Scotland votes 'no' to independence: The small business reaction

Emma Cullen
Deputy Editor
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The landmark decision made yesterday for Scotland to remain part of the UK has sparked discussions over the economic future of the country and Britain as a whole.  

Here’s how entrepreneurs and business groups have responded to the Scottish independence referendum result:
"If it ain’t broke don't fix it and mercifully the majority of people felt that way. Scotland has a great contribution to make to the UK and a lot to gain from it commercially and economically. It has ever been thus for the past three centuries."
Stephen Archer, director and founder, Spring Partnerships
"We are really pleased that England and Scotland have remained united and that trade has reminded uncomplicated across the United Kingdom. With Better Together pulling off such a shockingly bad campaign and the outcome so incredibly close, we were all watching the polls with bated breath. We have a very vocal pro-independence contingent amongst our clients and although they didn't get the result they wanted, it's obvious their voice has been heard loud and clear in Westminster."
Darren Fell, MD and founder, Crunch Accounting
"We will, like many other UK businesses, be keeping a keen eye on developments in the next 12 to 24 months to see what additional devolved powers maybe given to Scotland and other home nations following the Scottish referendum. Whilst we expect there to be further devolved powers in taxation, the extent and types of powers are still to be decided.
"Like many others, we employ people in Scotland and do business with Scottish based companies and changes in income tax, corporation tax, or VAT may require modifications to our accounting practices. The result means that any change is unlikely to be anywhere near as big an impact (whether that is positive or negative) as if the vote had gone the other way. So for now it is business as usual, but with one eye on developments."
James Cockroft, director, Coeus Consulting
"The result is clear. We must now focus on the future and how we can come together to make Scotland the best place to live, work and do business.  Business and entrepreneurship have a crucial role to play in delivering the fairer and more prosperous Scotland for which so many expressed a keen desire during the campaign.  Businesses don’t just create jobs and generate revenues, they have the capacity to change lives and transform communities.
“With the Scottish Parliament set to become a more powerful actor in our economy, the touchstones of the new devolution settlement must be boosting business and growth. In the weeks and months to come, we look forward to playing our part in making that happen."
Andy Willox, Scottish policy convenor, Federation of Small Businesses
“There can be no doubt that many businesses will breathe a sigh of relief that the prospect of a contentious currency debate and prolonged economic negotiations have been avoided, and yet we know that significant changes are still on the cards.
"As negotiations commence on a future settlement for Scotland, the focus must be on ensuring that any new powers are used to boost Scotland’s economic competitiveness, unleash enterprise and attract further investment.
"We are now at the beginning of a national debate about economic devolution. The Scots started that debate, and now it’s time for all of us to contribute new ideas about how our nations, regions and cities are run for the benefit of the entire country."
Simon Walker, director, Institute of Directors
"Businesses want greater devolution of power to be accompanied by greater devolution of finance, so that Scotland, and the rest of the United Kingdom, take responsibility for their respective tax and spending decisions.  English, Welsh and Northern Irish businesses and taxpayers should not be subsidising support or incentives for their Scottish counterparts – nor the other way around.

"Any devolution deal for Scotland should trigger a new debate on local autonomy in England, where businesspeople in many areas want more freedom from Westminster and more influences over how their taxes are spent. Local businesses deserve a say in how a new, less centralized UK is governed in future."

John Longworth, director, British Chambers of Commerce


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