Now that the campaign on the Scottish independence is over, and the result of the referendum is in, the divisions must be healed across industries, businesses and communities alike, Guy Platten, CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping said today commenting on the decision of the majority in Scotland to remain inside the UK.
According to Platten, the UK Chamber was never going to publicly back one side, “but it is no secret that we have expressed significant concerns about what independence would look like for a shipping industry that is a powerhouse of the Scottish economy. “
“In business, we know that the enemy of growth is uncertainty. And whichever side you supported, there has been tremendous uncertainty across not just the Scottish economy, but the UK as a whole.
As the polls tightened in the closing weeks of the campaign, billions of pounds were wiped off the stock market and the pound plummeted against every major currency in the developed world. The result of yesterday’s referendum has eased that uncertainty, but frankly the result was just too close to put an end to the independence question,” Platten said.
The UK Chamber of Shipping raised various issues concerning shipping that should be addressed by Scotland, should the majority had voted Yes.
According to the UK Chamber, obvious questions included establishment of a separate ship registry and MCA; taxation of shipping, followed by potential introduction of work permits and trade restrictions, seafarer training standards along with funding and provision of marine safety infrastructure (coastguards, lights, emergency tugs etc).
“We know the Scottish Government has valued the expertise we have been able to provide, and was grateful for the measured tone and sensitivity with which we conveyed our opinion. But so too has the media and UK parties valued our candour and vocal involvement in explaining how this macro-political event would impact on the economy, and the shipping industry’s massive contribution to it.”
Platten added that the UK Chamber of Shipping is already working towards an event in Holyrood in November and is resuming its work across all aspects of Scottish shipping from Aberdeen to Glasgow.
He stressed that a key part of his strategy is “to foster deep and productive relationships with our Scottish members – as well as those we need to influence in Edinburgh and beyond.”