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Scottish independence would be a disaster – Novia CEO

  • 26/08/2014
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Scottish independence would be a disaster – Novia CEO
Scotland voting yes to independence from the rest of the UK would be a "disaster" Novia chief executive - and Scot - Bill Vasilieff has said, less than a month before the referendum.

More than 1m voters have signed a declaration in favour of Scottish independence, according to the pro-independence campaign Yes Scotland, out of around 4m people who are eligible to vote based on official figures.

There is no turnout requirement for the referendum – meaning a “Yes” vote of “50% plus one” would be enough to gain independence.

Vasilieff, who is not eligible to vote because he lives south of the border in Bath, predicts the vote will go in favour of the “No” campaign, with a 60%/40% split.

But if it should go the other way, he is pessimistic about the country’s future.

“A Yes vote for independence will be a disaster for Scotland,” he said.

“A lot of financial services businesses will move from Scotland down to England because their market is in England.

“I think the impact on England will be minimal, in fact many will probably not even notice. Scottish businesses however I think would suffer.

“I’m Scottish so I really worry about the potential impact on Scotland.”

Over the weekend the debate continued to rage, with Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond clashing with Alistair Darling, who is heading the “Better Together” campaign.

Salmond was judged to have won the debate after he came prepared to answer the question that damaged him a few weeks ago – what’s your Plan B? – if Westminster refuses to share the pound with a newly independent Scotland.

He declared he had not one but three Plan Bs but what he was seeking was a “mandate” from the people of Scotland – a word he repeated again and again – to negotiate to share the pound.

Salmond had also come with a new line of attack. He argued that the only way to protect the NHS and to stop welfare cuts was to ensure that the people of Scotland always got the government they voted for.

He accused Darling – to the former Labour chancellor’s obvious fury – of “being in bed with the Tories”. His aim was clear – to increase the risks in voters’ minds of a No vote.

Scotland’s £800bn fund management industry has largely been negative towards a separation.

Standard Life has said it could exit an independent Scotland. Royal Bank of Scotland has warned independence could pose a threat to both the UK and Scotland itself.

Scottish advisers have also expressed a lack of enthusiasm for a project they see will only cost them and their firms money, and add to the complexity of doing business across what could become two different regulatory regimes, and potentially two currencies.

Chancellor George Osborne Osborne has ruled out a currency union with an independent Scotland, meaning the country would lose the pound. He told MPs that this was a “no ifs, no buts” position.


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