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Investment on hold over uncertainty

Tycoon issues warning as indyref clouds growth

Alasdair LockeA businessman has warned he will withhold investment in Scotland as uncertainty around a second referendum on independence threatens to stunt business growth.

Alasdair Locke (pictured), chairman of Motor Fuel Group – Britain’s second largest independent petrol station chain – said that even the prospect of a further vote is “hugely damaging to Scotland”.

His warning comes as the Fraser of Allander Institute at Strathclyde university says economic growth is likely to remain weak for the next few years, with the continuing low oil price and the Brexit negotiations also weighing on investment sentiment.

In its latest report the Institute predicts that Scotland’s economy will grow by just 1.2% this year, 1.3% next year and 1.4% in 2019.

It says: “Whatever the views are over the long-term risks and opportunities from independence, it is clear that we are entering an unprecedented period of political and economic uncertainty.

“With an economy struggling with the effects of a low oil price, the uncertainty caused by ongoing Brexit negotiations and a second independence referendum is likely to act as a further headwind for many businesses and potential investors.”

Graeme Roy, the institute’s director, said: “It is vital that attention turns to practical policy initiatives that will support businesses, secure new investment and create jobs – whatever the constitutional settlement.”


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