At today’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee meeting, Mr McAlpine said the City of London is “far too powerful” and the impact of this was felt across the UK.
He added: “London is a suction machine, and as long as we’re tied to a purely City of London financial model of the economy it will keep sucking.”
Other witnesses giving evidence pointed to the uncertainty being caused by Westminster’s planned EU referendum, which has the potential to rip the UK out of the EU.
Institute of Directors Scotland Chairman Ian McKay said that the “vast majority of businesses would be a lot more concerned about the European referendum because of its effect on their business and their trade”.
Garry Clarke, head of policy and public affairs at the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said that a No vote left Scotland facing the prospect of an EU referendum, adding: “certainly our members would not want to, in the main, leave the EU”.
Commenting, SNP MSP Marco Biagi said:
“The disproportionate effect that London has on the UK economy as a whole is undeniable – even UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has branded London a ‘giant suction machine’ that is ‘sucking the life blood out of the rest of the country’. As Robin McAlpine stated today staying tied to the City of London means ‘it will keep sucking’.
“The Jimmy Reid Foundation’s written submission to the committee pointed out that there is ‘little evidence’ of change at UK level. Westminster has had its chance. With a Yes vote, we can make real progress toward rebalancing our economy and making Scotland fairer.
“Both the Institute of Directors and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce highlighted the uncertainty being caused by Westminster’s obsession with ripping the UK out of the EU – both pointed out the negative impact this would have on business.
“The only threat to Scotland’s EU membership comes from Westminster. With a YES vote in September, an independent Scotland will continue to be a member of the EU – making our voice heard around the top table for the first time.”