Businesses 'in limbo' over vote

GLASGOW business leaders are struggling to plan for the future ahead of the independence referendum, it was claimed today.

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Gary Sharp, a director of PCG, the largest association of independent professionals in the EU, representing freelancers, contractors and consultants from every sector of the economy, claimed the uncertainty has left entrepreneurs in limbo as they wait to hear what a yes vote could mean for them.

Speaking after a debate between the two campaigns, Mr Sharp, who runs a project manager business, said the jury was out on whether independence would benefit businesses.

With six months to go until Scotland goes to the polls, representatives from small businesses, freelancers from various sectors and entrepreneurs quizzed Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Better Together leader Alistair Darling.

Among the issues discussed were the potential barriers or opportunities for Scotland's smallest businesses, the lack of certainty about an independent Scotland's currency and whether businesses would be better or worse off in an independent Scotland.

Mr Sharp, 51, from Bothwell, South Lanarkshire, said businesses were concerned about the cost of adapting their business to operate in an independent Scotland and the time they would need to invest in the change pending a yes vote.

He said: "It's the uncertainty, what do we do in terms of planning and investments? We can't plan until we know what the future is going to be like.

"Until there is some certainty... it's hard for businesses to make the changes to progress.

"Businesses waiting to see what happens."

A poll of Scots PCG members ahead of the event revealed 46% thought their business would be worse off after independence, while 26% thought there would no difference.

Glasgow IT consultant Rajiv Dhir, 47, said he feared a yes vote could result in a brain drain, forcing big business to head south.

He said: "The risks outweigh the advantages."

matty.sutton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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