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More than four out of five businesses outside Scotland want it to remain in the UK, but most also want changes to how public spending is shared out, research has found.

A survey of 2,400 member companies of the British Chambers of Commerce in England, Wales and Northern Ireland found that 85 per cent wanted Scotland to remain in UK in this autumn’s referendum, while only 11 per cent thought it should be independent.

Even if Scotland stays in UK, only a quarter thought the Scottish parliament should have more power: 49 per cent said it should stay the same and 21 per cent said it should have less power.

Nearly two-thirds thought that public spending, allocated to the UK’s four nations via the Barnett formula established in the 1970s, should be reformed in the event of a No vote.

Current arrangements led to Scotland getting 19 per cent more public expenditure per head than England and nearly 4 per cent more than Wales in 2011-12, but Prime Minister David Cameron’s UK government has deferred any reform until after the referendum.

If Scotland votes for independence, companies’ main concerns are the cost of cross-border trading and currency arrangements.

Just over a third of respondents said a formal currency union would be in UK’s best interests, while more than a quarter said Scotland should create its own currency, 18 per cent thought it should join the euro and 8 per cent thought it should retain sterling but without a currency union.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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