Scottish independence: 'Yes' campaign suffers another blow as banks say they will leave Scotland if it becomes independent

RBS and Lloyds reveal that they have "contingency plans" to move to England if 'Yes' vote is victorious

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The Independent Online

The campaign for Scottish independence suffered another blow on Wednesday night after two banks said they would leave Scotland if the yes campaign was victorious, while a new opinion poll gave the no vote a six-point lead.

Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax and Bank of Scotland, said it had plans to set up “new legal entities” in England if Scotland votes for independence in next week’s referendum.

A spokesman for Lloyds said the group had received a number of inquiries from concerned customers and stakeholders about its plans following the vote on September 18.

“While the scale of potential change is currently unclear, we have contingency plans in place which include the establishment of new legal entities in England,” the spokesman said.

The group added that in the event of a 'Yes' vote, there period of time in which the bank’s executives would be able to take “necessary action”, and that the move south would be a “legal procedure” and would not affect customers.

 

“There would be no immediate changes or issues which could affect our business or our customers,” the spokesman said.

“As a group we are committed to supporting our customers across Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

Royal Bank of Scotland followed suit by announcing it had similar plans to relocate to London.

A statement from the bank, which has been based in Scotland since 1727, said that in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote, “it would be necessary to re-domicile the Bank’s holding company and its primary rated operating entity to England.”

It added that the decision would have no impact on everyday banking services, and intends to continue to employ a significant level of its operations and employment in Scotland.

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The announcement comes after a new opinion poll on Scottish Independence found that the no vote has regained momentum with 53 per cent of voters backing the Better Together campaign.

The Survation poll for the Daily Record gave the pro-UK campaign a six point gap over yes.

Earlier this week surveys suggested the race was neck and neck, but the latest figures suggest that the sudden surge in backing for independence has subsided.

Additional reporting by PA

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