News Column

Scottish SMEs Divided on Independence

Jul 1 2013 12:00AM

Marketwire

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- 07/01/13 -- Research from AXA Business Insurance reveals that just over half of SMEs in Scotland are in favour of independence, in contrast to those across the rest of the UK who are less enthusiastic.

The study, which questioned around 500 SMEs across the UK, revealed that one in four (25 per cent) of all those questioned believe that independence would be a good thing for small businesses in Scotland, while 45 per cent believe it would not. The remaining 30 per cent are not sure either way.

However, when it comes to businesses based in Scotland, the number in favour of independence doubles to 52 per cent, while only one in three feel independence would not be a good thing for SMEs.

South of the border, in England, 43 per cent of SMEs think independence would not be a good thing for their contemporaries in Scotland, while in Wales this number is 59 per cent.

The study also revealed that Scottish SMEs are more negative about current government spending cuts than SMEs based in England, although those in Wales are the most unhappy about the effect these may have on their business.

However, a larger percentage of SMEs in Scotland than in England feel that the current low interest rates provide a positive outlook for their business.

The results come on the back of the AXA Optimism Index which last week revealed that, while levels of optimism were riding high right across the UK, SMEs in Scotland were the most upbeat about their futures.

Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance says: "It is clear from our research that this is an issue that is very much front of mind for small businesses.

"SMEs have a lot of business critical issues to manage at the moment and the uncertainty around a possible independent Scotland will only add to those concerns.

"Regardless of the outcome of the vote, it is important that small businesses are looking at every eventuality and ensuring that their business is prepared for the vote to go either way."

Notes to Editors

Research was carried out on-line in June 2013 among 500 SME business owners or decision makers in the UK.

About AXA Business Insurance

AXA Business Insurance is part of AXA Insurance UK plc, which belongs to the AXA group of companies. With us, you choose the business insurance that's right for you. We offer public liability, employers' liability and professional indemnity insurance online to start ups, sole traders, self-employed people and small businesses. In addition we offer van insurance and landlord insurance. AXA Business Insurance also runs Business Guardian Angel which provides resources to help protect and grow small businesses.

You can follow AXA Business Insurance on Twitter @AXAbizteam, for business insurance help, and @AXABizAngel, for the latest business news. You'll also find AXA Business Insurance on Google+ and Facebook - and you can watch expert guides and business case studies on the AXA Business Insurance YouTube channel.

About AXA

The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with more than 163,000 employees serving 102 million clients in 57 countries. In 2012, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 90.1 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 4.3 billion. AXA had Euro 1,116 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2012.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth, AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Direct and Partnerships, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 12,000 staff in the UK.

The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 - Bloomberg: CS FP - Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA's American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme's Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.



Contacts:
AXA Business Insurance press office
Miranda Seymour
Work: 0208 246 6853 or Mobile: 07966 549413





Source: Marketwire


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