Business for Scotland

Business for Scotland
Formation 2012
Focus Scottish prosperity
Key people
Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, Richard Arkless, Tony Banks, Graeme McCormick, Ian McDougall, Gillian O'Neill, Rob Aberdein, Jil Murphy, Donald Maclean, Kenny Anderson, Michelle Rodger, Michelle Thomson, David Cairns, Sandy Adam
Mission 'To champion progress towards the creation of a Scottish society and business community that provides greater opportunities for shared prosperity'

Business for Scotland is a business network and business and economic policy think tank which seeks to give a voice to businesspeople who support Scottish independence.[1]


Business for Scotland was founded by six Scottish business owners and directors, and generated over 250 members by word-of-mouth prior to the launch of its website. The organisation's membership had risen to 350 by the time of its official launch in May 2013, where it was publicly backed by Falklands War veteran and Scottish entrepreneur, Tony Banks.[2][3] Business for Scotland membership at the time of the referendum was approximately 3,000.

Prominent Business People

Tony Banks (Balhousie Care Group), Graeme McCormick (Conveyancing Direct), Ian McDougall (McDougall Johnstone/ The Glasgow Distillery), Gillian O'Neill (29 Studios), Rob Aberdein (Aberdein Considine), Jil Murphy (Thin Red Line/ Head of BfS Edinburgh), Donald Maclean (Business Cost Consultants), Kenny Anderson (Anderson Construction), Michelle Rodger (Tartan Cat/ Head of BfS Glasgow), David Cairns (PrismTech/ Head of BfS Perth), Sandy Adam (Springfield Properties), Brian Souter (Souter Investments). Jim Mather, who was a member of the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish National Party (SNP) between 2003 and 2011, and served as Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism under the 2007-11 SNP government, was a director at the organisation.[4][5]

Scottish Referendum

Business for Scotland Ltd registered with the Electoral Commission as a "permitted participant" on the Yes side in the Scottish independence referendum, 2014.[6] It spent £143,027 campaigning at the independence referendum[7] making it the largest spender of the all the registered participant groups. After the referendum it was revealed that Business for Scotland received a £100,000 donation from Stagecoach founder Brain Souter.

The Founder and Chief Executive of the organisation, and registered responsible person with the electoral commission was Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp. The organisation was chaired during the referendum by Tony Banks. The former SNP MP Michelle Thomson held the renumerated position of Managing Director for 6 months before being moved from operational duties to media and presentation duties. It was alleged in 2015 that under instruction from Peter Murrell, chief executive of the Scottish National Party (and husband of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon), Thomson had been stripped of her role as a paid consultant at Business for Scotland some months before the referendum. Business for Scotland also had Thomson increase her press and debating duties and allowed her to maintain the title Managing Director for spokesperson duties.

Pro Unionist blogger Kevin Hague put a complaint in to the Electoral Commission to consider whether the SNP and Business for Scotland had worked together during the Scottish referendum.[8] The Electoral Commission "found no evidence during its assessment that the SNP and BFS worked together" and consequently stated there was no need to open a full investigation into the allegations.[9] This was reported in the Herald that the Electoral Commission gave the accusations extremely short shrift.


By March 2014, membership of the organisation was claimed to be in excess of 1300.[10] As of November 2015 the membership of the organisation is claimed to be 4,000.

Company Formation

Business for Scotland, SC430989, was first registered on 23 August 2012 by a sole director named as Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp. It is registered as a private, limited by guarantee, company, with no shareholdings.

See also


  1. Our Goal, 14 May 2013
  2. "Business for Scotland independence group launches". The Scotsman. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  3. "Scottish referendum: Business leaders join new pro-independence group". BBC News. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2015-02-03. CBI, accessed 3 February 2015
  5. CIFAL, accessed 3 February 2015
  6. FoI response from Electoral Commission
  7. ["Electoral Commission publishes first details of spending by campaigners at the Scottish independence referendum" Electoral Commission news release published 3 February 2015
  8. Sanderson, Daniel. "Electoral Commission to look at claims SNP broke indyref spending rules". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  9. "Electoral Commission concludes assessment of allegations against Business for Scotland and the Scottish National Party". Electoral Commission. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2014-03-02., accessed 1 March 2014

External links

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