No campaign scaremongering on investment revealed as baseless

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   By a Newsnet reporter

Repeated claims by prominent members of the anti-independence campaign that the independence referendum was damaging investment in Scotland were scotched today as the SNP published a list of major inward investments in the country.

Companies which have made announcements that they are to invest in Scotland, made after it became certain that the independence referendum was to go ahead, include GlaxoSmithKline, Taqa, Avaloq, FMC Technologies, Aker, Ineos and PetroChina, Dell, BNY Mellon, State Street, Amazon, Mitsubishi Powers Systems and Hewlett-Packard, Statoil, and BP.

In June last year, a survey carried out by Ernst and Young found that foreign companies are more likely to choose Scotland than other parts of the UK to invest in. Ernst and Young said 5,926 jobs were created through overseas investment in 2011, up by 50% on 2010.

As the independence referendum approaches, the pace of inward investment in Scotland shows no sign of slowing down, despite the repeated claims of the anti-independence campaign.  The No campaign have continually asserted that investment is being deterred – while producing no evidence and not a single example to support their claims.

Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne, Scotland Secretary Michael Moore and First Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, as well as Johann Lamont and Ruth Davidson have all claimed at various times that the independence debate was discouraging investment in Scottish business.

The SNP compared these No campaign scare stories with the conclusion in the Scottish Council Development and Industry report Future Scotland (published on 28 May), which said on page 21 that:

“It was difficult to discern tangible evidence that the debate itself was causing investment to be halted or deferred.”

The SNP claim is backed up by statements from business leaders.  BNY Mellon, which manages assets of £733bn and has been operating in Scotland for 20 years, announced last year that it was to increase the number of staff in its Edinburgh offices by 10 per cent.  Speaking to Channel 4 news after the announcement was made, a spokesperson for the company said:

“Regarding a future Scottish referendum, at this stage, we are not worried. In the event that the country chooses independence, we have faith in the Scottish Government’s approach to making Scotland more, not less, competitive. Recent news and speculation has not damaged Scotland’s prospects.”

Kenneth Gibson MSP, Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, said:

“The clear evidence – whether it is major businesses voting with their feet by investing in Scotland, or detailed studies such as the SCDI report – entirely scotches the No campaign’s scaremongering.

“One by one, the No campaign’s negative claims are exposed as nonsense – whether it is on EU membership, cross-border healthcare, or inward investment.

“As Scotland’s continued and remarkable success in the field of inward investment demonstrates, the people of Scotland can’t believe a word the No campaign says.”