Tom Barrie, owner of Currie European haulage business based in Dumfries, has joined the pro-independence Business for Scotland organisation.
“I am of the firm view that having our own Scottish voice at the top table in Europe can only be good for businesses like mine which operate across the EU.”
Currie European employs 250 people in Scotland and has a turnover of around £53 million a year. It has operations in Holland and France as well as Scotland and England.
Mr Barrie said: “I am worried by the rise of UKIP in the south and by David Cameron’s in/out referendum on EU membership. A no vote could pull Scotland out of Europe, which would be bad for our business.”
He dismissed claims from the Better Together campaign that Scotland would not be allowed to join a currency union with the rest of the UK and be kicked out of the EU.
Mr Barrie said:
“I am completely relaxed about this issue of currency as Currie European already trades in several countries – but it is very clear that after a Yes vote, Scotland will keep the pound and common sense will prevail. We have even had an anonymous UK minister tell the media “Of course there will be a currency union”. The Better Together campaign is bluffing.
“As for the EU, we are already a member and are EU citizens and there is no precedent for throwing out an existing member. Scotland is a net contributor to the EU with the largest oil reserves , a quarter of the renewable energy and vast fishing grounds. Of course we will remain a member – and on better terms for Scotland too! “
Mr Barrie also said he was voting Yes because he thought it was the best way to tackle poverty and inequality and protect the NHS.
He argued: “The most successful countries in the world are the same size as Scotland – they are also more equal countries with a fairer distribution of wealth.
“As a responsible business person, I think the levels of poverty in this country as part of the union are unacceptable. I also want to see our NHS remain well funded. Without independence the NHS in Scotland could be damaged by Westminster cuts.
Mr Barrie’s intervention in the Yes debate was welcomed by South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine.
Ms McAlpine said:
“Tom employs a lot of people locally and runs a cross – border business. The fact that he is voting Yes and encouraging others to do so exposes the silly scare-mongering of Better Together claims about border posts, Europe and currency.
“Tom knows that the single market in the UK and Europe will continue with independence, and he grasps the opportunity that a yes vote gives us to create jobs here in Scotland. We should also take his warning about the UK pulling Scotland out of the EU very seriously.”
“This is a very significant endorsement of Yes for Dumfries and Galloway and the whole of Scotland. Tom’s track record in business and his belief in Scotland will encourage the many people you are moving towards to Yes – to secure a better future for their children and grand-children.”
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A prominent local businessman has urged people to vote Yes because it will be better for jobs and the economy.