The Big Question – FDs snub devolution

UK finance directors have delivered a huge snub to devolution in Scotland and Wales, with most saying that the biggest constitutional change for centuries is, at best, irrelevant to their business.

The first elections for the Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly are due in May. But of the Scottish FDs questioned in this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel The Big Question, a paltry 13% predicted devolution would boost their business. The figure was higher in Wales, at 26%.

The growing importance of European – not just UK – markets was the main reason given to explain the pessimism.

Desmond Martin, FD of Porcelanosa, the Edinburgh-based tile manufacturer said: ‘We are a European company and it won’t affect our angle.’

One Welsh FD said: ‘Devolution brings additional bureaucracy and administration. The final nail in the coffin will be if the Welsh assembly ever gets tax-raising powers.’

Some FDs, however, looked forward to devolution. George Sutherland of the University of Edinburgh said: ‘A Scottish parliament will better appreciate the attitude to education in Scotland. Hopefully that will translate to better funding.’

Related reading