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Blog Post By Harry Mottram

Will printers be heading north next September?

We published a story about a survey of city fund managers as reported in The Scotsman last week which suggested the City of London saw a 'Yes' vote as a potential for business growth north and south of the border while a 'No' vote was seen as no real change. It raised a few eyebrows and not a few comments as it flew in the face what had been regarded as the accepted wisdom in the media.

Take for instance this from the Forum of Private Business who reported on their website this month: “Three quarters of Scottish small businesses would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom next year but 60 percent felt information was still lacking on the potential impact of independence in several key areas, according to the latest research from the national business group, the Forum of Private Business.”

And the CBI weighed in with this statement: “The CBI believes that the nations of the UK are stronger together and that Scotland’s business and economic interests will be best served by remaining as part of the UK. Our members have been pressing for responses to many key questions on independence that we have put to the Scottish Government and we will study this White Paper closely to decide how far it answers businesses' questions.”

The White Paper contains some admirable aspirations and some welcome proposals. But it is more specific about tax cuts than about tax rises

The BBC quoted Stuart Adam from the Institue of Fiscal Studies as saying: "The White Paper contains some admirable aspirations and some welcome proposals. But it is more specific about tax cuts than about tax rises.”

Certainly the print industry fears that a left of centre post independent Scottish Government might seek to hike taxes once the full nature of the country's national debt is known and the true nature of increased welfare and a lower pension age have been calculated. Doubts over currency are perhaps over played but any uncertainty over the pound north of the border and who would actually control fiscal policy sends ripples of worries through anyone thinking about investing in Caledonia.

Which all suggests there are more doubts than certainties for printers and industry in general about a 'Yes' vote. Although it should be pointed out nobody should lose any sleep over the result. The Opinion polls continue to show a strong lead for the 'No' campaign led by the Better Together group.

There is however there is an interesting twist to what the SNP have announced as regards tax. They have suggested that there would be cuts to corporation tax, air passenger duty and employers' National Insurance contributions. On the face of it the cut sounds like a classic election pledge. But think about it. If it happened it could see some companies in the north of England pulling up sticks and heading north to save money. One outcome nobody would have predicted.

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