HOLDING another independence referendum before the end of 2023 is the “wrong move,” Scots entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter has said.

Speaking on the Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey, the philanthropist and investor said: “I actually believe in another Scottish independence debate. But not now.”

Sir Tom was responding to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s insistence that she would remain First Minister until at least 2026 and was committing to holding a second independence referendum.

“To say she’s going to bring a new independence debate before they end, the 2023 I think is a wrong move,” Sir Tom said.

“We have got so many things in front of us. We’re coming out of a global health crisis. And the unintended consequences of that in Scotland for undiagnosed cancer...I talk to people in the health service, and the health service is at crisis point, for all sorts of reasons. So if that was the only thing politicians had to solve, that would be big enough.”

But Scotland had two other big problems, he suggested: education and the economy.

Sir Tom said he was “gutted” that Scotland was falling down a key world ranking that measures the scholastic performance of 15-year-olds in reading, maths and science, called the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

“Scotland used to lead the world in education,” Sir Tom said. “It doesn’t anymore, and it needs to again – so there’s another thing to focus upon.

“And then we’ve got the economy. GDP has slowed again. Where is Scotland’s economy going? How are we going to focus it? How are we going to get growth?”

Lord Haughey felt that as long as Boris Johnson was leader of The Conservative Party in Britain, there was “no chance” of the UK government giving the go ahead for another Scottish independence referendum.

“What we should be doing is trying to get more powers,” he added. “I would love to be totally devolved.”