A new opinion poll released on Friday showed small gains for the ‘No’ campaign, once again indicating that the September 18 referendum will be a close call, while executives of top companies warned of price rise in the event of a pro-independence vote.
The Guardian/ICM poll put the ‘Yes’ vote just two percentage points behind those supporting ‘No’, despite a week of intense political campaigning by pro-union politicians and repeated warnings from business about the dangers of independence.
The poll found support for ‘No’ on 51% and ‘Yes’ on 49% to the referendum question: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’. Leaders of the ‘Yes’ campaign termed statements by the business leaders warning against price rise as “blatant intimidation from Westminister”.
Five banks — including the Royal Bank of Scotland — have said they might move their registered offices out of Scotland, while John Lewis and Asda warned prices may rise, if the vote went in favour of independence.
Chief executive of insurance and pension provider Aegon UK, Adrian Grace, said the company (formerly known as Scottish Equitable) was setting up a new registered company in England and Wales to protect policy-holders from the impact of a potential ‘Yes’ vote.
A joint letter by business leaders warning of price rises is expected to be published shortly.
The letter has reportedly been endorsed by Kingfisher Group head Ian Cheshire, and signed by other business leaders, including the heads of John Lewis, Asda and Marks and Spencer.