With less than a week to go before the big vote on Scottish independence, the logistics industry is remarkably quiet about its potential impact, comments St John White, head of Prova’s transport team.
We’ve had the televised head-to-head between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling; the warnings from retailers about rising prices and the recent deliberations from the various big banks about moving their HQs if voters opt for independence. However, during all of the media noise, what’s been conspicuous by its absence is any real insight into how a separated Scotland would affect the logistics and transport sector.
Let’s start with the basics of border controls, different tax regimes, import duties and general import/export shenanigans. Then there are the significant ramifications of Scotland’s currency (will they be in or out of the Euro, establish their own legal tender; and how will they be regarded by global markets when it comes to raise international finance?).
While it looked like business was evenly for and against independence in August; since then, my feeling is that major retailers, industrialists and financial institutions have all come out in favour of the continued union. One of the more insightful, unemotional assessments has come from Scottish engineering firm Weir Group, which has voiced concerns over Scotland going it alone.
By the 18th September we should know the answer. It’s an issue that has divided families, business colleagues and of course the politicians. Whichever outcome triumphs, it will be a close run race!