Greater clarity on effects of Scottish independence needed, says CBI

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Scotland has called for 'greater clarity and certainty' from the Scottish Government's white paper on the country's steps towards independence.

As part of the business group's New Year message, the CBI urged the Government to outline the possible impact on Scotland's economy and businesses if it is to leave the UK.

Regulatory and taxation structures were the main areas highlighted for consideration in the Government's whitepaper on independence, which is expected to be published this autumn.

Director of CBI Scotland Iain McMillan said that many questions needed answering and hoped that, by publishing its own areas of concern, the CBI would provide assistance to ministers in addressing the business community's questions.

"As part of their due diligence ahead of the referendum, many business leaders will carry out an assessment of the possible impact of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom on Scotland's economy and their businesses," he said.

"This gives rise to many questions and, as we go through 2013, a crucial year in this debate, undoubtedly further questions will arise."

Key areas the CBI wants clarity on include:

  • Economics, taxation and business rates: the likelihood of Scotland creating its own Treasury and revenue authority and the effect of this on the business environment
  • The cost of independence: the public cost and the expected timescale of transition towards setting up separate Scottish governmental departments
  • Pensions and financial services: if and how separate systems and regulatory framework would work 
  • Currency and financial oversight: would Scotland create its own central bank, separate to that of the Bank of England? Would a separate currency be introduced? How would interest rates and inflation be set and measured?

Iain McMillan added: "We hope very much that the White Paper will address these questions in full and provide the necessary supporting evidence."