Business relief as Scotland says no to independence

Business relief as Scotland says no to independence

Scotland has chosen to stay part of the United Kingdom after independence was rejected.

After a long and somewhat bitter battle, the no camp managed to get 55 per cent of the vote, giving it a bigger majority than many polls had suggested. Speculation had been rife throughout the process that the 'silent no' – people who did not want to tell family and friends of their intention to vote no – would prove to be decisive.

The business community has reacted very positively to the news, with the pound hitting a two-year high against the euro and a two-week high versus the US dollar. 

This is due to the certainty now surrounding the country, which means there will be no more questions about currency or its membership of the EU. The Royal Bank of Scotland has already confirmed it will be keeping its Scottish headquarters.

No independence for Scotland

A number of additional powers – referred to as Devo Max – were offered by the government late in the campaign in an effort to stave off the Yes campaign. These include a greater say in setting tax rates and public spending.

David Cameron has already confirmed a timeline for handing over more powers to the Scottish Parliament will be drawn up soon, with Lord Smith of Kelvin set to oversee the process. He added the other countries in the UK – England, Wales and Northern Ireland – can expect to receive similar powers. 

Indeed, it could be that the other three countries are the real winners in the Scottish referendum debate, as they are now set to have a greater say on how they are run day to day.

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond cut an unsurprisingly dejected figure after defeat, but heralded the whole event as a "triumph for the democratic process". He pointed out the big winners are the people of Scotland, as they have been engaged with politics in a way that has not happened previously. Turnout was 84 per cent. 

Business as usual after independence vote

The decision to reject independence means that Scotland is now open for business as usual, as concerns over what jurisdiction it would fall under have been quashed for a generation. Global companies based in Scotland will be letting out collective sighs of relief, while UK-wide organisations no longer need to be worried about how their structures will be changed. 

What this referendum has underlined, however, is the need for the business community to be flexible. Lessons can, and should, be learned from the experience and firms have to embrace technology.

For example, companies with multiple locations can use conference calling for business meetings, instead of spending vast sums of money on air or rail travel. As well as being more efficient, this system is also environmentally-friendly.

Many firms are already using this technology to streamline their business operations and deliver real cost savings around meetings. This referendum should act as a wake-up call to those companies that are still organised along outdated methods. 

Audio conferencing means you can meet with people anyone, anywhere in the world right from your desk and regardless of the country's political situation at the time!

What do you think of the result? Did you vote yes or no to independence?