Scottish business leaders reveal concerns over second Scottish referendum

A survey carried out by RSM amongst Scottish business leaders has revealed that the majority (81 per cent) believe that a second independence referendum (Indyref2) would have a negative impact on business in Scotland. 

Leading Scottish companies discussed a range of business issues, including the work place innovation, risk and the impact of uncertainty on business, at two recent events at RSM’s Edinburgh office. 

Despite the concern over the impact of Indyref2, over half (58 per cent) didn’t think a second Scottish independence referendum would happen within the next two years. However, the latest GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) figures caused greater alarm with almost all business leaders (94 per cent) stating concerns about Scotland’s financial status and the £15bn deficit. 

Following the Brexit decision, 61 per cent of business leaders were unsure of the impact on their business – many stating that it was too early to tell. However, 55 per cent confirmed that the decision has not impinged on key decision making - highlighting a ‘business as usual’ approach from many Scottish businesses. 

Jim Burberry, partner at RSM, said:

‘Echoing Professor Jim Gallagher’s concerns over another independence vote this week, the majority of business leaders in the room believed that a second Scottish independence referendum would have a negative impact on business in Scotland. 

‘There is understandably uncertainty about the knock on effect that the Brexit decision will have, and this hasn’t been felt as yet, but it was clear that independence and further political instability is not the preferred choice for many business leaders. However, the majority didn’t think this would happen in the next two years. 

‘The latest deficit statistics, however, raised more concerns for business leaders, so it will be interesting to see how the Scottish Government sets out how to tackle this in the forthcoming Budget, as many businesses will be eagerly awaiting reassurance and a clear vision for future growth.’