Shell workers want an independent Scotland

Ben van Beurden, Shell's chief exec, says an independent Scotland would create financial uncertainty. But a survey shows most North Sea oil workers are in the opposite camp.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 06 Mar 2014

Ben van Beurden, the new chief executive of Shell, last night added his voice to the veritable chorus of big business that wants Scotland to stay part of the United Kingdom.

‘We’d like to see Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom. Shell has a long history of involvement in the North Sea – and therefore in Scotland – and we have continued to invest heavily there,’ he said.

On this point, it’s worth dusting off a survey by recruitment website Oil and Gas People, which it published last Monday, showing 70% of 1,000 North Sea oil and gas workers planned to vote ‘yes’ in September’s referendum.

We should add that the survey was conducted on the website’s Facebook page – hardly the most scientific of environments. But it still suggests Van Beurden’s view is at odds with his Scottish workers.

Elsewhere, Lloyds cautioned in its annual report that ‘the impact of a "yes" vote in favour of Scottish independence is uncertain. The outcome could have a material impact on compliance costs, the tax position, and cost of funding for the group.’

Barclays, meanwhile, added that a yes vote could introduce ‘potentially significant new uncertainties and instability in the financial markets’.

So there you go: pressure on Alex Salmond to provide more information about how an independent Scotland will actually work continues to mount. However, businesses need to take care - Scots may not take kindly to all this finger-wagging over how they should vote in their own independence referendum.

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