ERJ staff report (PR)
Unlike their counterparts in the oil & gas sector, senior figures in the UK chemicals manufacturing sector have chosen not to come out either for or against Scottish independence.
In recent weeks, Bob Dudley and Ben van Beurden - leaders of BP and Shell, respectively - have come out strongly against proposals for Scotland’s departure from the UK.
A ‘yes’ vote in a referendum on 18 Sept could have a negative impact on future investment in Scotland, the oil & gas executives argued.
But Simon Marsh, employment and communications director of the Chemical Industries Association, said his association would not be expressing any opinion on how people should vote.
The industry group, which represents chemical and pharmaceuticals manufacturers in the UK, prefers to maintain good relationships with parties on either side of the referendum, he explained.
The CIA’s stance reflects lessons learnt from engaging only with the government of the day at Westminster in the past. This, Marsh indicated, had counted against the industry’s lobbying efforts whenever a new party was elected to power.
Likewise, Ineos director Tom Crotty said: “We are deliberately taking a very very middle ground on this, partly because we don’t want to upset anybody. It a decision for the people of Scotland and we will manage with whatever that decision is.”
Crotty went on to rule out the idea of Ineos moving plants from one country to the other as a result of a ‘yes’ vote the referendum.
“We manage operations in all sorts of jurisdictions very successfully," he said. "We have [for example] operations in Norway, a country with four million people and that has its own currency.”