Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Councils Told Time for Tartan Bonds; Important Even If Scots Vote Is 'No'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Councils Told Time for Tartan Bonds; Important Even If Scots Vote Is 'No'

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson Regional Affairs Correspondent? 0191 201 6286 ? adrian.pearson@ncjmedia.co.uk

CITY leaders have been told to work with Scotland in the run-up to the independence vote or lose out for a generation.

All 12 council leaders from Teesside to Northumberland have been presented with a detailed report setting out how the region must seize its chance now to start growing links with Scotland ahead of a vote on independence.

In areas such as rural tourism, offshore energy and the growing renewables sector, the North East has to start looking at collaboration rather than competition, bosses were warned.

Northumbria University academic professor Keith Shaw, and Jonathan Blackie, the man who was formerly the region's most senior civil servant, have produced a Borderlands report looking at what the North East and Cumbria must do to make the best of the potential for a new country or more powerful neighbour.

Earlier this year, Scottish First minister Alex Salmond told The Journal he sees the North East as "our closest friends in economic and social terms", and the region is now urged to build upon that.

He was speaking then at an event organised by South Tyneside council leader Iain Malcolm, who yesterday said councils working towards setting up a new combined authority had to act on Mr Salmond's message.

"We have to start looking north," Mr Malcolm said. "It is increasingly clear that we cannot just look to London for growth. While setting up yet another talking shop is not the answer, the councils of the region need to be working towards an annual summit with Scottish counterparts so issues can be raised with Scottish ministers."

Northumberland County Council is already looking at the potential for closer tourism links, and is set to commission its own study into the economy potential of an independent neighbour across the border. …

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