Business leaders say ‘case for independence has not been made’

More than 120 business leaders with Scottish operations has said the business case for independence “has not been made”.

The leaders, which include BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie, HSBC chairman Douglas Flint, Ian Curle of Famous Grouse producer The Edrington Group and Weir Group chief executive Keith Cochrane, said they wanted Scotland to “keep flourishing” as part of the UK, reports The Telegraph.

The open letter, which is signed by each in a “personal capacity” and was first reported on in the The Telegraph last week, has been driven by Mr Cochrane, who has spent weeks persuading businessmen to sign.

It reads: “The outcome of the referendum on 18 September will affect our generation and the generations to come. Much is at stake.

“Our economic ties inside the United Kingdom are very close and support almost one million Scottish jobs. The rest of the UK is Scotland’s biggest market by far.

“As job creators, we have looked carefully at the arguments made by both sides of the debate. Our conclusion is that the business case for independence has not been made.

“Uncertainty surrounds a number of vital issues including currency, regulation, tax, pensions, EU membership and support for our exports around the world; and uncertainty is bad for business.

“Today Scotland’s economy is growing. We are attracting record investment and the employment rate is high.

“We should be proud that Scotland is a great place to build businesses and create jobs – success that has been achieved as an integral part of the United Kingdom.

“The United Kingdom gives business the strong platform we must have to invest in jobs and industry. By all continuing to work together, we can keep Scotland flourishing.

Others who signed the letter included Peter Gordon, director of William Grant & Sons Distillers, and Cairn Energy chief executive Simon Thomson.

It follows Monday night’s TV debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, in which the SNP leader was perceived to have won, according to a snap ICM poll. It gave Mr Salmond a margin of 71pc to 29pc after Mr Darling spent large parts of the debate on the back foot over welfare and the powers that would be devolved to Holyrood if there was a No vote.