RBS would move HQ to London if Scots vote for independence
The Royal Bank of Scotland would quit Edinburgh for London if Scots vote for independence, the CEO of NatWest has said.
Alison Rose claimed the firm’s balance sheet would be “too big” for the economy of an independent Scotland.
Speaking to journalists, Rose said: “As you know, we are neutral on the issue of Scottish independence – it is something for the Scottish people to decide.
"We have been very clear, and it is recognised by senior nationalists, that in the event that there was independence in Scotland, our balance sheet would be too big for an independent Scottish economy, and we would move our registered headquarters… to London.”
RBS – which remains 60 per cent taxpayer-owned following the 2008 financial crisis when it was rescued by a £45bn government bailout – became NatWest last year, removing Scotland from the name of the lender’s parent company for the first time since it was founded in Edinburgh in 1727.
Rose, who took over as chief executive in 2019, insisted that moving the HQ south of the border would not affect the bank’s commitment to Scotland.
“It is really just the size of the balance sheet at that point, which we have been very clear in public about and with senior nationalists. The issue of Scottish independence is one for the Scottish people.”
“In the event that there was independence for Scotland our balance sheet would be too big for an independent Scottish economy. And so we would move our registered headquarters, in the event of independence, to London,” Rose added.
Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said: "When it comes to business in Scotland, RBS is one of the crown jewels as well as a major source of employment in my constituency and across the country.
"These comments make clear that an independent Scotland would be less appealing for major firms to make their home here.
"The past year has been terrible for businesses, so frankly I'm appalled that the SNP want to pile the chaos of independence on top of the disruption caused by Brexit and the pandemic.”