Vote ‘Yes’ for independence and we will move our headquarters to London – that was the message for Scotland from three British banks.
They are Edinburgh-based Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland – both part-owned by the UK government – and Clydesdale bank, which is Australian owned.
One problem for the banks is that the British government and the main political parties have rejected an independent Scotland being able to share the pound and the UK’s central bank – the Bank of England.
Public opinion polls show a narrow majority against Scotland splitting away from the United Kingdom, but one recent survey gave the independence camp a slight lead.
BoE currency questions
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has raised questions about currency arrangements in an independent Scotland, saying the country would need stockpiles of sterling if it adopted the pound without an agreement with the rest of the United Kingdom.
That could threaten the spending promises of Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond.
Salmond, asked by a reporter about business leaders’ concern about independence, accused the UK government of orchestrating a campaign among corporate leaders to talk negatively about independence.
“I think the people of Scotland have moved beyond these warnings and these scaremongerings,” he told a news conference.
More than 130 business leaders recently signed a letter calling for the UK to stay together, while about 200 business leaders have come out on the other side of the debate.