John Nelson says the prosperity of the City of London would benefit by Scotland staying in the union

Lloyd’s chairman John Nelson has urged Scots to vote against independence from the UK, warning that a yes vote in the referendum would be damaging for the City.

Nelson was speaking at Lloyd’s annual dinner. He said that he would be “extremely sad” if Scotland broke away from the UK and urged Scots to vote to stay in the union.

“It is in the interests of the entire Scottish population, and the wider British population, all 65m of us who inhabit these extraordinary islands, that the union stays together,” he said.

His warning came following comments from Goldman Sachs senior economist Kevin Daly that any split from the UK could result in a sterling crisis similar to what has happened in the eurozone.

“The most important specific risk, in our view, is that the uncertainty over whether an independent Scotland would be able to retain sterling as its currency could result in an EMU-style currency crisis occurring within the UK,” he said.

Nelson also took the opportunity to back the UK’s membership of the EU and called on the government to start an open debate on the subject.

“For Lloyd’s, and I suspect for the entire City of London, there is no doubt that our membership of the EU is an important component of London’s attraction to the worldwide financial services community,” he said.

“I am in no doubt that the prosperity of the UK, the City of London and Lloyd’s would best be served by Scotland staying in the UK and a strong UK staying in a competitive and efficient EU.”