Independence Vote “No Barrier to Investment”

Press and Journal – 17/11/2011 by Cameron Brooks

A leading north-east businesswoman has dismissed claims that the prospect of independence would put companies off investing in Scotland.

Jeanette Forbes, managing director of Aberdeen-based engineering and offshore services firm PCL Group, said the business community was more concerned with current taxation and employment.

She spoke out after UK Chancellor George Osborne said the prospect of an independence referendum was damaging investment.

The Conservative MP claimed “instability and uncertainty” surrounded the Scottish economy and some of the world’s biggest companies had voiced concerns about doing business in Scotland.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said there was no evidence to support the chancellor’s remarks and he feared Mr Osborne was trying to “sabotage” economic growth in Scotland


The Treasury dismissed Mr Swinney’s comments as “ridiculous” given that Mr Osborne announced last week that £100miilion was being investedin renewable energy in Scotland.

Asked if she thought big companies were concerned about the independence referendum, Ms Forbes said: “No I don’t think they are.

“I think at the moment most people are wondering if they are going to have employment in the new year.

“I think we are concentrating on oil and gas in-the north-east in regards to the taxing, and the banks need to be obviously open to business that they keep saying that they are.

“I really think we should be open to the economy at the moment and getting ourselves out of this mess as opposed to focusing on anything else.”

Aberdeen South and North Kineardine SNP MSP Maureen Watt welcomed the entrepreneur’s remarks.

“Jeanette Forbes knows her industry and she knows that it is not independence that is worrying the industry but the UK Government’s treatment of the North Sea as nothing more than a cash cow,” she added.

“Instead of Tory scaremongering we have businesses in Scotland who are working hard to attract investment, create jobs and boost the economy. They should not be talked down by a Tory government”