On September 18, Scotland voted “No” on independence from the U.K. by a 55%-to-45% margin. The pound sterling hit a two-year high against the euro and a two-week high against the dollar on the news, while the FTSE also rose in early trading, as fears over economic chaos receded.
Businesses that had declared their willingness to leave an independent Scotland will now stay in place, with RBS and Lloyds Banking Group shares both rising in morning trading. According to the BBC, however, Lloyds has not abandoned the notion of changing its structure, with uncertainty over devolution changes a major factor. Spain’s IBEX also saw a boost, with the vote interpreted as a blow to independence dreams by Catalonia.
John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, warned that businesses would not rest easy should the issue be raised again. In a statement, he said, “Business and investment prospects across the U.K. would be deeply hurt by a Quebec-style ‘neverendum’—a lesson that politicians must heed.”
London made promises to Scotland for more powers for the Scottish parliament in Holyrood on taxes, spending and welfare to convince it to stay in the U.K. In the wake of the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron said, “We will ensure that those commitments are delivered in full.”