By Struan Stevenson, Chief executive, Scottish Business UK

AS the political debate continues to be consumed by Brexit, it masks the fact that Scotland has some very stark decisions ahead.

While the Scottish Independence Convention commits resources to overturning the 2014 vote and with Nicola Sturgeon looking set to show her Indyref2 hand in the next few weeks, it is clear that there is no end in sight for uncertainty. Yet official data continues to demonstrate that our economy would be better off if Scotland remains part of the UK.

Take Glasgow, where for the last few years economic trends have been heading in the right direction. Figures in 2016 showed some 18,000 new jobs were created in the city region and of the largest cities in the UK, only London’s economic output surpassed Glasgow over the last two years.

A large part of Glasgow’s economic success can be attributed directly to Scotland’s place in the UK – some 16 per cent of the city’s economic output in fact. The city is also benefiting from a £1.13 billion city deal which was agreed by local authorities and the Scottish and UK Governments, in a great example of devolved, local and national institutions working well together.

Glasgow’s financial sector, which is largely focused on a UK client base, is 50 per cent larger than the Scottish average and as such benefits disproportionately from the UK’s regulatory framework.

Tourism, construction and creative industries all flourish and these translate into a reduction in the unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent, the lowest rate in 13 years.

A higher proportion of Glasgow’s economy (25 per cent) consists of public administration than the Scottish average (21 per cent), meaning that Glasgow continues to benefit from the Union Dividend brought by the likes of DFID, as well as other fiscal benefits.

Contrast that with a change in Scotland’s constitutional status. An independent Scotland would begin life with a large fiscal deficit, meaning that large cuts to public spending or tax rises would be necessary.

Official figures also demonstrate that Scottish independence would be eight times more damaging than the worst-case Brexit to the Scottish economy. We need to regain our understanding that without a strong, attractive economy, Scotland will be unable to thrive, innovate and grow. So the political environment must encourage a long-term view to the future.

Short-term populism does nothing but add to the flux facing politics in Scotland, the UK, Europe and beyond. What we must do instead is build upon the foundations of our business heritage of innovation and technical revolution that has led the world. It is that economic development that brings in the work, builds job numbers and secures international investment.

Every sector has witnessed examples where investment considered for Scotland has been deferred or cancelled due to the uncertain political landscape since the independence referendum. Of course Brexit adds further uncertainty, but no other part of the UK has been burdened with two such totemic issues at the same time, meaning double the disruption.

If you think the Brexit negotiations have been fractious, think how we in Scotland would need to tread through the minefield that will be post-Brexit, while seeking an exit from the rest of the UK as well. It doesn’t bear thinking about as our trade, investment markets and our economy, suffocate in the process.

It is time to support the needs of Scotland’s wealth-creating businesses and adopt a grown-up, open and evidenced debate; one that unleashes the potential of Scottish businesses by calling time on the stubborn policy of independence come what may.