It’s one of many contentious issues. Will Scottish independence put jobs in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and all points in between at risk? Not unexpectedly, with only months to go before Scots choose whether to go it alone as a country or not, there is no shortage of voices on either side of the independence debate.
The UK government certainly believes there would be a jobs exodus, particularly within the financial services industry. Firms with the majority of their customers based in the rest of the UK would have little choice but to relocate across the new border to the familiar jurisdiction of London’s financial sector. At least, that appears to be the argument. The view is, of course, hotly challenged by supporters of independence who believe an independent Scotland would present businesses with an unparalleled opportunity, with careers in the capital city Edinburgh flourishing.
The view from overseas?
There appears to be little evidence the prospect of independence has had any impact on the number of foreign nationals choosing to live and work in Scotland. But that’s not stopped the UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague from claiming he is greeted by bafflement over Scottish independence as he travels around the world.
In a speech recently in Edinburgh, he said, “Travelling from Afghanistan to Brazil, and from Canada to Australia, I encounter bafflement that anyone would try to break up a union that has been so resilient, so successful and so admired as ours.
“When outsiders look at the United Kingdom, they see one of the world’s most successful examples of stable democratic government, economic development and diplomatic influence.
“They speak in awe of our institutions, our civil service and our legal systems. They admire the richness and diversity of our culture, language, history, sport and traditions, and indeed we were ranked number one in the world for soft power in one recent global survey.”
Meanwhile, Scottish National Party (SNP) foreign affairs spokesman Angus Robertson MP says a sovereign Scotland would become home to a range of embassies, high commissions and residences, with diplomatic and locally employed staff, boosting the economy, jobs and property market.
Speaking during a visit to Austria, Mr Robertson said Scotland would also host international and multilateral organisations as well as regular international conferences and initiatives, supporting enhanced international travel connections.
He highlighted a recent Ernst and Young study which showed that the Austrian economy is boosted by over £1 billion a year, because of its independent status.
And he added, “Almost immediately after Scottish independence there will a move by the international community to establish a permanent presence in Scotland. Consulates will be upgraded to embassies and high commissions and a wide range of new missions will be established.
“Diplomats and embassy staff will be joined by many locally employed staff. International organisations and agencies will want to have a presence in Scotland as well. Scotland will be a perfect place for the international conferences and events which will follow independence.
“Scotland has a lot to contribute to the international community as a force for good. With a Yes vote we will also secure the bonus that Scotland will enjoy as a sovereign state and the positive impact this will have on our economy.”
Check out the full details of Mr Robertson’s Vienna speech here.