More than two-thirds of Scottish business leaders have called for a referendum on any Brexit deal, according to a new survey.
A total of 68% of directors polled at the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland’s annual conference at Gleneagles Hotel yesterday backed the call for a people’s vote.
Just over a third (35%) agreed with the statement that Boris Johnson with no EU deal would be better for Scottish businesses than Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minster and staying in the EU.
Making his first official engagement as the national director of IoD Scotland, Malcolm Cannon said: “Our members in Scotland are clear – they believe there should be another referendum once a Brexit deal has been reached.
“Currently, politicians have only considered meeting a Brexit deadline and not the wider impact that a deal will have on our economy.
“Now is not the time for ongoing infighting between the political parties, but real action that will benefit the British population and business.
“With not only a general election, but also a new Brexit extension on the horizon, it is vital that business leaders ensure their voices are heard.”
Mr Cannon said that despite the ongoing political uncertainty there was “cautious optimism” within the Scottish business community.
Almost four-fifths (79%) of directors polled said they intended to increase investment and grow their workforce over the next 12 months.
Mr Cannon said: “For the last 10 years we’ve had uncertainty.
“We’ve had the banking crisis, the recession, we’ve had austerity measures imposed, we’ve then had four general elections and two referendums and Brexit.
“Everything has conspired to remove certainty from the table and businesses like certainty – the ability to plan, the ability to forecast relies on certain elements being predictable.
“Having said that in Scotland we have the skills to overcome, to be fast on our feet to be reactive and reasonable confidence.
“The impression I get from directors the conference today is belief.”
Mr Cannon, who previously spent four years as chief executive of Cricket Scotland, said he hoped to grow the membership and influence of IoD Scotland.
This year’s conference had the theme of ‘architects of the new Scottish economy’.
Speakers at the event included Edel Harris, chief executive of Cornerstone, and David Cutter, Diageo’s president of global supply and procurement.
Charlotte Valeur, who assumed the chair of the IoD last year, said: “We need to speak with a united voice to have influence. We are focussed on doing business and need to lead the way.”