Scottish Independence: Lloyds Undertakes 'Yes Vote' Contingency Plan to Protect 16,000 Staff
Scottish Independence: Lloyds Undertakes 'Yes Vote' Contingency Plan to Protect 16,000 StaffReuters

Lloyds Banking Group has revealed a contingency plan to protect the business and thousands of its Scotland-based employees in the event that voters opt for independence.

"In the event of a 'yes' vote, the scale of potential change is currently unclear, but we have been undertaking contingency planning," said Lloyds in its first half year results.

"There will however be a period between the referendum and the implementation of separation should a 'yes' vote be successful that we believe is sufficient to address any material consequences and take any actions that we believe necessary."

Scots will vote in an independence referendum on 18 September this year and will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The referendum period started on 30 May.

According to recent British Election Study (BES) data, supporters of Scottish independence have gained ground ahead of the referendum in two months' time by snapping up more undecided voters.

However, Lloyds stopped short in recommending which way it would prefer Scots to vote.

"Looking ahead to the second half of the year, the Scottish Referendum in September is an issue that we will be watching with great interest," said Lloyds.

"While we believe this is a decision for the Scottish people to make, the outcome could be of significant importance to the group given that our registered office and more than 16,000 members of staff are based in Scotland, as well as our holding a significant branch presence through the Bank of Scotland and trading under the Scottish Widows business and brand."

Lloyds revealed in their results for the first six months of this year that underlying profit grew to £3.8bn (€4.8bn, $6.4bn), from £2.9bn in the same period last year and from £3.2bn from the half year to 31 December 2013.

The bank, which is just under 25% owned by the UK government, said that improved economic conditions has help it boost profits.