We heard today, across the Scottish media, that Barclays plan to create (up to) 2 500 jobs in Glasgow. This will (may) double Barclay’s Scottish force and is, for the First minister, ‘transformational for Glasgow.’
Most commentators have mentioned lower labour costs, the skill pool and, of course, the £13 million sweetener from Scottish Enterprise/Scottish government. Douglas mentioned these but was more interested in making sure we didn’t get carried away with good news. He reminded us that it is ‘up to’ 2 500 jobs with at least some of these being transfers from London and that we should ‘treat this with caution.’ He also warned us that ‘jobs are vulnerable to being replaced by technological advances.’ So, don’t get your hopes up. We’ll still be too wee, too poor and to stupid.
However, few of the sources today mentioned the Brexit factor and it’s closely linked, Scottish Independence in the EU, factor but two did:
‘A source at the bank [Barclays] said: “Nothing is a done deal until they start moving people, but Glasgow is cost-friendly, has a good workforce – and might be in the EU when independent.”’
‘Glasgow is cost-friendly, has a good workforce – and might be in the EU when independent, staff reporters are told. Barclays’ headquarters in London could be in name only in a post-Brexit world, according to plans seen by Chief-Exec.com, which outline Glasgow as a new hub of operations. Scotland would be the obvious choice destination for transfers of jobs and decision-making if it voted again to remain in the EU. The Barclays development is significant, therefore, because it appears to see an independent Scotland in the EU as a possible option.’
Tracing the source of the quote will be no easier than finding which Amazon exec ‘predicted a riot’ post-hard-Brexit.
Not making the same specific point but also suggesting confidence in Scotland’s future, Insider had this to say:
‘Although there has been much talk of firms moving operations away from the UK ahead of or after Brexit, Scotland has seen an encouraging number of recent investments. They included Julius Baer International, which opened an office in Edinburgh in May to serve as a headquarters for its operations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England. Graeme Jones, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise said: ‘The world’s largest global wealth manager would not be opening up in Scotland unless they were highly confident about future prospects here.’.’
How things have changed since Standard Life threatened to move to England in 2014.