Phil Wilson raises alarm over potential rewards for Scottish "No" vote

Darlington and Stockton Times: Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson

SCOTLAND must not enjoy extra powers as a reward for a ‘No’ to independence without further devolution to the North-East, an MP says today (Tuesday, March 4).

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson will raise the alarm over cross-party moves to promise extra responsibilities to Edinburgh, to try to erode support for a ‘Yes’ vote.

And he will urge his own Labour colleagues in Scotland to step back, saying: “Labour is a national party – not a nationalist party. Helping people shouldn’t stop at the border.”

The call, to be made in a Commons debate, comes amid growing Labour unease about a package to be unveiled by the party’s own Devolution Commission, later this month.

Scottish Labour is poised to call for key tax and welfare powers to go to Holyrood, to make it responsible for 40 per cent of the money it spends – up from 12 per cent at present.

The Scottish Parliament would take full control of income tax raised north of the Border, including, possibly, to vary the rate for each individual tax band.

Yet it would continue to receive a £750m-a-year ‘top up’, over and above the £4.25bn that income tax raises, through the block grant from Westminster.

Air passenger duty, vehicle excise duties and back-to-work schemes could all be devolved – as well as housing benefit, allowing Holyrood to scrap the bedroom tax.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Mr Wilson pointed to concerns over:

* The possibility of Edinburgh being able to vary income tax and corporation tax rates.

* The threat to North-East airports from cuts to air passenger duty in Scotland – while similar powers were denied south of the border.

* The muscle of the Scottish Enterprise Agency – two years after the axing of One North East Development Agency and others in England.

Mr Wilson said: “The North-East is the region most affected by the independence debate, because we are the closest to Scotland and have a shared border.

“If Scotland cuts air passenger duty, that will have an impact on our two airports – especially Newcastle. I want to see regional variations allowed in England.

“We must look at the consequences of any further devolution to Holyrood on the rest of the country.

“What I’m saying to my colleagues in Scotland is that Labour is a national party – not a nationalist party. Helping people shouldn’t stop at the border.”

The Sedgefield MP said he believed most North-East people wanted a ‘No’ vote, adding: “That’s partly because of the consequences for our region if Scots vote ‘Yes’, but also because they genuinely believe we are better together.”

The Devolution Commission’s tax proposals have even sparked anger among some Scottish Labour MPs, ahead of their unveiling on March 21.

A spokesman for SNP Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed there was a “civil war” in Labour, adding: “That leaves a ‘Yes’ vote as the only option on the table.”

Comments (3)

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10:37am Tue 4 Mar 14

MSG says...

Don't trust Labour over this issue. They are the party that tried and failed to break up England with their regionalisation plan. The North East voted a resounding NO and put an end to it.
The reason Labour needs Scotland in the UK is that without these scottish Labour MP's then England would be a Conservative party stronghold. That is until UKIP destroys the Tories !
Scotland will not break away. the unionists, loyalists and Orange Lodges in the West of Scotland will make sure of that !
Don't trust Labour over this issue. They are the party that tried and failed to break up England with their regionalisation plan. The North East voted a resounding NO and put an end to it. The reason Labour needs Scotland in the UK is that without these scottish Labour MP's then England would be a Conservative party stronghold. That is until UKIP destroys the Tories ! Scotland will not break away. the unionists, loyalists and Orange Lodges in the West of Scotland will make sure of that ! MSG
  • Score: 4

11:00am Tue 4 Mar 14

ian923 says...

Scotland gets more than enough from us at present. To get any more by voting to stay in the UK would be insulting. If they vote to leave the UK they should TOTALLY fund themselves and receive nothing from us.
Scotland gets more than enough from us at present. To get any more by voting to stay in the UK would be insulting. If they vote to leave the UK they should TOTALLY fund themselves and receive nothing from us. ian923
  • Score: 6

4:08pm Wed 5 Mar 14

Northern City girl says...

This is exactly what I said Salmond was after. He knew his chances were slim, but either way he knew he knew he was in a win, win situation. A No vote wil just result in the Scots getting something to soften the blow. We should make it plain, it's stay with the same conditions the English get or leave and go on your own. The English tax payers are not going to put up with them getting even more than they do now.
This is exactly what I said Salmond was after. He knew his chances were slim, but either way he knew he knew he was in a win, win situation. A No vote wil just result in the Scots getting something to soften the blow. We should make it plain, it's stay with the same conditions the English get or leave and go on your own. The English tax payers are not going to put up with them getting even more than they do now. Northern City girl
  • Score: 0

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