Business leaders hail “momentous day” for United Kingdom

People view a large screen at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh after Scotland rejected independence
People view a large screen at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh after Scotland rejected independence
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BUSINESS LEADERS today welcomed the No vote in the Scottish referendum as “a momentous day for our United Kingdom”.

The Confederation of British Industry said the result will be greeted by a collective sigh of relief across the business community.

John Cridland of the CBI. Picture by Rex

John Cridland of the CBI. Picture by Rex

John Cridland, director general, said: “Business has always believed that the Union is best for creating jobs, raising growth and improving living standards, and welcomes that the people of Scotland want to play an integral role in this internationally successful partnership.”

As the debate moves to the question of further devolution, Mr Cridland said it is important not to undermine the strength of the single internal market.

Stuart Watson, senior partner at accountancy firm EY in Yorkshire, said: “Although Scotland remains in the Union, change and further devolution of powers will still be forthcoming in the form of concessions from Westminster and greater control for Scotland.

“This is still likely to fuel discussions at local level on whether or not there should be further devolution within England and Wales.

“Noises have been made about Yorkshire as a potential candidate given its size in comparison to other UK regions.

“Business leaders across the region need to make sure they are a part of this debate.”

Philip Shaw, analyst at Investec, said the examination into constitutional issues in Scotland could have deep-seated implications for other parts of the UK.

“Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out the idea of a parliament specifically for England but it is not impossible that the Government begins to look into regions gaining greater autonomy,” he added.

Mr Shaw said it will be important for the Scottish government to assuage the business community to neutralise any risks that the independence debate tempted some companies to redomicile or transfer some of their operations to England or Wales.

Yorkshire Bank’s owner National Australia Bank said it would be “business as usual” today following its earlier warning that Clydesdale Bank would re-register as an English company in the event of a Yes vote.

Chris Cummings, the Leeds-born chief executive of financial services lobby group TheCityUK, said the focus must now be on strengthening the Union, making sure the economy continues to grow and creating jobs across the nation.

He added: For our industry – financial and related professional services – we must now reinforce the value of our combined strength and competitiveness, the UK’s attractiveness as a place to do business and continue to highlight our position as the leading international financial centre.”

Alan Wilde, head of fixed income at Baring Asset Management, said the result of the referendum will calm financial markets, which had become increasingly nervous in the last few weeks.