Former Scottish Enterprise supremo Jack Perry has added his voice to warnings that threats of a second referendum on Scottish independence are damaging the economy.
Speaking at a Scotland in Union event in Glasgow last week, the business leader insisted Brexit presented more opportunities than threats and urged the Scottish Government to try to make the best of it.
He also told an audience of Scottish business figures that independence would mean spending cuts and tax rises – and the First Minister should be doing more to grow the Scottish economy with the powers she has.
“There can be no doubt”, he added, “that the ongoing uncertainty presented by the constant threats of another referendum is damaging for business and for Scotland.
“As we have seen from the Scottish Government’s own figures, there is no economic case for independence and the projected deficit means we would have to dramatically raise taxes and cut public spending.
“The people I speak to in business are sick and tired of constitutional uncertainty – the last thing we need after the Brexit vote is another referendum on Scottish independence.
“I believe Brexit presents more opportunities than threats but rather than seek to exploit these we have a Scottish Government using it to nurse a grievance.
“We have seen from the example of Quebec what this endless uncertainty can do for jobs and investment. It’s not helpful and Scotland must move on.
“The Scottish Government should be using the new devolved and existing economic levers to grow the Scottish economy.”
Perry is far from a lone voice in expressing exasperation over the corrosive uncertainty caused by constant threats of constitutional upheaval.
The relentless nay-saying over Brexit, the specious arguments for a separate “single market” deal for Scotland – all this impervious to the evidence of a chronic Scottish debt and borrowing problem and an economy conspicuously trailing that of the UK has dismayed many in Scottish business looking for a more enterprise-focused leadership.
And with a draft budget barely a month away we are soon to reach “peak whinge” on how malevolent Westminster austerity is reducing local councils tom penury. A closer look at Holyrood’s own spending priorities surely due.
Jack Perry was chief executive of Scottish Enterprise between 2004-2009. He is now chairman of the European Assets Trust and ICG-Longbow Senior Secured UK Property Debt Investments.
Alastair Cameron, Director of Scotland in Union, said, “Jack Perry speaks for many in the business community and people across Scotland when he says it is not in Scotland’s interests to hold another divisive referendum.
“Nicola Sturgeon should listen to him and the many experts who tell her to drop the threats of a second referendum and get on with the job she was elected to do, including growing our economy.”