EDINBURGH, United Kindgom – Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has written to the head of the Civil Service to demand an inquiry into a leak at the Royal Bank of Scotland. The leak was of information that showed the bank would be unable to remain in an independent Scotland and instead would move to London.
Salmond’s continued campaign to rebuke whoever put out the information seems to raise larger questions about why he is so angry they were not suppressed. Nonetheless he has written to Sir Jeremy Heywood, who is in charge of Westminster civil servants to demand an inquiry.
The Royal Bank of Scotland has been owned by the British government ever since it was nationalised during the 2008 financial crisis. So any leak of market sensitive information should in theory be the responsibility of the British government. When the polls narrowed earlier this month RBS announced it would leave Scotland if the ‘Yes’ camp won.
It was joined by all the other Scottish Banks, including Clydesdale and Tesco Bank. The banks are said to believe that unless an independent Scotland is allowed to stay under the regulation of the Bank of England and maintain full currency union with the UK they would be forced out. This is because they are all too big to be bailed out by Scotland on its own.
News the banks would all leave enraged ‘Yes’ campaigners, who see it as part of a plot by David Cameron to force big businesses to scare voters. Until the polls narrowed almost no big businesses expressed any views on the referendum, aside from a small number backing the ‘Yes’ side. Once Scottish independence became a real possibility big businesses came out in large numbers to oppose the plan.
Alex Salmond said: “It is now clearer than ever that there has been a coordinated campaign at Westminster and Whitehall, orchestrated by Downing Street, to incite business-related scare stories ahead of Thursday – but people across Scotland have had enough of the fears and smears which is why all the momentum as people prepare to go to the polls is with the Yes campaign.”
Salmond has also been accused of suppressing information about huge cuts in the NHS until after the referendum. Better Together believe that he is deliberately keeping the public in the dark about £500m as the news might undermine his case that the NHS is safe in an independent Scotland.