MP says Scottish independence will be bad for North East business

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SCOTTISH independence will have a major detrimental impact on the region if it goes ahead, a local MP fears.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson was one of 10 North-East politicians who voiced their fears of plans to end England’s and Scotland’s political union during a debate in Westminster Hall yesterday called Future of Scotland and North East England post-2014.

The Labour MP says if Scotland votes “yes” in the referendum, “there would be repercussions for the North East of England”.

He has voiced fears about there being an international border between Scotland and England and the impact of 400,000 people either side of the border who cross it for work, meaning they would have to carry passports.

Mr Wilson also says if Scotland got independence and reduced air passenger duty rates, this could be a disaster for Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley airports.

He also says it could impact on jobs if businesses relocate to Scotland if there is competitive tax rates.

Mr Wilson said: “The North-East MPs in the debate were all saying the same thing – they thought an independent Scotland would be bad for Scotland and bad for North-East England.”

He said there would be border controls because Scotland would no longer be part of the European Union (EU) or the common travelling area which the UK is part of.

He said if Scotland cut its air passenger duty, the North-East’s airports would not be able to compete.

Expressing concerns on the impact on business, he said: “There could also be an impact on jobs going forward. If there is a border and if there’s competitive tax rates, companies might decide to invest and build a factory in Scotland rather than the North East of England, and they have a development agency up there while we no longer have one.

“Scotland are asking to keep the pound and keep The Queen as Head of State and they are saying they want to keep the BBC.

“They are wanting to stay in the EU and NATO, but it seems to me they have all that now, it’s called the UK.

“So I can’t see the point of them wanting to seek independence.

“It could cause major disruption and not just to the North East of England but to Scotland.”

Ten North-East MPs spoke during the debate, while Angus McNeill MP, of the Scottish National Party made the case for independence, despite several Scottish MPs favouring staying in the UK.

“We want to see greater co-operation with Scotland,” he added.