By Jonathan Davies
After yesterday's round of businesses warning about their future in Scotland, Justin King, the former boss of Sainsbury's has warned the country of rising prices if it votes for independence.
Justin King said supermarket prices will rise, retailers will scale back their investment in Scotland and Scottish food producers will be hit.
Mr King stood down from his role as Sainsbury's boss after 10 years in charge, but he is confident prices will go up, if Scotland votes 'Yes'.
He said: "It is more expensive to do business in Scotland today. Business rates are higher, distribution costs are higher.
"If Scotland was to be an independent country, with businesses run separately in Scotland - as inevitably will be the case - prices would be higher."
The former Sainsbury's boss claimed that supermarkets had already started to scale back their investment in Scotland due to uncertainty surrounding the referendum.
"When you invest in a shop you've got to take a 25-year view. That's been almost impossible for the last couple of years - and probably for the next couple of years too, until we are clear what the tax and spend regime is going to look like.
"I don't think we are going to see a supermarket - and retailers more generally - rushing to invest until they can have really good long-term line of sight."
Justin King also warned that Scottish food producers could find themselves out of favour among British shoppers. He said: "In many supermarkets, customers today express a preference for their beef to come from the UK, and if Scotland's not part of the UK, I could see that having an impact on their sales of products like that.
"Scottish salmon producers will find themselves competing with Norway salmon producers."
Justin King joins Asda and John Lewis chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield who yesterday warned of high prices due to the increased risk and costs of trading in an independent Scotland. RBS confirmed plans to move its headquarters to London, while Lloyds Banking Group and Clydesdale Bank both said they were considering similar options.
But these announcements were dismissed as "scaremongering" by the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.
He accused The Treasury of leaking market sensitive information (RBS' plans to move) in order to derail the 'Yes' campaign. And he launched an attack against news outlets, the BBC in particular, for giving the story such prominence.
The chairman of JD Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, accused business leaders of talking "nonsense" over potential price rises if Scotland votes for independence.
And yesterday (Thursday) Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, argued against the claims of the likes of RBS, Lloyds, Clydesdale Bank, Asda and John Lewis. He said Scotland's financial industry and economy could prosper if the country votes for independence on Thursday.
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