Scotch industry fears eased as Scotland rejects independenceBy Melita Kiely
Fears over damage to the Scotch whisky industry if Scottish citizens voted in favour of independence were laid to rest this morning as the referendum returned a “No” vote.
The ballot, which took place yesterday following a two-year long campaign, resulted in approximately 55% of people voting “No” and 45% voting “Yes”, a result that has been welcomed by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
“The people of Scotland have made a historic choice against the background of the most profound national debate,” commented David Frost, chief executive of the SWA. “We welcome the stability that this choice brings and now urge politicians of all parties to work to bring our country together.
“The referendum debate has shown the need for government and business to collaborate to address long-term economic challenges. We will be looking closely at plans for further devolution within this context.
“There must now be a renewed focus on improving the business environment so that Scotland’s economy can grow to everyone’s benefit.
“The Scotch Whisky industry is determined to play a leading role in shaping discussions that are fundamental to the future success of our industry and our nation.”
Days after claiming Scottish independence would boost industries such as Scotch whisky as a result of the publicity generated through the referendum, Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party and Yes Scotland campaign accepted Scotland’s decision to remain part of the UK.
“It is important to say that our referendum was an agreed and consented process and Scotland has, by a majority, decided not at this stage to become an independent country,” said the leader of the Yes Scotland campaign.
“And I accept that verdict of the people. And I call on Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement outside 10 Downing Street this morning that he was “delighted” with the result.
In the lead up to the referendum, Frost had warned that Scottish independence had “potential risks”, and any break from the EU as a result could affect the protection of Scotch whisky’s geographical indication status as well as create trading problems in relation to tariff, market access and negotiations.
Meanwhile in July, William Grant & Sons donated £135,000 to the campaign against Scottish independence, as well as smaller sums of money to various other groups campaigning for a “No” vote.
Just days before the referendum, North Korea expressed its support for Scottish independence in order to trade Scotch whisky for natural resources.