Scotland & the EU

Business for Scotland Members Give Reasons for Remain Vote

Written by Rhona Middler

With 82% of our members backing EU membership, those from businesses large and small give their reasons for voting Remain in tomorrow’s (23rd June) EU Referendum.


Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 14.51.18Kenny Anderson, Managing Director Anderson Construction

I fully appreciate some of the failings within the EU particularly in relation to bureaucracy and waste but I firmly believe Scotland’s best interests are served by remaining within the EU.

I believe Scotland should  play an active role in shaping EU policies and regulations. The opportunities the EU provides for people to work anywhere within Europe is a huge advantage to industry and business as well as a great opportunity for our young people to gain experience.

Our ability to trade with Europe without restriction and for us to benefit from international trade deals negotiated by the EU allows industries such as whisky, food and engineering to flourish in export markets with few limitations. Finally I believe the EU fosters tolerance amongst all the people of Europe and has contributed greatly to peace within the EU borders.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 13.39.03Tom Barrie, Owner of Currie European

As an owner of a business that has trading entities in the UK, Holland and France. I see every day the benefits of EU membership and participation. The creation of free trade ,and movement of labour has enabled the UK  to develop significant bi-lateral  business with our fellow EU members. We have seen the benefit of improved labour laws, the collective collaboration in tackling climate change.

All of us live in an environment, where we are facing Global competition and influences.  To pull away from a free trade zone is foolish  in the extreme. We are a significant net Importer and ,therefore face the risk of increasing our costs of goods. Do we really want to revert to Duty tariffs and customs clearance , which we hit all of us as , we are a consumer society. 

As with every tier of Government be it local, national or European. There are aspects that need to be improved. It is easy to overlook, what works and focus on the negative. We can only effect improvement in the EU, by participation. 

Europe is the most vibrant, culturally diverse, secure region. We need to focus on the day to day issues, not be distracted by irrational fears. Continue to campaign positively where necessary to ensure that the EU functions, as effectively as possible. Providing all of us, with the best possible platform for trade and security.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 10.02.36Niall McLean, Director Geo Rope Ltd

As EU members we have the opportunity for open links and access to the free market. As a business this means access to specialist research, development and training carried out in Europe, it also puts us in front of a bigger client base and pool of potential collaborators.

The standardisation of rules and trading environment makes trade easier. I often hear complaints of “European Rules” however after traveling and doing business widely in Europe I do not see evidence of this, either there is no such rules or we are the only ones following them.

I believe Scotland massively underuses the potential in Europe that we currently have, we’re not trading as much as we should be and haven’t even scratched the surface. It would be a real shame to never realise that potential.

I can see the bad points about the EU and believe there has been constant improvement, “Rome was not built in a day regardless of there extremely capable architects”.

I also believe strongly that we’re not making the most of the opportunities available to us and instead Scotland should be exploring the avenues boldly that the  European Union membership brings us, not shutting the doors to avenues of potential growth and our influence on the common market and the modern world.  

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 14.48.02Gillian O’Neil, Founder and CEO 29studios

EU membership is very important to our aim of supporting and developing young people into employment. Our two main methods of achieving this, through the Glasgow Guarantee and Skills Development Scotland, both receive funding from the European Structural Fund to support modern apprenticeships and training.

This funding support, channeled from the EU to worthwhile Scottish initiatives is invaluable to us for developing and training young Scots and ensuring 29studios/29steps pays the real living wage.

Our business stretches across Europe and the USA, but access to the common market certainly makes the flow of trade easy with the EU and with potential expansion plans in Croatia remaining in the EU is very important to business.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 09.20.57Rob Aberdein, Partner Aberdein Considine

For me staying in the EU is a complete ‘no brainier’. We benefit as a nation financially from being a member in terms of EU funding and wealth redistribution from the South of England to Scotland. 

We also need net migration as a country, given our decreasing population. The EU is a massive trading partner for Scotland and incredibly well disposed to ‘Brand Scotland’. 

I also take great comfort when I look at who’s leading the Remain Campaign but am deeply concerned about the profile and motivations of those at the helm of ‘Leave’. Lastly and locally, that last thing Aberdeen needs in the midst of an oil and gas downturn is the economic shock Brexit would bring… 

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 09.32.05Adam Davidson, Director BoConcept in Scotland

Every single item we sell is designed and supplied by BoConcept in Denmark. As part of the EU our admin is incredibly simple. We click a button on the customer order and three weeks or six weeks later, depending on the item, the stock arrives in our warehouse in Glasgow. In 14 years we have had one order delayed by Customs. We can operate the entire business with the full time equivalent of 2 people covering every aspect of the business administration.

Let’s cut to the chase. This EU referendum is a farce. I have tried to be even handed but it needs said. We have one group of public School boys arguing with another group of public school boys over a racist agenda entirely created by the media hype over UKIP. UKIP have been over represented in our media for years. This circus was driven by the Conservative Party running scared over the perceived threat of UKIP taking Tory votes and maybe even more Tory MP’s defecting.

The reality is, my business and I have nothing to gain and potentially loads to lose by leaving the EU, anyone who digs deep enough will discover that. I am positive there are enough intelligent people who can think for themselves left in this country. I am looking forward to Friday morning when I can put this distraction aside and get on with building a successful business.

You might also be interested in: A forced Brexit changes Scotland’s constitutional debate | The EU is a Huge Economic Opportunity for Scotland and its SMEs 

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About the author

Rhona Middler

Rhona was Business for Scotland's Engagement Executive and Events Manager.

1 Comment

  • I could not agree more with what has been said. It is a Tory leadership battle ignited by the UKIP farce. It would be a sad day for Scotland if we were to leave the EU. The EU helps spread the economy away from just the south
    of England to further North and

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