Keith Brown reveals business considering idea of independent Scotland in EU

Written by Jenni Davidson on 14 October 2016 in News

Economy secretary Keith Brown said that a number of businesses were looking at the possibility Scotland remaining in the EU as part of their scenario planning

Businesses that previously were opposed to independence are now considering whether an independent Scotland could be better than a UK outside of Europe, economy secretary Keith Brown revealed last night.

He said businesses that were “vehemently” against independence in 2014 are considering whether an independent Scotland remaining in the EU could provide the certainty they need.

Brown was speaking at a CBI-sponsored fringe event at the SNP conference on the subject of business growth after Brexit.


RELATED CONTENT

Nicola Sturgeon confirms Scottish Government will publish referendum bill for consultation

David Mundell: Devolution settlement 'changed' by Brexit

Scottish economy lagging behind the rest of the UK


He said: “There seems to me to be something of a change just now, and it’s not true for all businesses and it’s not true to the same extent, where a number of businesses are looking at what, in their various scenario planning that they do, they’re looking at the possibility that we do have an independent Scotland within the bounds of the EU and whether that provides a certainty – even though it would be uncertain to get to that point – whether that provides a certainty they may want to look [at].

“So I can tell you…there are business which were pretty vehemently No last time are looking at that amongst the other options.”

Asked whether an independent Scotland in the EU would be a more attractive proposition for the whisky industry, operations director at whisky producer Edrington Group Graham Hutcheon said: “Hypothetical, but if the trade agreements are in place, the trade agreements are in place. If they’re not, you’ve got to renegotiate them. You can work it out from there.”

CBI UK director general Caroline Fairbairn said that independence was a decision for the Scottish people.

“I’m not just saying that, I really mean that,” she said.

If there was a decision to hold another independence referendum the CBI would consult its members again, she said.

The business organisation campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU on economic grounds, but Fairbairn said she recognised that there were other reasons such as sovereignty that people might have voted to leave.

“We were very clear we were making the economic case, we thought that was our duty and our obligation as the representatives of business, to lay the facts out as clearly as we could, recognising people could make other decisions based on factors to do with sovereignty, security and other factors,” she said.

Tags

Categories

Related Articles

Fergus Ewing urges UK government to "come clean" on plans for fisheries policy after Brexit
10 November 2017

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claims the UK Government has not honoured promises to share information on the progress of Brexit negotiations

Theresa May announces plans for energy bill cap
4 October 2017

Prime Minister used her speech to revive plans contained in the Conservative manifesto to cap prices for 12 million consumers

UK to seek two year implementation period after Brexit in 2019, Theresa May confirms
22 September 2017

In a keynote speech in Florence, the Prime Minister said neither the UK or the EU would be ready to implement Brexit by March 2019

UK Government migration target 'could cause considerable damage to economy'
21 July 2017

A House of Lords report finds that Theresa May’s aim of cutting net migration to less than 100,000 could harm the economy

Share this page