UK Chamber Leads Scottish Independence Seminar
Ahead of the 18 September referendum on Scottish independence, the UK Chamber held a seminar at Northern Marine Management in Clydebank on Tuesday 19 August. Chamber members heard from the Scottish Minister for Transport, Keith Brown MSP, and officials from HM Treasury, as well as discussing options for further devolution of powers to the Scottish Government in the event of a “No” vote.
The event was the third in a series of seminars arranged by the chamber leading up to the referendum and provided members with a final opportunity to discuss the impacts of independence on the shipping industry with the Minister before the Scottish Parliament enters a “purdah” period. The UK Chamber’s Chief Executive, Guy Platten, presented the Minister with two papers outlining the Chamber’s vision for a national ship register and taxation regime for shipping in an independent Scotland, both of which will now be considered by the Government.
The Minister answered a series of questions from members on issues such as the future of shipbuilding in Scotland, national insurance, training and currency arrangements in the event of a “Yes” vote. On the subject of shipping-specific taxation, the Minster described the proposals put forward in the Chamber’s paper as non-contentious and assured members that the current special arrangements for the industry would be inherited and preserved for at least the foreseeable future.
HM Treasury outlined the potential macro-economic costs of independence based on modelling developed for the UK Government’s Scotland analysis programme. Members engaged in productive discussions with Treasury officials, addressing topics including income tax, trade and public spending.
The UK Chamber is committed to building on the work already undertaken with the Scottish Government and the Treasury regardless of the outcome of September’s vote and looks forward to ongoing engagement with members in Scotland. Copies of the presentations given at the seminar and the papers presented to the Minister are available from the Secretariat on request.