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Scottish independence: whisky heavyweights say business case 'not made'

Published:  27 August, 2014

A host of the biggest names in Scotch whisky have signed an open letter warning that the business case for Scottish independence "has not been made".

A total of 133 business leaders signed the letter, published in today's Scotsman, arguing that: "Uncertainty surrounds a number of vital issues including currency, regulation, tax, pensions, EU membership and support for our exports around the world; and uncertainty is bad for business."

The letter adds that currently Scotland's economy is growing and "attracting record investment". It states that much of this economic success "has been achieved as an integral part of the United Kingdom".

"The United Kingdom gives business the strong platform we must have to invest in jobs and industry. By all continuing to work together, we can keep Scotland flourishing," it ends.

Signatories from the whisky industry include:

  • Robert Anderson, chief executive of Tomatin Distillery;
  • Ian Bankier, executive chairman of Glenkeir Whiskies;
  • Ian Curle, Edrington's chief executive;
  • James Espey, owner and managing director or the Last Drop Distillers,
  • Keith Falconer, chairman of Adelphi Distillery;
  • Vincent Fusaro, director of drinks retailer Luvians;
  • Peter Gordon, director of William Grant & Sons Distillers;
  • Gavin Hewitt, former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association;
  • Leonard Russell, managing director of Ian Macleod Distillers;
  • Drew McKenzie Smith, managing director of the Lindores Distillery Company;
  • Graham Stevenson, managing director of Inver House Distillers and
  • Fraser Thornton, managing director or Burn Stewart Distillers.

Their position is rejected by the Scottish government and pro-independence campaigners such as Business for Scotland, which insist that independence would give the Scottish parliament greater control over tax policy, investment and job-creation.   

Monday's TV debate between Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP and the Yes Scotland group, and Alistair Darling, former British Chancellor who heads up the Better Together campaign, was hailed as a victory for independence campaigners. The referendum on Scottish independence takes place on September 18, 2014.