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RAY BOULGER: We’re better together

Robyn Hall

September 11, 2014

Campaigners have been complacent, he said, leaving first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond to pull the wool over voters’ eyes.

Boulger said: “The ‘no’ campaign has been incompetent. They have not highlighted to Scottish mortgage borrowers what impact it will have on their mortgage values.

“The cost of borrowing for the Scottish government will be higher than the rest of the UK so Scottish borrowers will have to pay more for their mortgages.”

And he added: “If the event happens the impact on the property market will be very severe. The issue is how much prices will fall, not if they fall.

“Just the prospect of a ‘yes’ vote is causing prices to stall. What would happen if there actually was a ‘yes’ vote?

“If your property values drop by 15-20% which could happen particularly in Edinburgh, it is far more relevant than having a few hundred pounds less to spend per year.”

Simon Burgess, managing director of British Money, joined Boulger in criticising the ‘no’ campaign.

“Their attitude has been completely blasé,” he said.

“This is of fundamental importance on many levels, but the British politicians have been notable by their lack of engagement. There’s been very little passion to save the union.

“Why hasn’t Cameron gone head to head with Salmond? He’s the Prime Minister of the British people, not just London.”

This week Prime Minister David Cameron finally took a principal role in ‘no’ campaign as he and Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg agreed to miss Prime Minister’s Questions to fly to Scotland.

In Edinburgh yesterday he said: “Because it is an election people think it’s like a General Election. If you are fed up with the effing Tories give them a kick.

“This is not a decision about the next five years, but the next century.

“This vote is not about whether Scotland is a nation or not, Scotland is a nation, it’s a strong, proud nation with an extraordinary history and incredibly talented people.”

David Whittaker, managing director of Mortgages for Business, also questioned the ‘no’ campaign’s leadership.

He said: “Gordon Brown should have been running the campaign.

“The only person that can pull this back is Gordon Brown – he is their man – he came down south and became Prime Minister.”

Brown himself set out on an eleventh hour tour of Scotland to visit Clydebank, Kilmarnock, Kirkcaldy, Inverness, Galashiels, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen. He was unavailable to comment.

Polls have shifted in recent months as a TNS-BMRB survey gave the ‘no’ camp a lead of 1% last week, a far cry from its lead of 13% in August.

In the latest poll released by Survation last night the ‘no’ campaign had a lead of 6%, with 48% opting to keep the union and 42% favouring independence.

Elsewhere, exit clauses are reportedly being implemented in Scottish property contracts to allow buyers to scrap deals or renegotiate prices if the ‘yes’ campaign succeeds.

Boulger said: “Aberdeen won’t be affected much, but in places like Edinburgh there are 100,000 people employed in financial services and jobs will be moved south.

“If you’ve seen what’s happened to an economy that’s dependent on financial services would you keep your business in Scotland post referendum? Of course you wouldn’t.

“The Scottish economy is more reliant on financial services than Iceland in 2008 – which went bust.

“Smaller lenders will cease to lend in Scotland so the choice will be significantly reduced.”

Both Boulger and Simon Burgess accused the ‘no’ campaign of complacency.

Burgess said: “Very few people thought there was a ‘yes’ vote, and there hasn’t been the contingency plan that they should be.”

“It’s a storm in a teacup. Things will sort itself out, but the uncertainty is bad for business.

“Edinburgh’s financial economy is crucial; it will have a devastating effect on the economy – the unemployment rate will go up.”

And Boulger added: “A couple of weeks ago people had not made plans for it – there are a lot of unknown consequences.

“Edinburgh’s financial economy is crucial; it will have a devastating effect on the economy – the unemployment rate will go up.”

David Whittaker reckoned Alex Salmond has already scored a significant victory as the three major parties this week promised to transfer “major powers” to Scotland if voters stick with the union.

He said: “The Westminster trio have made a mess of this, giving Salmond everything he wishes for without taking the financial risk.

“If he loses he has proved his point and blackmailed Westminster into getting everything he wanted.

“Heads he wins, tails he didn’t lose.”


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