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Businesses need more information about referendum

Business is not getting what

Business is not getting what

it needs from the two independence referendum campaigns, and neither are voters.

It is now clear to objective observers that adversarial political debate delivers adversarial referendum campaigning.

This doesn't help voters or businesses to make up their minds - especially those who are undecided.

So, what do businesses want? They want the same as voters. Both want clarity about the full scope and real nature of the futures being proposed by each campaign.

Neither have got this yet, and the omens are not good.

It was no surprise that 'the economy' came top of the BBC poll of the main concerns for voters.

No future can be promised unless we all generate the wealth to pay for it; and in our analysis we include financial wealth, cultural wealth, and social wealth amongst the list

There should not be any difference between the interests of business and voters.

It is worrying, therefore, that business interests are starting to be characterised as 'big' business and juxtaposed against 'populist' social equity.

This is a false choice and should be driven out of the debate.

So how can business be part of civic Scotland and make a telling contribution to the national debate?

Business needs to explain without fear or favour why the referendum carries risk from either outcome and ask the key questions:

l (Relating to the proposition of independence only): What is the cost of change and the associated payback period and what are the impacts on our longer term operating costs as a nation?

l How do we reduce the uncertainty for business in the event of either outcome?

l What is the evidence that the Yes plan is economically viable, and where is the business plan, projections, opening balance sheet and sensitivity analysis?

l What are the risks of not being able to join a sterling currency union and what are the alternatives?

l Can the combined parties representing Better Together come up with an agreed vision for Scotland in the event of a 'no' vote - preferable before we vote? Assuming that the consensus view is more devolution what is the timescale?

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce will continue to ask tough questions of both campaigns - on behalf of our 1250 members and their 130,000 staff. They all deserve better.

Robert Collier is chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

Contextual targeting label: 
Business

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