Jobs warning for North East over Scottish independence

Hexham MP Guy Opperman warns Scottish independence could make trade worse with Scotland

Scott Heppell/PA Wire Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, gives a speech in Edinburgh
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, gives a speech in Edinburgh

A jobs warning has been sounded as the region is told of the risk of Scottish independence.

As Chancellor George Osborne set out why the UK would not let a breakaway Scotland keep the pound, Hexham MP Guy Opperman has warned of the regional impact of a new international border on the doorsteps of Northumberland.

The Conservative MP said: “If keeping the pound would not be possible as part of a formal sterling currency union; if the SNP no longer wishes to join the euro, which one can see; and if there is no prospect of an independent country with border control—my constituents are somewhat concerned that there might be a rerun of Hadrian’s wall—where are we?”

He said the situation in Scotland was clearly of concern to the North East, adding: “I am speaking as an MP whose area has a border that divides Scotland and England—my local businesses, the North East chamber of commerce and the local authorities have all indicated that there would be a negative impact on jobs, growth and the development of our respective economies in Scotland and England were the referendum to go ahead.”

Hexham MP Guy Opperman
Hexham MP Guy Opperman
 

He told MPs: “I speak as a Brit, a mongrel Englishman, a lover of Scotland and an MP whose constituency borders Scotland. Were there to be Scottish independence, I have no doubt that tourism and trade would continue, but it would be naive not to accept that trade on a cross-border basis would unquestionably be affected.

“That is not some Conservative Member of Parliament speaking; that is the opinion of the chambers of commerce, local authorities and business groups I have spoken to on both sides of the border.”

In Edinburgh yesterday the Chancellor ruled out a currency union with an independent Scotland after “strong” advice from the Treasury’s leading official, which was published.

Sir Nicholas Macpherson said that unions are “fraught with difficulty” and raised serious concerns about the Scottish Government’s commitment to making it work. Scotland’s banking sector is too big in relation to national income, the UK could end up bailing the country out.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer