Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

More Powers for Scots Could Mean Rethink on How the North Is Run

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

More Powers for Scots Could Mean Rethink on How the North Is Run

Article excerpt

Byline: Ruth Lognonne Reporter

HOME rule for Scotland should prompt a fundamental rethink in how the North is governed, regional leaders said last night.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown announced his cross-party package of measures to save the Union on Monday, giving Scotland greater control over spending, welfare and taxation in the event of a No vote in next week's referendum.

However, many of the region's leaders say Scottish 'home rule' would only exacerbate the region's need for a more federal system.

Newcastle peer Lord John Shipley says a narrow No vote would fast become "a race to the bottom" between Scotland and the English regions.

"I'm not in favour of Scotland controlling its own rate of corporation tax," he said.

"I'm in favour of a standard UK rate on air passenger duty and standard licensing rates on alcohol.

"If Scotland has its own bespoke tax rates we stand to lose out by our very location. Inward investors would likely look beyond the Border.

"I fully support a federal Britain having long believed in home rule for Scotland but this implies a new structure for England and the time has come to deliver this.

"Under devo max Scotland gets much more control over taxation and spending and we must examine the distribution of public spending across the whole of the UK, which is what I want to see in the event of a No vote."

Ross Smith, director of policy at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said businesses need to know just how flexible Scotland's taxation rates will be if the region is to remain competitive.

"If Scotland has the scope to vary taxes that could put the country in a very different competitive position compared to the North East.

"A lot of our policies are set by London.

This will place Scotland in an advantageous position if they get more flexibility over taxation and spending.

"The concerns of businesses in the North East is what's the competitiveness of the North East compared to Scotland? …

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