Unionist lobbying group figure attacks Scottish independence plan

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A Unionist leaning business lobbying group director has claimed that Scottish businesses remain opposed to independence due to ‘unanswered questions’ on what independence would mean.

In a speech in Glasgow Iain McMillan suggested that leaving the UK would be “a huge step to take” and that the rest of the UK might not allow an independent Scotland to keep the pound.

A strident supporter of the Union, Mr McMillan has frequently claimed his organisation, CBI Scotland, represents ‘Scottish Businesses’, BBC Scotland describes them as a “prominent busuness group”, a claim questioned by critics.

Mr McMillan said: “No-one should be in any doubt what independence means.

“It means Scotland leaving the United Kingdom and the rest of the UK becoming a foreign country.

“That is the stark reality and it would be a huge step to take.

“So it is legitimate for business to ask questions of the SNP as the referendum approaches.”

Mr McMillan’s outburst features prominently on the BBC.  It is the latest in a series of attacks by the leading CBI Scotland figure.

He added: “The SNP leadership says that an independent Scotland would keep the pound sterling until such time as the euro may be adopted.

“But that begs the question – would the rest of the United Kingdom permit an independent Scotland to use its currency?

“It might not. And, if it did, there are likely to be strict conditions attached.

“So, has the SNP fully explored the currency issues?”

Mr McMillan also claimed answers were needed to questions on taxation and the armed forces.

A spokesman for Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “The fact is that all of these issues have been dealt with in the Scottish government’s white paper Your Scotland Your Voice, published two years ago – Mr McMillan should read it.”

McMillan’s claims follow a recent attack on Scotland’s investment potential by Tory Chancellor George Osborne. Mr Osborne was accused by John Swinney of “talking Scotland down”.

The SNP spokesman added: “The Scottish government received an overwhelming mandate from the people to hold the referendum in the second half of this parliament, and that is exactly what we will do.

“As the record shows, the fact of the matter is that Mr McMillan took exactly the same approach in his hostility to a Scottish Parliament in the 1990s.”