Would a vote for Scottish independence in its referendum be boon for its businesses?

Stewart Hosie

Scotland is a country rich in opportunity and bursting with innovation, but sadly this does not translate often enough into greater commercial opportunities. Independence will provide us with new tools – tax credits for example – to deliver a step-change in Scotland’s research and devlopment. Independence provides greater scope to shape the regulatory environment to promote competition, while encouraging consumer choice and technical innovation. Scotland’s international links are key to building success, however, we are often one step removed from that international market and business is frustrated at being directed through London to connect with Europe and beyond. Control of air passenger duty would enable us to grow the number of direct international air links. With independence, we can utilise all the economic levers to provide the stable and supportive environment Scottish businesses demand.

Stewart Hosie MP is the SNP’s Treasury spokesperson.

Alistair Darling

Scotland is better off as part of the United Kingdom because of the huge benefits of a single market for business. We have the pound and share a financial services regulatory regime with our neighbour. It’s important given the size of the sector in Scotland. On top of that, there are many other rules and regulations that apply across the border. And Scotland as part of the UK has far greater influence in the European Union than it would ever have alone. The nationalists’ ill-thought-out plan for a currency union, sharing the pound with the rest of the UK, would create the same problems we see in the Eurozone today. A common currency eventually takes you back to political union, exactly where you started from. The nationalists have yet to explain to business the uncertainty, risks and costs of separation.

Alistair Darling is the former chancellor of the exchequer and leader of the Better Together cross-party campaign group.

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