Exclusive: campaign to fight referendum
Kilgour rallies business to support union
Scottish entrepreneur Robert Kilgour is today encouraging business leaders to voice their opposition to another independence referendum.
Mr Kilgour, who built his reputation and wealth in the care homes sector, wants individuals to sign up to a newly-launched website, www.scottish-business.uk registering their support for the union.
He said more than 100 had already signed up ahead of the online campaign, with some indicating that they will go public on their concerns about the impact of a referendum campaign and the implications of independence.
He said: “The last time we faced an independence referendum, the Scottish business community was simply too slow and too shy at making their voice heard on the merits of staying in the United Kingdom.
“Having heard investors that I know well, actively stepping back from investing in the Scottish economy, I fear for the future and am urging business leaders to share their support through the website.
“It will only be by strength of voice and an evidenced based case that we will be able to defend the will of Scottish businesses of all sizes to remain in the Union.”
Mr Kilgour, brought up in Fife, now divides his time between Scotland and London.
“Ultimately, for Scotland to succeed in business we need to have a strong pipeline of investment and growth and at the moment, the approach of our politicians is turning too many investors away,” he said.
He wants the business community to come together and for individuals to speak out.
“It’s not good enough for business leaders to quietly shake their heads in dismay,” he said.
Mr Kilgour was the founder of Four Seasons Health Care in 1988. He left in 2000 and sold his final holding in the company in 2005.
Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, CEO of the pro-independence group Business for Scotland, said: “There were multiple failed attempts to garner business support for the union in 2014 and most were half-hearted, or in the case of the CBI, self destructive.
“For five years now BfS has been going from strength to strength and has more than 4,000 members; just last week we launched new chapters in locations as different as London and Aviemore.
“We seem to remember Robert Kilgour made similar negative claims about inward investment in 2014 and it turned out to be a record year for Scottish inward investment projects.
“As a former care home owner he should perhaps consider how much that sector needs EU immigrants to run those businesses, and he should possibly wait to see what rights EU immigrants have to continue working here after Brexit.
“Otherwise, his declaration of support for the union will look like it’s based on unconsidered British nationalism using bankrupt and discredited (by facts) scare stories from the last referendum, when the planned Tory hard Brexit has since changed the constitutional question completely and absolutely destroyed the economic case for the Union.”