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Business leaders fear impact of independence

Published:7/12/2012
Fieldwork:25 September - 31 October 2012
Theme:Scotland
Keywords:Business, Corporate, Independence, Referendum, Scotland
(Click on keywords to find related Research)
The majority of business leaders believe that independence would have a negative impact on both their own business and the wider business community in Scotland, data from our new survey of the corporate sector has revealed.

Download the infographicThe poll of 250 senior decision-makers at large and medium sized businesses is a comprehensive measure of the attitudes of Scotland’s senior business community towards independence.

More than half (56%) of Scotland’s senior business decision-makers think that independence would worsen prospects for their business, compared to just one in ten (10%) who feel that their business’ prospects would improve if Scotland were an independent country. A quarter (26%) think that it is too early to say.

Similarly, nearly three quarters (72%) think that Scottish independence would have a negative impact on businesses in Scotland as a whole, compared to just one in eight (13%) who believe that it would have a positive impact.


Three quarters of those polled (76%) have not yet started to plan ahead for the possibility of independence, compared to less than a quarter (23%) who have started considering some of the possible impacts of independence on their business.

Mark Diffley, Research Director at Ipsos MORI said:

“This survey illustrates the concern that senior decision makers have about the prospect of an independent Scotland in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote in the 2014 referendum. These fears span the perceived negative impact of independence on both the businesses of the senior decision-makers we interviewed and on the Scottish business community more widely.

This comprehensive picture of business attitudes follows our regular polling of public opinion which has shown support for independence falling during 2012. It is possible that so few business leaders are actively planning for the prospect independence because they do not think that the ‘Yes’ campaign will win the referendum. Looking ahead, it is clear that the ‘Yes’ campaign has the biggest challenge in persuading the business community of the benefits of independence.”


About the research
Ipsos MORI’s survey of senior business decision-makers for affairs in Scotland is designed to measure the views of senior corporate decision-makers and help organisations understand their profile and reputation in the Scottish corporate sector. 251 telephone interviews were conducted between 25 September and 31 October 2012 across a range of issues impacting business leaders in Scotland.

Technical Note:

  • 251 telephone interviews were conducted between 25 September and 31 October 2012
  • Data are weighted by business size to ensure overall results are a representative of the profile of business in Scotland
  • Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to multiple responses, computer rounding or the exclusion of don’t knows/not stated
  • Results are based on all respondents unless otherwise state
  • An asterisk (*) represents a value of less than one half of one percent, but not zero
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Mark Diffley
Mark Diffley

Research Director

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