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Adam Davidson has run his own furniture franchise Bo Concept in Glasgow and is working on opening his second store after Christmas. He is part of Business for Scotland, an organisation that represents 1,600 business in favour of independence.
Why I’m voting yes
Up until two years ago I thought independence would be a nice idea in theory, but believed the idea that, as a small country, we’d struggle to survive.
It’s was after the last election when the Scottish National Party won a majority that I started to look at it properly and I couldn’t believe it when I investigated it and realised it made complete sense.
This isn’t an England/Scotland thing – Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp who started Business for Scotland is English, as are three SNP MSPs.
After independence I think England and Scotland will continue to work just as well together if not better, because we’ll be working as equals rather than with Scotland being the poor relation.
Nearly 80% of Scottish MPs voted against the bedroom tax and against the Royal Mail privatisation. The welfare cap was voted against as well. Scotland has a different opinion from the UK on all these issues.
The thing which finally made up my mind was that at the last general election we had one Tory MP in Scotland and yet we ended up with what is basically a Tory government.
We have one million people using foodbanks and that’s not good for the economy or good for business. We need everybody to have the wealth and money to spend in our shops.
Scotland pays its fair share for running Westminster, the government, the Ministry of Defence and all the departments like this would be brought up to Scotland. That alone, the amount of jobs that would provide, would be absolutely spectacular.
The Scottish parliament works differently to the UK’s because it’s very hard to get an outright majority so it means you get all sides of the debate and all ideas heard.
So many government departments are already separate due to devolution that independence would actually be quite a simple process.
Starting a new country does scare me, but it’s that nervous excitement you get when you’re trying to open your next store. You’ve crunched all the numbers, it makes complete sense, but there’s always going to be a part of your mind that thinks “what if”.
There’s no doubt that we could use the pound and when you remove the Scottish contribution to the UK economy then the UK’s debt is high to the point of bankruptcy. No government is stupid enough to let that happen.
There will be hiccups and problems but at least they will be ours to sort out and make better. Sixty four percent of people in Scotland want to be in the EU, whereas it’s the reverse in the rest of the UK. It makes me nervous that if we vote no to independence that we could end up being outside the EU.
Of course there’s going to be changes to business’s operations because if there isn’t change there’s no point, but we’ll have 18 months before the independence date. In the end it will just be different, there’ll be the form that you’ve been filling out in recent years and now there’ll be a different one. It’ll just be temporary pain.
The benefits of independence won’t happen overnight, it will take a long time.
Will you win? If you look at the polls, it couldn’t be closer, but the polls don’t necessarily reflect reality. There’s a whole group of people who haven’t voted since the poll tax and, if they come in, I’d be astounded if yes isn’t ahead already.
Daniel Johnson, Better Together
Daniel Johnson’s family have been running their business since 1966 and today he runs five stores – two card shops, a gift shop and two furniture stores. He has been a key part of the Better Together campaign’s approach to business, acting as a spokesperson in debates and to the media.
Why I’m voting no
The moment I became really committed to the campaign was when the SNP’s independence proposals were released and it looked more like an election manifesto rather than a blueprint. I realised we’re facing a significant risk. The vagueness of the nationalist’s plans has really worried me.
The union was founded to help business. It’s a great benefit to Scottish businesses that they can gain access to the UK market with the same set of rules as the rest of the UK.
We have well over 300 suppliers and predominantly these are based in the rest of the UK. The moment you start to say that they will be based in a foreign country it becomes alarming.
You’d expect the SNP to understand that for a currency agreement to occur you have to have both sides agreeing. If there’s not an agreement then there isn’t an agreement, full stop. For the nationalists to say that we can continue to use the pound without saying how is deeply alarming.
Having the interest rates set by an institution outside your own country, and in the interests of another country, has big problems. There are plenty of examples of this, including Ireland as part of the Euro, where interest rates were far too low and it drove a housing boom.
If you are a new independent country and you say that you’re going to get the chancellor of the exchequer of a foreign country to sign off your budgets and agree your borrowing limits then that’s not really independence.
The significant extra costs and extra time that it takes to make a foreign currency payment are the sort of small administrative costs that no retailer wants.
If Scotland votes to go its own way as an independent country then how do you tell the rest of the UK’s electorate that, despite this, they are going to continue to back up their banks – which are worth about the same as our entire GDP. What do you think English and Welsh voters are going to say?
The Institute of Fiscal Studies says that an independent Scottish government would have to cut public expenditure by £6bn more than the cuts already in place by the government.
Yes, there’s debate about European Union membership, but both the incoming and outgoing EU presidents have said that if Scotland wants to become a member it would have to join the back of the line. No country has ever joined the EU in as short a time as 18 months – which is their timeframe – so if you’re worried about the consequences of not being in Europe then voting “yes” is a far bigger risk.
The new devolution powers which have already been agreed will give borrowing powers to Scotland and these are set to be further increased by each of the main pro-Union parties. There’s a lot of talk about setting up a German-style regional bank to really help stimulate business investment for small and medium enterprises. With devolution there’ll be scope for more borrowing and more investment while with independence there are serious questions about how public finances would hold up.
Will you win? Everything would point towards us winning – not one poll in the last two years has gone the other way – but the polls have tightened so I’m not going to take anything for granted.
What would Scottish independence mean for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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