitutional debate with some hard facts and figures. Mr Gilbert also commented that Scottish independence "would not have much impact" on the Group as the company was "a global business"

  • Lord Lawson – Former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

    "I agree with you that Scotland is perfectly capable of being an independent nation. It's a very fine country. There are many independent countries in the world which have a lot less going for them than Scotland."

    Source: The Herald
    Date: 19 December 2012

    Note: Comments by Lord Lawson, at the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee hearing, that Scotland would be well capable of being an independent country. Lord Lawson also criticised the Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, who was appearing before the Committee, about the lack of preparation by the UK Government for an independent Scotland if there were a Yes vote at the referendum.

  • Crawford Beveridge – Former Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise

    "Our concern has been with ensuring any system put in place is one that takes logical precautions against the problems of excessive indebtedness, poor fiscal controls and lax regulation that caused many of the problems the global economy now faces. At the same time we want to ensure in any future system Scotland learns from the best examples in areas such as efficient tax collection or fiscal responsibility."

    Source: Scotland on Sunday
    Date: 9 December 2012

    Note: Comments by Crawford Beveridge, on the work of the independent Fiscal Commission, that an independent Scotland should put precautions in place to limit excessive spending and borrowing to demonstrate that the country runs a ‘tight ship’. These recommendations will be part of a full list that the commission will publish early in 2013.

  • David Phillips - Institute for Fiscal Studies

    "With a geographic assignment of oil and gas revenues, on the other hand, the gap between revenues and spending in Scotland and in the UK has been similar, indeed somewhat smaller in Scotland… Over recent years, tax revenues from the North Sea, if allocated on a geographic basis, would have slightly more than paid for the additional public spending per head that currently occurs in Scotland relative to the UK as a whole."

    Source – Institute for Fiscal Studies Report - Scottish independence: the fiscal context.
    Date – 19 November 2012

    Note: Comments made by David Phillips, in the Institute for Fiscal Studies report, which suggest that Scotland pays its own way in the United Kingdom through North Sea oil and gas revenues.

  • John McLaren – Economist with the Centre for Public Policy for Regions

    "A well-governed and prudently operated Oil Fund would of course settle market nerves. It would also illustrate how Scotland, in contrast to the past behaviour of a series of UK governments, was seeking to operate a more fiscal sound model, albeit with annual spending levels lower than currently anticipated."

    Source: The Herald
    Date: 22 November 2012

    Note: John McLaren commenting that the creation of a prudently operated North Sea Oil Fund could allow an independent Scottish Government to have a sound fiscal model which could cope with the eventual decline in North Sea oil reserves.


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