Engineering boss voices independence vote concerns
Published: 2nd Mar 2012 01:06:27
The chief of an engineering industry body has added his voice to concerns regarding the timing of the Scottish independence referendum.
Dr Peter Hughes, the chief executive of Scottish Engineering, raised the matter in the latest issue of the group's quarterly review.
In a survey to which 100 of the group's members responded, 72% called for the referendum to be held "much earlier".
22% preferred Autumn 2014, as set out by the Scottish Government.
The UK Government has argued that the ballot could be held in Autumn 2013.
Dr Hughes said: "A survey of our members has indicated that the vast majority are keen to see a speedy resolution with regard to the independence referendum.
"As we all know, uncertainty can seriously undermine the confidence of companies growing and developing their business both at home and abroad.
"As yet we have not seriously entered the well-informed debate phase on the question of independence.
We have modest hopes for continuing success based on the forecasts for both UK and export orders which are even more positive”
"It is important that our politicians start to answer the key questions which we have been asking rather than indulge in political rhetoric which does nothing to advance our understanding of the key elements involved."
The comments on independence follow interventions by power utility SSE, formerly Scottish and Southern Energy, the chief executive of Scottish-based engineering firm Weir Group and Keith Miller of the Miller Group.
All said they were concerned about uncertainty caused by the independence referendum.
But Gnacio Galan, Chairman of Iberdrola - the parent company of Scottish Power, said he was unconcerned about the issue.
Dr Hughes's comments were part of a wider look at industry performance, which he said had proved to be "more resilient than many people expected".
He described a "positive situation" for orders and recruitment, and highlighted strong overall optimism.
Dr Hughes said: "In the last quarter of last year we reported that small companies appeared to be bearing the brunt of the economic chill, but their figures have improved and now medium-sized companies are really forging ahead.
"We have modest hopes for continuing success based on the forecasts for both UK and export orders which are even more positive."
The figures were welcomed by the Scottish government.
A spokesperson said: "In the face of severe cuts from Westminster, this Government continues to use every lever available to support Scottish businesses, secure new investment and create and safeguard jobs.
At 08:00:54 in EnglandAbout 400 jobs are to be created across Teesside and North Yorkshire thanks to £30m of investment from Quorn Foods.
At 07:59:42 in Northern IrelandAn independent ambulance service has said lives are at risk after £10,000 worth of equipment was stolen from one of its vehicles in Londonderry.
At 07:57:44 in WorldThe South Korean school devastated by the loss of many of its students in a ferry disaster last week has started to hold classes again.
At 07:51:52 in EnglandPart of the M42 in the West Midlands has been closed after a lorry overturned, spilling diesel on to the motorway.
At 07:46:39 in WalesThe One Show's Alex Jones, Olympic athlete Iwan Thomas and tenor and Radio Wales presenter Wynne Evans are among the baton bearers for the Wales leg of the of the Commonwealth Games build up.
At 07:44:08 in SportFootball Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford hopes the Uefa Super Cup will act as a platform in Cardiff's bid to be one of the host cities for Euro 2020.
At 07:38:26 in WorldThree foreigners have been shot dead by a security guard at a hospital in the Afghan capital, Kabul, officials say.
At 07:33:32 in BusinessSouth Korea's economy grew more than forecast in the first quarter, helped by a jump in construction and exports.
At 07:33:28 in SportTrainer Gary Lockett says talks have begun about a rematch between Enzo Maccarinelli and WBA light-heavyweight champion Jurgen Braehmer.
At 07:29:11 in EnglandPolice are continuing to question a 42-year-old woman suspected of murdering three of her children in south-west London.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Engineering boss voices independence vote concerns [Online] (Updated 2nd Mar 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1415178/Engineering-boss-voices-independence-vote-concerns [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
Cult comic character Frank Sidebottom has inspired a film starring Michael Fassbender, while a documentary and biography are also in the works. Four years after his creator Chris Sievey died, why is Frank's legend growing and who was the man behind the mask?
The One Show's Alex Jones, Olympic athlete Iwan Thomas and tenor and Radio Wales presenter Wynne Evans are among the baton bearers for the Wales leg of the of the Commonwealth Games build up.
Shares in Qualcomm, one of the world's biggest chipmakers, fell 5% in after hours trading as it issued a weaker than expected growth outlook.
The Labour Party is looking to sever its links with the troubled Co-op Bank, bringing to an end one of the oldest political partnerships in UK.
An independent ambulance service has said lives are at risk after £10,000 worth of equipment was stolen from one of its vehicles in Londonderry.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com