Membership of Business for Scotland tops 500 mark

Membership of Business for Scotland, the new pro-independence network for small and medium-sized enterprises, has already topped the 500 mark.

Barely a week after its official launch, support for the group is growing on a daily basis.

Managing Director Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp said today: "The interest among the business community is almost overwhelming. And the message is clear: Yes supporting business people want to pro-actively contribute in helping to create a more prosperous and fairer Scotland."

Today, leading members of Business for Scotland welcomed the Scottish Government's paper highlighting the key economic strengths of Scotland and the opportunities for growth under independence.

The jobs creators, entrepreneurs and experts represent a broad spectrum of business throughout the country, from property development to the fitness industry, a restaurateur to the IT and digital sector, a care homes provider to a producer of Hollywood blockbusters.

They were commenting following publication Scotland's Economy: the case for independence which highlighted six principal areas where Westminster control had held Scotland back.

Their message is clear:

Westminster isn't working. Scotland has got what it takes to be a more prosperous, fairer and successful country. The best way forward for all is independence.

Dan MacDonald, Chief Executive, MacDonald Estates: "As the debate on independence grows, clarity on and a proper understanding of Scotland's economic position is critical. The pace of change in the world is so fast, as it is difficult to come to terms with. We see the UK national debt grow out of control towards £1.5 trillion and emerging economies overtake what we previously took for granted as leaders in the west. We must stop the prattle of scaremongering over irrelevancies, get a proper focus and understand accurately our present and potential future economic circumstances so as we can establish a strategic plan thereon for the future. Based on our skills, our ability to educate and adapt and our resources, Scotland as an independent country can find its own global place as a country in the upper echelons of wealthy nations. This latest publication is extremely useful in fulfilling a significant part of what has to be established."

Michelle Thomson, Edinburgh-based property entrepreneur and a successful management consultant : "Property investment is dependent like all industries on confidence and growth in the economy. We have experienced successive booms and busts under the Westminster system because of policies which are focused on the City of London's short-term performance and associated votes in the South-East of England. Only the powers of independence can help us re-balance the economy of these isles by sector and geography with a view to sustainable economic recovery which benefits everyone at all levels of society from the City of London to the manufacturing work-forces of a successful new Scotland."

Les Meikle, founder of the largest property preservation company of its type in Scotland – and the most profitable in the UK – a director of the Entrepreneurial Exchange and Chairman of the Property Care Association: "Development of infrastructure is the engine of economic growth, yet we are struggling to realise our potential because we do not have the powers in Scotland to tailor solutions to very distinctive problems and opportunities. We rely on a government in London which is out of touch with the changing requirements of Scotland's economy because it prioritises London and the South-East of England."

Sandy Adam, Chairman, Springfield Properties : "Westminster isn't working for Scotland. We are a successful division of a larger group which is holding us back. We need the powers of independence to compete on our own terms. We can build a better Scotland on a strong financial foundation. To create jobs and increase opportunities for all, the people of Scotland should conduct a management buy-out in September 2014. Scottish economic performance has been restrained by the policies of successive Westminster governments. Business-people understand the challenges and opportunities of the economy but most of all we understand the need for control over your own destiny."

Tony Banks, Chairman, Balhousie Care Group : "It all adds up to a strong foundation upon which we can build a more prosperous and fairer Scotland. Westminster isn't working for Scotland. The UK is in huge debt to the rest of the world which will take decades to pay back if it is possible at all. Meantime, the UK has lost its triple AAA credit rating and its economy is experiencing a lost decade of growth. It requires significant structural change which is only possible if power moves from London to other parts of the UK. The economy of these isles requires more competition which reduces the pull of London, particularly in the services sector, and allows other parts of the UK to tailor economic policy to their own economic landscape."

Laurie Clark, Managing Director, Anglo-Scottish Concrete: "Scotland's construction industry has suffered particularly during the recent UK recessions because of a lack of public infrastructure investment by successive Westminster governments. The Scottish Government has used the limited powers at its disposal to best effect which is why Scotland's economy is outperforming the rest of the UK during this difficult period - but we require independence to realise our full potential."

Bobby Hill, Managing Director, Hydracrat, Scotland's leading ground investigation company based in Lanarkshire: "Scotland needs to develop and implement policies to cater for our own circumstances rather than existing under a Westminster regime that only really cares about the south of England. This direction of travel is becoming clearer the more the situation is scrutinised. Independence is the only way we will establish equality, compete effectively and be taken seriously."

