By David Sands, Director of Scotland in Union.
Businesses need economic certainty to thrive.
Unfortunately, in Scotland, we’ve faced deep uncertainty for nearly a decade under the SNP Government.
The independence referendum in 2014 caused major upheaval, but the catastrophic risk of breaking up the UK was avoided by the resounding ‘No’ result.
The economic case for leaving the UK was never made, as I said at the time, and there were huge unanswered questions about what currency we would use and the impact on trade.
Despite the result, the SNP has never stopped campaigning for separation, and the current blueprint for leaving the UK is even more extreme.
Scotland in Union has done a fantastic job fighting this latest threat, and with a vital few months now ahead of us I am delighted to have accepted an offer to join the board.
We know that a new Scottish state would involve ditching the pound and using a new currency, while ministers openly admit that independence could lead to a hard border with England.
This would make Scotland a less attractive place to do business.
The impact of that is weaker economic growth, fewer job opportunities, and less revenue for the government which causes deeper austerity.
The respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) this week said the SNP’s General Election pledges would lead to more austerity in a separate Scotland, and the party’s own Growth Commission admitted there would be a significant budget deficit after leaving the UK.
When people have less money to spend, it is industries like the retail sector which are hit particularly hard.
I have worked in this industry since I joined Sainsbury’s as a graduate retail trainee in the late 1980s. Then, over 23 years, I worked closely with my father Lindsay in developing a chain of 29 convenience stores in Fife and Perthshire.
Following a successful sale to the Co-operative Group in April 2012, I have started several different businesses in retail, including the award-winning David’s Kitchen convenience store outlets.
I am proud to be a successful Scottish businessman, and to have contributed to my country’s economy. I hope to continue doing so for many years to come.
I find it alarming, therefore, that a political party which claims to stand up for Scotland is willing to put the Scottish economy at so much risk.
The rest of the UK is our most important market – 60 per cent of exports go to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, dwarfing our trade with the EU.
After years of constitutional upheaval, we need a period of certainty where we can concentrate on continued economic growth to create jobs and boost government revenues.
What we don’t need is a divisive second independence referendum and the threat of a hard border and a new currency.
The best future for Scottish businesses is for our country to remain in the UK.
I am therefore delighted to be joining the board of Scotland in Union and look forward to making the positive case that we’re stronger together as part of the United Kingdom.