68% of British SMEs believe Scottish Independence would have a negative effect on small businesses in Scotland, while 45% think small businesses in the rest of Britain will suffer too.
A survey of 500 small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Great Britain has revealed that the majority of SMEs think they’ll be impacted negatively by Scottish independence, irrespective of on which side of the Scottish border they are located.
The research, conducted by Clear Books, a cloud-based accountancy software solution for SMEs, found that collectively British SMEs felt that 68% of small business in Scotland would suffer, and 45% of SMEs in England and Wales would also see negative effects.
Over a quarter of the respondents to the Clear Books survey were Scottish, and 54% of them said that they wanted to remain part of the UK, compared to 83% of English respondents who were generally keener to maintain the union.
Over three quarters (76%) of English SMEs believe Scottish small businesses would be negatively hit by independence, compared to only 48% of Scottish SMEs. But while 43% of Scottish SMEs say they would vote for independence, only 38% believe that this would cause a positive effect on small businesses in Scotland.
Unsurprisingly, only 9% of English SME’s saying they would be in favour of an independent Scotland, and as few as 5% believe independence will have a positive impact on Scottish small businesses.
Both English and Scottish camps agree, however, that independence could potentially be more damaging for Scottish small businesses and enterprises than for English SMEs.
“After buying some office furniture from a business based in Scotland, we started considering the impact of Scottish independence on SMEs across Britain,” said Tim Fouracre, CEO of Clear Books. “Would it be so easy to buy from this small business in the future? Would the VAT be different? Would the currency be different? Would it just be easier to buy from a different office furniture supplier based in the UK?”
“Our research shows that, collectively, smaller businesses throughout the UK have concerns over the impact of Scottish independence. Only 14% of small businesses think independence will be a positive move for Scottish businesses and just 12% think it will be positive for the rest of the UK.”