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  By Sean Martin
The SNP has today condemned the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) for publishing an analysis of the Scottish Government’s White Paper which they say has simply reworked the same arguments the organisation put forward against devolution.
The CBI has claimed that the Scottish government’s tax and spend plans for the country post-independence failed to take into account a “squeeze on public services” brought on by an ageing population and warned that independence could negatively impact major economic sectors such as energy, higher education and defence.

A spokesperson for Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hit back at the CBI report, pointing out that the organisation voiced its opposition to devolution by utilising many similar arguments and insisted that the paper was “one-sided” and “misrepresents the realities of independence in several key respects”.

The spokesperson added: “An independent Scotland will still enjoy barrier-free trade with the rest of the UK, which is in everyone’s interest. The only serious threat to our membership of the EU is Westminster’s proposed in-out referendum.”

The CBI analysis painted a bleak picture for Scotland should the country vote Yes in September and vote in an SNP government following independence.  It said that the fiscal outlook contained in the White Paper ignored the need for deficit reduction, suggested that at the very least an independent nation would have to “mirror the UK Government’s current pace” and that there were around £670m “unfunded commitments” in Scotland’s Future.

It warned that, as Scotland does most of its trade with the rest of the UK, a strong internal market could only be guaranteed by remaining within the union and urged the Scottish Government to unveil a plan B on currency.  The report also likened the concept of a sterling union zone to that of the Eurozone and cautioned that salutary lessons should be taken from that example.

On internal markets the CBI found that breaking the UK-wide market would increase costs for businesses both sides of the border, while dedicating substantial space to the debate over EU membership – which it concluded was “unlikely to be either a smooth or quick process with new terms potentially leaving Scotland worse off”.

CBI director-general, John Cridland, backed the findings of the report while criticising the White Paper for its “lack of clarity” which he said “runs the risk of jeopardising an independent Scotland’s future success”.

Cridland added: “The minute you draw a line between Gretna and Berwick, Scotland starts to drift apart from its biggest market and loses a significant amount of economic clout.”

Sturgeon’s spokesperson referred to Business for Scotland – a co-operative of businesses which believe independence will act as a catalyst for more entrepreneurialism and success in the country – as an example against the CBI’s contentions.

“The reality is that Business for Scotland has attracted more than 1,600 members since its launch just nine months ago,” said the spokesperson.  “That is the measure of success the positive vision for the economic opportunities of independence is having in attracting business people into the Yes campaign.”


2014-03-26 03:45

Perhaps we should ask the C British I to provide an analysis of the prospects of staying within the union what are implications of the pace of reducing the UK deficit what is the date prediction when we can expect to be in the Black? Then the UK has to repay it’s growing debt. £1.5 Trillion.Comeon the future success of the UK is in jeopardy. Is there anyone one left still to pitch in their gloom and doom scenarios. Come on CBI lets have an outlook prediction for the UK. Perhaps you could focus on giving us a reason to consider staying HA HA.
2014-03-26 07:33

I was at an indyref debate held at St Columbus Church of Scotland in London. Tony Banks was one of the speakers. He did say he was a member of the CBI and was unaware of the CBI asking their members for their views on indy.
2014-03-26 07:44

All the dark Unionist ‘projections’ are could/ might/ possibly/ be disastrous for Scotland, yet never discuss the other side of the coin.
The huge black hole created by Westminster’s ‘global stage’ pretensions have brought ruin on the UK, left it in impossible debt – yet they seem totally unwilling to speak about their worst-case scenario.
Continuing as before looks to be out. Change, whether planned or forced must come, yet the assumption that Scotland will remain the ‘office-boy’ in the UK grocery store management set-up, prevails.

They still don’t get it.
2014-03-26 08:11

Another rather suspect article rehashed to try to fit in with the CBI non story…/…

This story appeared suspiciously quickly after the CBI report was first posted. There are some spelling mistakes as well as lack of substance to the content which gives one the impression that it was a bit of a rushed job to get the day’s scare story out there and supported by the same old negative views.
Nothing new but an excuse to whisper in folks ears a few more bits of uncertainty.

The balance of the whole thing is skewed in favour of the No campaign. Will it be edited later I wonder?
2014-03-26 13:47

“Academics Together, a pro-independence group, say this would cause a massive funding gap.”

Are the BBC trying to deceive the public?
Academics Together is a Better Together group!

2014-03-26 10:38

“It warned that, as Scotland does most of its trade with the rest of the UK, a strong internal market could only be guaranteed by remaining within the union…”

That’s an indictment on the competence of Scottish businessmen.

They obviously don’t have much confidence in their ability to function well in dealing with with cross border currency/markets.
2014-03-26 10:47

How many members do the CBI have in Scotland and how many businesses are in Scotland?
2014-03-26 11:45


No surprises on the not open for comment BBC article. Business as usual for Pacific Quay.

Perhaps the grauniad’s Severin Carrell, he of the notorious SPT/WoS tweet last night, was just a little less biased than usual with Independent Scotland would have same influence in EU as Finland, says…/…

He does at least mention that “Tony Banks, chairman of the care home company Balhousie Care and a pro-independence member of CBI Scotland, said he had not been consulted“. Some of the comments good, too.

7 votes on the council of ministers and probably 13 MEP is much better than the current 0 and 6 respectively!
Jo Bloggs
2014-03-27 07:23

Barbanzero, Carroll probably thought he was talking Scotland down with his comparison with Finland. As a Finnish citizen, I find that both offensive and wrongheaded. The overweening self-regard of the UK nationalists is pathetic.

2014-03-26 13:14

Is this the same CBI led by arch-Tory, pro-union Ian McMillan, and which represents a massive ONE per cent of the businesses in Scotland?

Re their demeaning reference to Finland, a proud and independent Scandinavian nation. When they broke away from Czarist Russia early last century, they started life with virtually nothing, compared to the assets and resources an independent Scotland will start with. So, apart from the insulting comment on Finland, the CBI are once again guilty of talking Scotland down – “business” as usual where the CBI is concerned.
2014-03-26 13:17

Same old same old… CBI are past their sell by date

Nothing postive not even a balanced view for Yes and no view on the impending cuts if it a No!!!

Who actually listens to these self serving twits…
2014-03-26 13:36

Its not exactly a surprise is it, does anyone believe the CBI would produce any other type of report apart from “Scotland Bad — UK good”.

Just another biased report from a UK organisation, just bin it with the rest.
2014-03-26 23:00

Re Scotland Tonight STV, Twice Claire Stewart asked John Cridland if he had asked any Scottish businesses their opinions regarding Independence. Answer given was they had followed procedure. This after being told that a business for Scotland member who is also a member of CBI Scotland said he had not been consulted.
2014-03-27 10:50

Anybody with half a brain can see Westminster’s henchmen in their many forms – the CBI being one – howling at the moon on cue and sometimes even in unison.

People still hear the howling but rarely take in the message these days. Let the Government dogs howl, it’s what dogs do.

2014-03-27 20:58

Hasn’t somebody (was it here? Or Wings?? Jim McColl’s name is jumping into my head maybe?) debunked the CBI in Scotland? It actually represents a token amount of Scottish businesses, I forget the figure, but less than a hundred. I also have some recall of a figure in the 20’s?? I can’t quite remember.

Forget the CBI. Business for Scotland is much bigger and broader kirk.

I’ll have to track down the article…

[Admin – Here it is…/…]

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