By a Newsnet reporter
The prospect of the UK leaving the European Union is leading to concerns from foreign investors, Business Secretary Vince Cable has been forced to admit.
According to the Observer, Mr Cable (pictured) is struggling to assuage business concerns over the prospect of the UK leaving the EU as a result of the In/Out referendum promised by the UK coalition.
Asked by the paper whether foreign companies had raised concerns, Cable said: “The answer is yes. What I say [to businesses] as a government minister is that the risks of us leaving the EU are very, very low … and I just try to reassure foreign investors.”
The SNP have responded by claiming the admission underlined the danger to Scotland’s economy of remaining with the Westminster system.
In a statement, the SNP said: “With businesses expressing serious concern that the UK is moving closer to leaving the EU, Scotland faces the dangerous prospect of being unwillingly dragged out of the EU by the rest of the UK in the event of a No vote.”
The issue of EU membership has dominated the independence debate in recent days with both sides countering claims by the other. However the admission from Mr Cable that foreign investors have confirmed their fears relate to the Westminster Government’s EU referendum will be seen as proof by nationalists that the biggest threat to Scotland’s EU membership is a No vote in the independence referendum.
Commenting, SNP MSP Christian Allard who sits on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said the admission from the UK Government minister brought into sharp focus “the danger to Scotland’s economy that comes with a No vote.”
Mr Allard added: “It renders William Hague’s lecturing of people in Scotland on the EU as utterly absurd as his doomsday warnings on Scotland’s economy ahead of the Scottish Parliament referendum in 1997. Those whom the gods seek to destroy, they first render ridiculous.
“It is further proof that the Westminster Government and the Tories are riven by splits and driven by fear of UKIP. The Tory party is tearing itself apart over Europe and the last thing Scotland’s economy needs is to be caught in the crossfire.
“A Yes vote in September will allow Scotland to speak with our own voice and build our own relationships with our European neighbours. Scotland’s interests will always be put first – not sacrificed to the isolationist agenda at Westminster.
“That is what makes a Yes vote for an independent Scotland so vital this year.”