The chairman of Lloyd’s of London last night urged Scots to vote No in the independence referendum which is just two weeks away, warning a Yes vote would be a blow to the City.
At the insurance market’s annual dinner, John Nelson threw his weight behind a united UK, telling guests he would be “extremely sad” to see the nation split. “I very much hope that the Scottish people vote to stay in the union,” he added.
His comments came on the back of a note from Goldman Sachs that warned of “an EMU-style currency crisis occurring within the UK” if the Yes camp won the vote.
Speaking to an audience of insurance and banking industry bosses, Nelson also called on the government to begin an open and thorough debate on the UK’s European membership, “where the data and the facts take centre stage. For Lloyd’s, and I suspect for the entire City of London, there is no doubt that our membership of the EU is an important component of London’s attraction to the worldwide financial services community.”
The comments are the latest in a stream from powerful UK businesspeople, backing both a united nation and a continuing relationship with the EU.
Yesterday, the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) director general John Cridland, warned that the potential Scottish exit from the EU was “the most important political risk that the CBI and businesses are facing.
“We’re clear about massive economic uncertainties. We cannot be clear what the implications of a break-up will be,” he said.
Polls on the referendum have swung in favour of independence in the past few days, with the No campaign’s lead being cut to six points.
Kate McCann, Emma Haslett