Scotland Office Referendum Consultation

08 Mar 2012

The Scotch Whisky Association is happy to respond to the UK Government's consultation on Scotland's constitutional future. We do so to underline the urgency for clarity, as seen from a business perspective, on the many issues arising from a referendum on Scotland's constitutional future. This response addresses the issue of independence and not the wider issue of further devolution of powers to Scotland.
The Scotch Whisky industry is a major business in the UK; it is embedded in Scotland, providing employment for around 35,000 people and contributing massively to the prosperity of the United Kingdom and Scotland. Its operations and jobs are at the heart of many communities across Scotland.

In planning for future success, industry needs political and economic stability, the prospect of sustainability and certainty about the future business environment.  There is an urgent need for both the UK and Scottish Governments to set out unequivocally what independence, if that was the choice of the electorate, would mean for Scotland and companies doing business there. These include the timing of the referendum on independence, the structures of government and financial/economic administration, Scotland's overseas representation, membership of the European Union and the World Trade Organisation, all of which are critical to the Scotch Whisky industry in its overseas markets. The sustainability of the industry matters to Scotland's prosperity and to the success of the companies and the jobs they generate in Scotland.

The Scotch Whisky industry urges both the UK and Scottish Governments to address the issues that relate to doing business in Scotland, so that an informed debate can take place, where legitimate questions can be advanced without being characterised as taking a particular position and where political considerations are clearly delineated from matters of fact.
We look forward to engaging with both the UK and Scottish Governments on the important issue of Scotland's constitutional future which is critical to the Scotch Whisky Association and its member companies, whose employees depend on a successful and growing industry for their livelihood.