Economics of Independence ScotRef

Business for Scotland calls on BBC to leave CBI

CBI a dead bodyThe following is the text of a letter sent by Business for Scotland Chair Tony Banks to Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC, calling for the BBC to end its membership of the CBI.

Dear Tony

Further to our recent correspondence on the subject of the BBC’s membership of the CBI, I am bringing to your attention some concerning developments.

The Electoral Commission has confirmed the CBI is once again campaigning for a No vote and spending the money of its members doing so.

Following its embarrassing registration and de-registration as an official campaign body, the CBI pleaded with its membership not to resign but almost a third of its Scottish membership did so.

We were all told by an apologetic CBI that it made an honest mistake, should not have been campaigning and registered with the Electoral Commission by accident. The CBI claimed it was all a big misunderstanding and that it would remain studiously neutral in future.

Unfortunately, the CBI is once again campaigning without a resolution of its members, members that in almost all cases want to protect their neutrality and legal position.

It is clearly now inappropriate for the BBC to maintain its “suspended membership” position in public, even if in practice that means you have left with the intention of re-joining. Likewise, it is clearly inappropriate for BBC Worldwide to maintain its membership of CBI. Otherwise, the BBC will place the fairness of the referendum process into question and risk being considered an active participant itself.

I look forward to hearing from you. Once again, I know you will understand my making this letter public in the interests of transparency. I am copying the Acting Chair of the BBC Trust, Diane Doyle.

Yours sincerely

Tony Banks
Business forScotland

About the author

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp is the Founder and Chief Executive of Business for Scotland. Before becoming CEO of Business for Scotland Gordon ran a business strategy and social media, sales & marketing consultancy.

With a degree in business, marketing and economics, Gordon has worked as an economic development planning professional, and in marketing roles specialising in pricing modelling and promotional evaluation for global companies (including P&G).

Gordon benefits (not suffers) from dyslexia, and is a proponent of the emerging New Economics School. Gordon contributes articles to Business for Scotland, The National and Believe in Scotland.


  • Good for you BFS, it’s an ongoing issue that needs to be resolved.

    If the BBC wish to retain CBI membership then they must do so by publicly announcing that their news is no longer ‘impartial’ because they have decided to use licence fee money to support an organisation that promotes business and a right wing ideology.

    Either that or members of the public should be given an opt out from paying the licence fee.

  • I have been a license-fee payer for over 45 years. Back in the day, I used also to have to pay for a license to listen to BBC radio. I have been a supporter of Scottish independence for even longer than that, and I strongly object to the money I pay to the BBC being used to promote anti-independence propaganda. I don’t watch/listen or read much of the current bile pouring from the mouth of the state broadcaster, and will not be renewing my license when it falls due.

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