By Jonathan Davies

Scotland has voted against independence with a 55% majority voting 'No' to remain part of the UK.

The key political leaders have had their say on the result, now it's the businesses' turn.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said:

“This is a momentous day for our United Kingdom and this result will be greeted by a collective sigh of relief across the business community.

“Business has always believed that the Union is best for creating jobs, raising growth and improving living standards, and welcomes that the people of Scotland want to play an integral role in this internationally successful partnership."

Andy Willox, Policy Convenor of The Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scotland, said:

“The result is clear. We must now focus on the future and how we can come together to make Scotland the best place to live, work and do business. Business and entrepreneurship have a crucial role to play in delivering the fairer and more prosperous Scotland for which so many expressed a keen desire during the campaign. Businesses don’t just create jobs and generate revenues, they have the capacity to change lives and transform communities."

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"The companies I speak to are clear that this cannot simply be the first in a series of referenda, until one side or the other gets the result that it wants. Business and investment prospects across the UK would be deeply hurt by a Quebec-style 'neverendum' - a lesson that politicians must heed."

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“There can be no doubt that many businesses will breathe a sigh of relief that the prospect of a contentious currency debate and prolonged economic negotiations have been avoided, and yet we know that significant changes are still on the cards.

“The main party leaders have made clear their intention to devolve further power to the Scottish Parliament, and over time this will give the people of Scotland more of a say over how to manage their economy.

“As negotiations commence on a future settlement for Scotland, the focus must be on ensuring that any new powers are used to boost Scotland’s economic competitiveness, unleash enterprise and attract further investment."

Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:

“The decision of the Scottish people is nothing short of a relief and good news for the rest of the UK. I also think it’s a victory for common sense and a recognition of the economic realities of the world in which we live. Business will be relieved that the uncertainty is now over and can get on with the day job of generating growth and creating jobs. Government must act on its promises and quickly start to implement the devolution proposals that have been put forward and rebuild trust and confidence."

Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, David Lonsdale, said:

"This vote signals the start of a fresh chapter of devolution, with greater power and more economic responsibility for Holyrood and the Scottish Government. The retail industry is the country’s largest private sector employer, serving a quality retail experience to millions of customers each day, and the SRC and our members look forward to engaging constructively and positively to ensure that the further powers to be devolved are implemented in a sensible and cost effective manner."

Steve Ruffley, chief market strategist at InterTrader, said:

“Scottish independence, it would have been like working for Apple and then going out on your own and trying to make an iPhone.

"The majority of UK GDP (over 75%) is based South of the border and consequently Scotland had a lot more to lose than Britain. Big names such as RBS and Standard Life threatened to move south in the event of the ‘yes’ vote and Scottish companies saw share prices dropping as a result. These large companies hold the real power and if their GDP had shifted down south, Scotland could have found themselves dependent on the UK even with an official independent status."

Claire Ford, Chief Operating Officer, Quality Scotland, said:

"The business community as well as those working in the charity and voluntary sectors, clearly need time to digest the decision, but what is clear, is there can be no let-up in our aspiration to make the whole process of business excellence a ‘National Characteristic of Scotland’ and after last night, this is probably more profound than it’s ever been.

"Unquestionably there will be changes, but let's hope a spirit of cooperation prevails in keeping Scotland's momentum firmly on the path of business excellence and continuous improvement. We will be working hard to ensure that the excellence agenda for business in Scotland is pervasive as we move forward."

What do you think about the result? You can email your reactions to editor@freshbusinessthinking.com

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