Kenny Anderson, Managing Director, Anderson Construction, Aberdeen: "London forgets that every £1 spent on construction results in £2.84 of additional economic output making construction essential to the recovery of the UK economy. Scotland needs the full powers of independence to prioritise support for construction, create jobs and give our skilled workforce more opportunities."

Susan Robertson, a writer, editor and partner in a communication consultancy based in Glasgow with clients all over the world: "The current status quo is untenable and if prolonged will continue to harm Scotland both economically and socially. We need the natural powers of an independent country in order to unlock the true potential of our natural resources, people and aspirations."

Joe Goldblatt, Professor in Events Management, founding president of the International Special Events Society (ISES) and co author and editor of 25 books in the field of events management: "I have studied international tourism for 40 years and during this time I have noted that Scotland will benefit significantly from new job creation, new revenue from foreign visitors and new investment in critically needed infrastructure if it has the autonomy to lead through international its own tourism planning. Scotland, as a strong independent nation, will be better able to leverage its well- loved reputation and image throughout the world as a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and other international tourism bodies."

Iain Smith OBE, producer of Hollywood blockbusters including The Fifth Element, Cold Mountain, Entrapment and Alexand er: "With all the attributes that Scotland enjoys, there are few countries that should be more confident about their economic potential than Scotland. Scotland's creative industries in particular have a great story to tell and a bright future. They already contribute hugely to the Scottish economy, but there is plenty of room for growth, particularly in the export sector. With greater fiscal levers at its disposal Scotland would be even more competitive on the world stage, and able to promote its talent, crafts and services internationally for the economic and cultural benefit of the country."

Sarah-Jane Walls, owner of The Residence, Glasgow, and director of Pilates Reformer Scotland Ltd has been in the fitness industry for more than 13 years: "This paper demonstrates that Scotland has got what it takes to run its own affairs, to be a wealthier nation and a fairer country. We don't have to put up with the fact the UK is the fourth most unequal country in the developed world. We have an opportunity to change this by bringing decision-making closer to home and making it more accountable. As a business owner, an employer, a wife and a mother I can't put up with the fact one in five children in Scotland are in poverty, that the universal credit system undermines the independence of women and that if more women go to work because of Holyrood childcare subsidies the benefit in terms of income and other taxes will go to Westminster, not Scotland."

Roy Brett, award-winning chef and owner of Ondine restaurant which has certification from the Marine Stewardship Council : "I welcome this contribution to the debate about how Scotland could punch above its weight as an independent country. We need to be able to decide our own priorities and solutions to the challenges around us. From restaurant VAT to fishing policy, too many decisions are out of our hands. We have to take control of our own destiny and bring decision making closer to home with a government right here in Scotland fighting our corner not one 400 miles away totally out of touch."

David Cairns, Executive Chairman of a Stirling-based software company : "I believe strongly in Scottish independence as the best way forward for the people of Scotland and probably the rest of the UK too."

Douglas Norris, who leads an Ayrshire-based company providing electronics recycling solutions and services to IT and telecoms manufacturers: "For personal reasons, business reasons and the good of our country, Scotland should be an independent country."

Ivan McKee, International manufacturing consultant, investor and turnaround expert: "After Independence Scotland would continue to enjoy close trading relationships with the rest of the UK, as well as with other countries in Europe. Worries about trade barriers are a smokescreen that prevents us from taking advantage of the significant opportunities and higher global profile that comes with managing our own affairs."

Ricky Nicol, Chief Executive and founder of Scotland’s largest indigenous telecoms company, Commsworld: "The government’s income and expenditure figures clearly show that Scotland more than pays its way in the UK. With independence we can do much better."

Mr MacIntyre-Kemp, owner of social media and digital marketing company Intelligise, said Business for Scotland was non-party political and set up as a self-financing, member-owned co-operative.

He added: "We believe that a Yes vote will act as a catalyst for Scottish people to become more entrepreneurial, confident, successful, ambitious and international in their outlook.

"As well as offering all the services and benefits of a fast-growing, forward-thinking business network, one of our key goals is to ensure that the Scottish SME business community has access to the facts and educated opinions that will allow them to make informed decisions in the lead up to referendum next year.

"We believe that when people take the time to investigate the facts it will be clear that Scotland’s economy, our business community, and our nation as a whole will be better off as an independent country."
Topics: 
Culture, Economy

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