STV latest to leave CBI over organisation’s referendum stance


  By a Newsnet reporter
Scottish broadcaster STV has become the latest high profile organisation to ditch the CBI after the business lobbying group delared its official backing for the No campaign.
In a statement issued on Saturday, STV said the London based group’s decision to officially register as a supporter of Better Together left them with “no choice” but to resign from the organisation.

A spokeswoman for STV said: “STV is a public service broadcaster with a duty of impartiality and as such we have no corporate or editorial position on the independence referendum in September.

“In light of CBI Scotland’s decision to register with the Electoral Commission we have no choice but to resign our membership of CBI Scotland forthwith.”

Responding to STV’s decision, a CBI spokesman said: “While any member deciding to leave is a cause for regret, the CBI is confident we have a mandate from the vast majority of our membership on the question of Scottish independence.

“As the UK’s biggest business group, our members employ around half a million people in Scotland, which gives us a significant voice in the referendum debate.”

STV becomes the third group to leave the CBI after the organisation confirmed it had registered with the Electoral Commission as a backer of the anti-independence campaign.

The Scottish broadcaster joins Aquamarine Power and Balhousie care home group in a growing list of companies which have left the CBI.  Martin McAdam, chief executive officer of Aquamarine Power, said the CBI had failed to consult its members before announcing its decision.

Tony Banks, chairman of the Balhousie Care Group, and who is also chairman of the pro-independence group Business for Scotland, said: “It is abundantly clear that the CBI is not representing its members’ views honestly. I am therefore writing to the director-general, John Cridland, today, withdrawing my company membership.”

Electrical contractors union Select, which represents 1,250 companies, has called on the CBI review its decision.

A spokeswoman for the pro-independence Business for Scotland organisation said: “We are pleased to hear the news that STV has responded to the pressure we have been exerting and that, like others, they are withdrawing their membership from the CBI.”

On Friday, the anti-independence Better Together campaign said: “Over the last few months, employer after employer have raised legitimate concerns and asked genuine questions about what leaving the UK would mean for their businesses and for Scottish jobs.”

Other Scottish based organisations are expected to review their own membership of the CBI.  According to the Sunday Herald twitter account, Visit Scotland and Scottish Enterprise have also quit the CBI over its support for Better Together.

On Friday a spokesman for Glasgow Caledonian University told Newsnet Scotland a question relating to the University’s membership of the CBI would be referred to the board after the Easter Break.

The University found itself at the centre of a controversy in February when it was discovered to have part sponsored an event which was organised to allow Prime Minister David Cameron to make a speech against Scottish independence.

The University denied backing a No vote, saying GCU was “a non-aligned, politically neutral organisation”.