Another business chief leaning toward independence

The SNP today welcomed comments from Sir Tom Farmer, one of Scotland’s leading business figures, saying that he “would lean towards” voting for independence in the 2014 referendum if it was the only way to secure new financial and job-creating powers for Scotland.

Reported in today’s Herald, Sir Tom Farmer says: “If it was a case of the status quo and no fiscal autonomy, I don’t think I would be very happy. If the question was, quite simply, independence or no new powers I would lean towards independence.”

The comments by Sir Tom, who has supported more fiscal autonomy for a number of years, echo those of Jim McColl – another leading Scottish businessman – who said that he and many others may back independence to get more economic powers.

In today’s Scotsman, Sir Tom added: “I think my feelings would be the same as Jim McColl’s.”

With the anti-independence parties suggesting more powers short of independence – but so far refusing to put them to the people – SNP MSP Chic Brodie has said that independence is increasingly the choice of those who want to see more financial powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Commenting, Mr Brodie, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee, said:

“Another day, another leading businessman leaning towards supporting independence – more and more people from across Scotland are coming to the view that voting Yes to independence is the only way to get the economic and job-creating powers this country so desperately needs.

“The anti-independence parties speak about more powers short of independence, but if the best that is on offer is David Cameron’s ‘pig in a poke’ offer of unspecified more powers if people vote no to independence it will only encourage more people to vote Yes to independence – as Sir Tom Farmer and Jim McColl’s comments prove.

“Sir Tom has been on the record for years supporting more powers for the Scottish Parliament. Just like Jim McColl, he knows from personal experience that we badly need a full range of fiscal levers to help grow Scotland’s economy and create jobs.

“The SNP want to see all of the powers devolved to Scotland that Sir Tom wishes – and we will be making that case to the people of Scotland between now and the autumn 2014 referendum.”

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