Nicola Sturgeon is 'hiding' behind independence says guest
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Alison Rose, chief executive of parent company NatWest Group, said RBS will relocate its registered HQ from Edinburgh to London, if Scotland was to leave the UK. RBS was founded in the Scottish capital almost 300 years ago. The banking chief insisted the issue of independence is one for Scots to decide, but in a stark revelation Ms Rose admitted the bank’s balance sheet would be “too big for an independent Scottish economy”.
The admission could serve as hammer blow to the SNP’s plan to break up the UK.
Ms Sturgeon aims to hold a second independence referendum, seven years after the failed vote in 2014, if the SNP wins a majority at the Holyrood elections on May 6.
The announcement from RBS has caused huge embarrassment for the First Minister of Scotland as a number of Express.co.uk readers tore apart her independence dreams.
Commenting on an earlier online story, one reader said: “And RBS will not be the last to go.”
A second added: “Most of the financial services will move from Scotland if it becomes independent, as will the naval yards and all the support services.”
A third added: “Sturgeon has to be defeated her divisive actions are so damaging. Vote her out.”
A fourth wrote: “Once it is set up in London we can bring the jobs south no one in Scotland will have any money left to bank with under Sturgeon.”
Meanwhile, a fifth said: “I bank with RBS and would have transferred my account if Scotland were to gain independence.”
The RBS chief confirmed plans to relocate in an interview The Herald newspaper.
Ms Rose said: “As you know, we are neutral on the issue of Scottish independence – it is something for the Scottish people to decide.
“We have been very clear, and it is recognised by senior nationalists, that in the event that there was independence in Scotland, our balance sheet would be too big for an independent Scottish economy, and we would move our registered headquarter to London.”
However, Ms Rose insisted whether or not independence is won, the bank’s dedication to Scotland would remain unchanged, where it is one of the country’s biggest private-sector employers and supporters of businesses and households.
She added: “It is really just the size of the balance sheet at that point, which we have been very clear in public about and with senior nationalists.”
Tory finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said the relocation of RBS “confirms the very real consequences for Scottish jobs and business if Nicola Sturgeon ever gets her way”.
He added: “For the historic Royal Bank of Scotland to be forced to leave Scotland in the event of the break-up of Britain would be devastating.”
Pamela Nash, chief executive of the pro-UK Scotland in Union campaign group, said RBS moving to London serve as a “hammer blow for the country’s reputation as a place to invest and work”.
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Scottish Government trade minister Ivan McKee played down the announcement from RBS and insisted the bank’s operations would remain north of the border and stated Scotland is “one of the most attractive places in the world to do business”.
He said: “The SNP is focused on getting Scotland through and out of the pandemic and into recovery – as the plans we have set out today for the first 100 days of an SNP government show.
“If we are re-elected we will immediately deliver support for our NHS, protection for jobs and help for our children and young people.”
Mr McKee added: “As the chief executive of the NatWest Group makes clear, Scotland’s future is for the people of Scotland to decide and the bank, which is not talking about moving its operations but simply its registered address, has no view on that.
“Scotland is already one of the most attractive places in the world to do business, and the evidence clearly shows that Scotland has the talent and ambition to build a prosperous economy, drive economic recovery and raise competitiveness.”
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