Tags: Scotland Vote | Whisky Maker | Scotland | Independence | Vote

Whisky Maker Joins Business Peers With Relief at Scotland's 'No' Vote

Friday, 19 September 2014 09:10 AM

British business leaders welcomed the decision by Scotland’s voters to shun independence, though there was a note of caution about the effect greater devolved powers will have on the country and the rest of the U.K.

Diageo Plc, the distiller that makes Scotch whiskeys including Johnnie Walker, said after the vote that “the future for this sector will remain bright provided there is no further regulation or taxation on the industry,” according to a spokesman.

The comment was a reflection of the uncertainty around the promised devolution of more powers to Scotland, particularly in the area of taxation, after voters rejected independence by a wider margin than suggested in opinion polls. Conservative U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is now under pressure to make good on pledges to give more policy-making power to Scotland, made with his Liberal Democrat coalition partners and the opposition Labour Party.

“There can be no doubt that many businesses will breathe a sigh of relief that the prospect of a contentious currency debate and prolonged economic negotiations have been avoided, and yet we know that significant changes are still on the cards,” said Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors in London. “As negotiations commence on a future settlement for Scotland, the focus must be on ensuring that any new powers are used to boost Scotland’s economic competitiveness, unleash enterprise and attract further investment.”

Companies such as Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Standard Life Plc, Weir Group Plc, John Lewis Partnership Plc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s Asda and Kingfisher Plc played a lead role in warning about the economic impact of a vote for independence over the past two weeks. While their arguments helped win the day for the pro-union camp, economists said the promised devolution of tax- raising powers to the Scots raises the prospect of a more federal system across the U.K.

“After a No, the U.K. will not be the same, it will change fundamentally,” said Rob Wood, a former Bank of England official now working as chief U.K. economist at Berenberg in London. “The fallout doesn’t have to be bad, but it could lead to uncertainty and that will be bad for business.”

Andrew Goodwin, chief U.K. economist at Oxford Economics, said greater devolved powers for Scotland is the “best possible outcome because it keeps the union together, which is what most businesses want, but at the same time it gives the Scottish government power over its own spending.”

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British business leaders welcomed the decision by Scotland's voters to shun independence, though there was a note of caution about the effect greater devolved powers will have on the country and the rest of the U.K.Diageo Plc, the distiller that makes Scotch whiskeys...
Whisky Maker, Scotland, Independence, Vote
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2014-10-19
Friday, 19 September 2014 09:10 AM
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