Construction industry joins Scottish independence debate

By Neill Barston02 September 2014

Construction groups were among more than 130 businesses that have called on Scotland to vote 'No' in the 18 September independence referendum. A 'Yes' vote would see Scotland leave the UK as a fully independent country.

Springfield Properties joined engineering companies Babcock and the Weir Group, as well as senior figures from the financial sector including HSBC and Co-operative bank, in seeking to back the UK remaining in full union.

They sent a joint open letter to the Scotsman newspaper - prompting a response from the 'Yes' campaign, which produced its own petition signed by 200 Scottish businesses calling for independence.

The debate comes as latest figures show the UK is experiencing its highest construction output for seven months. Results from the monthly purchasing managers’ index have demonstrated construction activity had risen, against analysts expectations, from 62.4 in July, to 64 in August.

According to the group of companies in favour of Scotland becoming independent, there were strong benefits to the proposals – including greater government freedom in policy planning and a bid to reduce corporation tax.

The 'No' campaign letter had claimed that “uncertainty surrounded vital issues” including currency, regulation, tax, pensions, EU membership and exports around the world, which those supporting retaining a union believed would be harmful to wider business interests.

A report from forecasting company, Oxford Economics, said that independence would have “far reaching consequences for business in Scotland,” including the management of any future currency that was not linked to the Bank of England.

The issue over whether Scotland would be able to retain UK currency has been at the heart of the debate.

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