CBI chief slams Salmond on Independence and Cameron on EU

Fresh doubts over the economic consequences of an independent Scotland have been raised, with a warning that it risks facing “economic dislocation”.

Fresh doubts over the economic consequences of Scotland becoming independent have been raised, with a warning that it risks facing “economic dislocation” if voters decided to go it alone in next year’s referendum.

Speaking to CBI Scotland’s annual dinner last night in Glasgow, the CBI’s new President, Sir Mike Rake used his first major speech at the helm of the organisation to outline the concerns of business around Alex Salmond’s plans for independence. He told those gathered:

“The CBI is not convinced of the economic case for independence and has asked some important questions of the Scottish Government. These need to be clearly answered so that the Scottish electorate can make their decision with full knowledge of the potential business and economic implications of independence.

“The economic implications of independence published by the Treasury raised serious questions around the costs of independence, such as maintaining different cross-border tax, regulatory and legal systems, as well as and the significant issue of currency.

“What would be the implications of independence on our unified labour market, integrated infrastructure and our catalogue of well-honed business arrangements, and our position in the European Union?  That’s why it is so important for the Scottish Government to fully respond and we look forward to the publication this autumn of the independence white paper.”

Rake came also with a rebuke to those within the Conservatives and UKIP who want to see the UK leave the EU altogether, declaring that it is “hard to see a positive economic scenario in which the UK would be better off out of the EU.” In looking ahead to the prospects of a referendum on membership in 2017, he explained:

“It’s one of the most important and most challenging decisions the country is facing.

“I take the clear view that we are better off in a reformed EU. The single market, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, is too crucial. It’s had a net positive impact on UK GDP and employment in the 20 years since its creation.

“The EU is far from perfect but we want to see reforms focusing on improving competitiveness and boosting trade it’s harder to do this when you’re not around the table.

“Europe’s somewhat erratic economic situation over the past few years may change the balance of the debate, but we have to avoid a scenario where those countries in the eurozone wishing to integrate further marginalise countries like the UK which are outside the single currency.

“Fundamentally, it’s hard to see a positive economic scenario in which the UK would be better off out of the EU.”

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