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Majority of Scottish car dealers say no to independence

Scottish voters were far more narrowly split on the issue of independence than members of the motor retail sector. Scots voted against independence, with the "No" side winning Thursday's referendum by 2,001,926 to 1,617,989 for "Yes". The national split of the vote was 55% for "No" to 45% for "Yes". However, almost three quarters of Scottish car dealers were against independence, according to a poll taken this week.

Voters were asked ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ in polling booths  and in a national survey by independent automotive research company Sewells Research & Insight, dealers were asked the same question.

Overall, 78% of dealership staff voted ‘No’ in the survey when asked ‘from a purely BUSINESS point of view, should Scotland be an independent country?’. Just 3% were undecided.

When asked ‘from your PERSONAL point of view, should Scotland be an independent country?’ a greater proportion of dealer staff wanted to see the country separate from the UK, with a quarter saying ‘Yes’, although the majority (72%)  still voted ‘No’.

Last week, franchised dealers were asked what impact they believed independence would have if the country voted ‘Yes’.

While 20% said independence would be positive for the economy, 74% said it would be negative. Furthermore, 68% said it would have a negative impact on employment overall and 66% thought it would be detrimental to their own business.

Nearly half (48%) said it would negatively affect employment levels at their dealership and 59% said it would also be damaging to their personal circumstances.

For the survey, Sewells Research & Insight spoke to more than 140 dealer staff in Scotland in companies of all sizes, with respondents ranging from board level executives including company chairman, through to sales executives.

The survey showed an independence gap between senior managers within dealerships and other staff.

While senior management staff tended to favour remaining part of the union, a much higher proportion of blue collar workers, such as sales executives, were in favour of separation from the UK. However, they were still a minority, albeit a significant one with 35% of the vote.

A spokesman for Sewells Research & Insight said: “It is clear that the majority of dealership employees are in favour of remaining part of the UK, both from a business and personal point of view. However, no matter what the result of today’s historic vote, dealers are looking for economic stability, policies that support business and long-term economic growth from future Governments, whether independent or not.”

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