Business will benefit from Scottish independence: Salmond

Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:56pm EDT
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By Ronald Grover

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. companies looking to move operations to Scotland would see a reduction in taxes if Scots approve a referendum, now scheduled for autumn 2014, to secure independence from Britain, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said on Sunday.

An independent Scotland would reduced the current 23 percent U.K. corporate tax to 20 percent, Salmond, the leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), said in an interview in Los Angeles, where he is set to start a four-day trade mission aimed at luring California companies.

The country, which Salmond said would gain a large share of the rich North Sea oil revenues after a split, already offers tax relief of as much as 100 percent to small businesses to encourage investment.

"We will gain more in investment and employment than we'd lose in tax receipts," said Salmond, a former economist with the Royal Bank of Scotland. "We're much more sympathetic to business than Westminster."

The SNP, the devolved government's ruling party, wants to hold the referendum on ending a 300-year union with England in the autumn of 2014. But Britain's Conservative Party-led coalition government has pushed for an earlier vote, warning that any prolonged uncertainty would deter investors and harm the economy.


The Scottish Development International agency, which organized the trip, has targeted more than 70 California companies it will encourage to build or expand operations in their country, including Apple (AAPL.O: Quote), Chevron (CVX.N: Quote) and Yahoo (CVX.N: Quote).

Salmond wrote letters to each company, and while in California will meet with executives of LifeScan Inc, a Milpitas, California-based company with a plant in Scotland that manufactures glucose test strips, according to SDI.   Continued...