There is further evidence that businesses are beginning to panic as Scotland prepares to vote on whether it should become an independent country.
It has been revealed that Standard Life, one of Scotland’s biggest financial firms, has drawn up plans to relocate parts of its business to England in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.
Chief Executive David Nish said on the company’s website:
In view of the uncertainty around Scotland’s constitutional future, we have put in place precautionary measures which would help enable us to provide customers with continuity. This includes planning for new regulated companies in England to which we could transfer parts of our business if there was a need to do so.
This transfer of our business could potentially include pensions, investments and other long-term savings held by UK customers…
We will continue to serve our customers in Scotland and will consider what additional measures we may need to take on their behalf as a consequence of constitutional change once further clarity and certainty is received.
The statement does not commit the company to keeping its main base north of the border, meaning that it could potentially leave Scotland all together in the event of independence, something that would be a huge economic blow to the newly independent country.
Oil giant BP has also come out in favour of a ‘No’ vote, with Chief Executive Bob Dudley saying:
“Our business invests for decades into the future. It is important our plans are based on a realistic view of the North Sea’s future potential and the challenges the industry faces in continuing to operate here.
“As a major investor in Scotland – now and into the future – BP believes that the future prospects for the North Sea are best served by maintaining the existing capacity and integrity of the United Kingdom.”
Yesterday, John Griffith-Jones, chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also told MPs that the body is making contingency plans to deal with a surge of enquiries from businesses in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.
He said: “We have done some basic contingency planning… making sure phone lines are properly manned if people ring us, making sure we have a position as to what advice would be appropriate to give on day one”
The news comes as David Cameron called on Scottish people not to vote ‘Yes’ in the Scottish referendum just to kick the “effing tories”.
The Prime Minister made the outburst as he addressed a press conference to warn Scotland that a vote for independence will be irreversible, and that Scots should not decide their vote on relatively mundane issues such as party political preference.
Social media has reacted with a mixture of humour and bemusement to the outburst from the PM, with some suggesting that he is showing frustration and a lack of cool.