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Monday, 15 September 2014

Government pressure on business is "unacceptable"

The SNP is reiterating the call for full disclosure on Westminster's attempts to brief against Scotland in recent weeks - in light of claims that the UK Government's most senior civil servant Sir Jeremy Heywood has been pressurising business chiefs to speak out against a Yes vote.

Speaking on the Today Programme this morning, Financial Times editor Lionel Barber said business leaders hadn't wanted to get involved in politics, but as polling day draws closer and the polls tighten: "Mr Cameron and the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has been on the phone saying, ‘will you please speak up?'"

When asked if he knew that was the case, Mr Barber replied: "We know they have, we know they have."

Commenting on the developments, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "If true, the allegation that Sir Jeremy Heywood - Westminster's most senior civil servant - is also involved in orchestrating scare stories is completely unacceptable. It is also further proof of the anti-independence plotting going on at senior levels of the UK Government. As a matter of the utmost urgency, the UK Government must fully disclose any involvement of the Treasury, civil servants and any other figures and departments involved before the people of Scotland head to the polls on Thursday.

"It is clear that David Cameron's fingerprints are all over the scare stories we have seen in the past days and weeks. And just yesterday it was revealed that the UK Treasury had sent unsolicited briefing to the BBC on RBS - the leaking of market sensitive information is a serious matter and the people of Scotland deserve clarity about the role the Treasury played in this. The First Minister has asked for an inquiry into this matter and the UK Government must comply.

"The people of Scotland will not be bullied by the Westminster Tory government as it attempts to spread fear. With recent polling showing more and more people are waking up to the opportunities a Yes vote will bring we are confident that on Thursday they will seize the opportunity a Yes vote offers to build a better, fairer Scotland."