‘Yes’ vote for Scottish independence means ‘Och Aye’ for duty free

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Tomorrow’s historic vote on whether Scotland should be an independent country (Yes) or remain part of the UK (No), could have unexpected benefits for both nations’ duty free industries, writes our Glasgow correspondent Mai Sporran.

Should a majority of the approximate 4 million voters say Yes, then Scotland will become independent. In that event, huge questions arise regarding the country’s currency (it currently uses the Pound Sterling) and its membership of the European Union.

According to the BBC, the Scottish Government’s  White Paper on independence acknowledges that “negotiations” would be required and that it would be for EU member states to decide how to proceed.


[How the BBC illustrated its latest coverage]

It continues: “The process would need to be agreed. Never before has part of an EU member state become an independent country and sought to remain in the Union. There is no specific provision for this scenario in the EU Treaties.

“The Scottish government believes that membership could be negotiated in the 18 months between a Yes vote and its target date for independence in March 2016.”

If the Yes vote prevails and EU membership was either delayed or denied, Scottish airports would be able to reintroduce duty free shopping for passengers bound to European Union countries. Similarly, so would EU-based retailers serving Scotland-bound passengers.

Duty free shop chains on the Scottish and English sides of the land border between the two countries are another firm possibility.

The Moodie Blog has confirmed reports that three former World Duty Free Group, BAA and Diageo executives have formed a Duty Free Americas-like border shop company, so that they can move fast in the event of a Yes vote.

“Och aye, we plan to buy land on the A1 to open a cross-border travel retail store with outlets on either side of the border,” a well-placed source told us. “The UK shops will trade as Tartan Fettered on the English side and Sassenachs Away on the other.”

Besides core duty free items, the company plans to major on a new range of Scottish destination items, including the Rumpled Kilt Skin line of designer pyjamas; deep-fried Mars bars; Haggis-aged single malt whisky and warmed Scottish oat biscuits, which are expected to sell like hot cakes.

We’ll bring you more on this story as it happens.