SNP welcome Lloyds chief's referendum input

SNP MSP Mark McDonald has welcomed comments from the top Scottish executive at Lloyds Banking Group saying the independence debate "is no bad thing" for promoting Scotland to international investors.

Philip Grant, chairman of the Scottish executive committee, told the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee the independence debate has made global markets more aware of "the brand of Scotland".

He said: "Scotland has great strengths, great national opportunities and great talent and strength in its universities sector. For people to be more aware of the brand of Scotland and the capability that we have, and the opportunities, I think, is no bad thing in a global market."

Mr Grant added that the decision is something for the people of Scotland, but that there are "parts of the world where people are getting interested in Scotland again."

Mr McDonald, SNP MSP for North East Scotland and member of the committee, said:

"This is a welcome and positive contribution to the independence debate which also recognises all of Scotland's strengths.

"Mr Grant acknowledges the debate on our country's future has put Scotland, our talent, opportunities, our universities and the fact we are leaders in the renewables sector into the global spotlight and is generating new interest in Scotland's potential.

"A recent Ernst and Young survey found Scotland was the most attractive nation in the UK to do business in 2010, which has been vindicated by the investment of companies such as Gamesa, Amazon, Mitsubishi and Glaxo-Smith-Kline.

"As Mr Grant rightly said Scotland's future is a matter for the people of Scotland, its parliament and its government but anything which increases Scotland's profile creates opportunities for business, enterprise and trade.

"The Scottish Government's consultation Your Scotland, Your Referendum ends this week and I would urge the people of Scotland to have their say."