Call for business reassurance as Sturgeon announces new referendum

MORAY BUSINESS LEADERS have reacted to the statement from Scotland’s First Minister on Monday that the stage will be set for a second Independence Referendum.

The Moray Chamber of Commerce insists that with stability and confidence the ‘watch-words’ for the local and national business community, much needs to be done to mitigate the duration of uncertainty.

Sarah Medcraf, the chief executive of the Moray Chamber of Commerce, said that the organisation will engage with local businesses so that they can understand how the prospect of a second Independence Referendum can be most effectively articulated.

Her comments came after Nicola Sturgeon revealed she wished a second referendum to be held in the Autumn of 2018 or the Spring of the following year. To that end the Scottish Parliament will, next week, request a Section 30 order from Westminster – the procedure under which arrangements for an Independence Referendum will be begin.

Sarah Medcraf commented: “It is welcome that the First Minister has indicated that the Scottish Government will continue to engage with the political process around the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

“These are vital years ahead for the future of the UK and Scottish economy and it is crucial that Scotland has a voice at the centre of this process.

“Scotland has been through two referendums and two major elections over the past three years, and there is no doubt that this period of continual uncertainty has had a material impact upon businesses in Scotland. These are real and present business issues that are affecting business decisions and investment.

“A further referendum on Scotland’s independence would be no different, and the more that can be done to mitigate the duration of this uncertainty for business, the better. Moray Chamber of Commerce will continue our process of engagement with local businesses to understand how this prospect could affect them and how their voices can be most effectively articulated during this process.”

She added that in the current circumstances businesses required as much certainty, stability and confidence as possible – and it was the role of both the UK and Scottish Governments to provide that.

She added: “The message from Chamber of Commerce members has been clear and consistent – our priority must be to create the conditions that will enable businesses to thrive.

“That means focus and resources must be directed towards greater strategic infrastructure investment, developing the skills we need to sustain growth, fair business taxation that does not limit entrepreneurship and investment and clear guidance on entering and trading in overseas markets – all of which must have a clear evidential basis.

“These are the priorities for business and must be for our Governments too.”