INWARD INVESTMENT AT 15-YEAR HIGH
The Convener of the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee Kenneth Gibson MSP welcomed the 2013 Ernst & Young Attractiveness Survey on foreign direct investment (FDI), which finds that in relation to the possibility of independence there is “no sign of investors being deterred from coming to Scotland; if anything, the reverse appears to be true.”
Ernst & Young also report that the number of inward investment projects in Scotland is the highest for 15 years – a 49 per increase on the previous year – and that Scotland is ranked number one for inward investment projects outside London, up from number two in last year’s report.
Mr Gibson said that senior figures in the No campaign parties – including the Chancellor George Osborne – have consistently asserted that the referendum and prospect of an independent Scotland are deterring inward investment in Scotland. He challenged the Chairman of the No campaign, Alistair Darling, to apologise for this scaremongering and pledge never to repeat such baseless claims during the rest of the campaign.
Mr Gibson said:
“This is an exceptional performance – and all credit is due to Scottish Development International, the Scottish Government, and everyone who has worked hard to give Scotland a sustained and leading role in securing inward investment in an extremely tough global environment.
“Thanks to this excellent work, we have a 15-year high in inward investment projects, and extraordinary progress even on last year’s impressive figures.
“And yet throughout this entire period we have had senior politicians from the No campaign parties asserting, without a shred of evidence, that inward investment is being deterred.
“We now have the evidence and the reality – to quote from this report there is ‘no sign of investors being deterred from coming to Scotland; if anything, the reverse appears to be true.’
“We clearly can’t believe a word the No campaign says about inward investment – which will lead many more people in Scotland to conclude that we can’t believe a word they say about anything.
“My challenge to Alistair Darling as Chairman of the No campaign is simple and direct – apologise for the scaremongering, which has now been shown to be demonstrably untrue, and pledge never to let it be repeated by anyone on behalf of the No campaign.”
1. A Scottish Council Development and Industry report, published on 28 May, said in relation to independence: “It was difficult to discern tangible evidence that the debate itself was causing investment to be halted or deferred.” (page 21)
2. The No campaign have continually asserted that investment is being deterred – without producing any evidence or a single example to support their claims:
* “I think the instability and the uncertainty that hangs over the Scottish economy (is) because of Alex Salmond raising the prospects of independence…
“I think that uncertainty is damaging investment in Scotland – and there are major businesses around the world who have asked me as chancellor in the last year ‘tell us what is going on in Scotland – we’re worried about making an investment in that country’.”
George Osborne, BBC’s Politics Show Scotland, 13 November 2011
* “If Alex Salmond wants a referendum on independence, why do we wait until 2014? This is very damaging for Scotland because all the time businesses are asking ‘Is Scotland going to stay part of the UK? Are they going to stay together? Should I invest’?”
David Cameron, 9th January 2012
* “Certainly, the feedback he has had and the Chancellor has had from business suggests that this uncertainty around Scotland’s place in the Union is having an effect.
“It affects their decisions to invest, it affects their decisions on how they plan for the future. There’s a lot of uncertainty anyway at the present time and this is clearly adding to it.”
David Cameron’s spokesman, 9th January 2012
* “With too long a period, we will just increase the uncertainty about Scotland’s future, which will affect jobs, it will affect investment plans.”
Michael Moore, 25th January 2012
* “… continuing constitutional uncertainty is damaging business in Scotland.”
Ruth Davidson, 16th January 2012
* “…the growing uncertainty the delay over the referendum is creating.”
Johann Lamont, Holyrood Magazine, 24th February 2012
* “…the extended uncertainty the SNP want is in itself damaging Scotland.”
Danny Alexander, 2nd March 2012