Scottish independence kilt
Scottish Independence Will Damage Business As Plans Are 'Bereft of Detail', says UK GovernmentReuters

Britain's Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has warned that Scottish businesses will be hit hard, in the event of independence, because uncertainty over what currency the country will use and whether it will be part of the European Union will immediately impact investment and costs.

According to a the committee's latest report, Scotland's government is making the situation even more damaging and concerning for businesses in the long term because it has not outlined any plans for how it will handle losing the pound, its EU membership or how it will follow up on its pledge to renationalise the Royal Mail.

"The Committee also finds the Scottish Government's stated intention to renationalise the Royal Mail upon achieving independence is an un-costed aspiration, bereft of any detail of how it is to be paid for or how it would be done," it said in the report.

"The Committee also fears for the future of the Universal Postal Obligation in an independent Scotland with its continued survival likely to be secured only at significant additional cost, either to the taxpayer or to the consumer."

Scottish people will vote in an independence referendum on 18 September, 2014, and will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The referendum period started on 30 May.

Despite Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond promising citizens that an independent country would retain the pound and its EU membership, UK political parties and Brussels officials have said that this would not be the case.

"Scottish people and Scottish businesses make a tremendous contribution to the UK economy. Scotland benefits too; the rest of the UK is, by far, Scotland's biggest economic partner and there is genuine and deep concern about the threat to future prosperity of Scotland raised by the prospect of 'yes' vote," said Adrian Bailey MP, Chair BIS Committee.

"Arguments based on aspiration rather than reality do little to advance the cause of Scotland and it is clear to our Committee that the Scottish Government has failed to make the argument that Scotland would be better off economically as a separate state."

On 5 August, Salmond and Alastair Darling, head of the Better Together campaign and former Chancellor, went head to head over why Scots should vote for or against independence.

During the televised debate, Salmond skirted the questions, which asked for more detail on how the SNP planned to carry out promises to the public that independence will not affect a range of issues, from pensions and free prescriptions, to the currency and EU membership.

"On big questions, such as the issue of a future currency, it's time for the Scottish Government to come clean and lay out the detail. It's no longer tenable for the Scottish Government to assert an independent Scotland will retain the pound when a sterling currency union is firmly off-the-table," said Bailey.

"The Scottish Government must play fair with Scottish businesses, investors, and voters and set out its plans for an alternative currency for an independent Scotland.

"The forthcoming referendum on Scottish Independence has an impact not just on Scottish businesses and citizens but on all UK citizens and businesses. There is no certainty that breaking up the UK single market will bring economic benefits and our Committee believes that remaining in the Union is in the best economic interests of Scotland."