With less than four weeks until Scotland takes to the polls to settle the contentious issue of independence, it appears a group of prominent Scottish employers is preparing to throw their weight behind the No campaign.
So far many business leaders have refrained from voicing an opinion due to their employees being split on the issue, but today The Telegraph reports that Keith Cochrane, Chief Executive of the Weir Group, a FTSE 100 engineering company headquartered in Glasgow, has been approaching prominent business leaders with Scottish operations to seek their support in a personal capacity.
Cochrane is allegedly on the verge of publishing a joint letter signed by around 100 executives and entrepreneurs with Scottish ties rejecting the independence campaign, and urging voters to opt for a continued union.
Mr Cochrane is amongst a small group of business leaders who have come out either in favour or against independence. He has previous said:
“For business the conclusions seem clear: the costs of independence are guaranteed but the benefits are uncertain. That has the potential to make Scotland less competitive, not more.”
The second televised debate between Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Better Together campaign leader Alistair Darling is due to take place on Monday, with polls showing the Yes campaign gaining ground. A YouGov poll on 7 August gave the No campaign a 20 point lead – however just a week later this had shrunk to 13 points.
Independence appears to enjoy much wider support from individuals than businesses, though. A survey last year found that three quarters of small business owners planned to vote no in September’s referendum.
Meanwhile economist Professor Sir Donald Mackay has published an article in the Sunday Times extolling the economic virtues of an independent Scotland, primary based on the revenue Scotland would generate from the sale of oil.
Photo by Robert Moore