‘I have preference for economic stability’

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As part of our coverage in the countdown to the referendum the Arbroath Herald is gauging the opinions of local people to find out their thoughts.

This week we speak to farmer Peter Stirling, whose firm P.J. Stirling has five fruit farms and employs 35 full-time staff and more than 400 seasonal staff, to get his views on how he think the vote will go September 18.

“I think the people of Scotland will vote for keeping the union together, that’s my gut feeling,” says Mr Stirling.

“Like most business owners, I have a preference for economic stability. Most people don’t mind evolving changes but sudden, dramatic changes can be quite frightening.

“That’s the problem with the independence campaign, the big changes that would be required to facilitate an independent Scotland are undermined by the big uncertainties on how they would be delivered.”

The three main opposition parties have claimed Scotland will receive more powers in the event of a ‘No’ vote, does he think this will persuade voters to side with them?

Mr Stirling continues: “Whatever way the vote goes Scotland will still receive more devolved political powers, so something good will still come out of the process even if the country votes ‘No’.

“Even if the ‘Yes’ campaign lose the vote’ they will still have achieved something.

“I believe most business owners want to keep the status quo because of the uncertainties: Will money cost more to borrow? If we don’t have the pound then what happens next? What will happen to the funding from Europe for farming and renewable energy projects? It’s difficult to know how the landscape will look.

“People don’t mind a bit of change, change can be quite healthy in fact, but change for change’s sake... I don’t think will happen.”