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August 29, 2014 - Rachel Miller

Most SME owners in Scotland plan to vote 'no'

Most SME owners in Scotland plan to vote 'no'A new survey of members of the Forum of Private Business (FPB) in Scotland suggests that the majority of small business owners will vote against Scottish independence in September.

Despite a 4% fall, 68% of businesses still believe that Scotland should remain part of the UK and only 20% of business owners surveyed said they intend to vote in favour of independence.

The poll of the FPB’s Scottish members also shows that the majority of firms are still in the dark about implications for crucial areas such as currency and taxation.

Top concerns were the lack of clear information on the potential impact on taxation and regulation (73%), closely followed by currency (72%) transport (70%) and national resources (70%).

On the question of the benefits of Scottish independence, 53% of firms polled see it as a threat to Scotland’s economic growth, despite a slight increase in those seeing it as an opportunity (21%, up by 4% from 2013).

At the same time, a significant number of business owners (26%) remain unsure as to what a yes or no vote would mean for their business.

Phil Orford, FPB chief executive, said: “There is still a lot of uncertainty out there. Many small firms still feel they are no clearer on how a vote either way would affect Scotland’s economy. At a time of improving growth the last thing business owners need is uncertainty about future economic prospects. This will only stifle consumer spending and business investment.”

He added: “The research indicates that despite efforts from both sides to clarify the impact of independence, this has failed to convince a large part of the business community to change their minds as to their voting intentions since our last poll in October 2013.”

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