Contingency plans drawn up by Royal Bank of Scotland in the event of Scottish independence would have no impact on jobs or operations, according to a letter sent out to employees.
Alex Salmond claimed the announcement from the bank had been used by the UK Government as part of its political campaign.
RBS and Lloyds Banking Group have said they will register themselves in England if Scotland votes for independence in next week’s referendum.
The First Minister told BBC Radio Scotland: “I’ve just been handed the letter that the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland sent out to staff this morning and let me read you it: ‘It’s my view as chief executive that any decision to move our registered headquarters would have no impact on everyday banking services used by customers in Scotland.
“’This is a technical procedure regarding the location of our registered head office, based on our current strategy and business plan. It is not an intention to move operations or jobs’.”
The First Minister added: “The first news of this came to the BBC from a source within the UK Government, within the Treasury, not from the letter from the chief executive issued this morning which makes clear there’s no impact on operations or jobs.
“It’s part of a political campaign during this referendum campaign from the UK Government.”
Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax and Bank of Scotland, said last night it has plans in place to set up new ‘’legal entities’’ in England if Scotland votes Yes in a week’s time.
RBS, which has been based in Scotland since 1727, has also said that it would be necessary to re-domicile the Bank’s holding company and its main operating entity to England.
Meanwhile, the John Lewis Partnership issued a warning that shoppers in Scotland are likely to face higher prices if the country goes it alone.
Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said it had no plans to reduce its commercial presence north of the border, where it has nine shops, a contact centre and employs more than 3,000 people.
The latest Survation poll for the Daily Record puts support for the Union at 53% and backing for independence on 47%, when undecided voters are excluded.
We have today made a statement to the market (see below), providing information on our contingency planning in the event of a Yes vote in next week’s referendum on Scottish independence. As you will have seen over the last twenty four hours, other Scottish headquartered financial institutions have made public statements about their intentions. This served to fuel media speculation about our own plans, and in those circumstances, it became necessary for us to update the market on aspects of our contingency planning.
It is my view as Chief Executive that any decision to move our registered headquarters should have no impact on everyday banking services used by our customers in Scotland and the rest of the British Isles. This is a technical procedure regarding the location of our registered head office. It is not an intention to move operations or jobs.
Our current business in Scotland, including the personal and business bank, IT and operations, human resources and many other functions, are here because of the skills and knowledge of our people, and the sound business environment. So far, I see no reason why this would change should we implement our contingency plans.
It is always my aim to ensure we inform our staff about such issues at the earliest opportunity. I know many of you will have already heard about this first in the media. My apologies for that, on this occasion this was unavoidable.
Over the next week, and beyond, we will continue to update you whenever appropriate.