More than 5,000 people have signed a petition calling for the north of England to ‘secede from the UK and join Scotland’.
A total of 5,396 people have signed a petition on Change.org in support of the north of England joining Scotland and ‘regaining control over its own destiny’.
Despite being created a year ago, during the throes of the Scottish independence campaign, the petition attracted a number of signatures following the Conservative Party’s win in last week’s general election.
The petition states:
“The deliberations in Westminster are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the north of England.
“The needs and challenges of the north cannot be understood by the endless parade of old Etonians lining the front benches of the House of Commons.
“We, the people of the north, demand that in the event that Scotland becomes independent, the border between England and the New Scotland be drawn along a line that runs between the River Dee and the mouth of The Humber.”
The border between a ‘new Scotland’ and England would see everywhere north of Sheffield joining the newly-created country.
One supporter added:
“I have more in common with the Scots, than the Etonian-led Southerners who do not care what happens in the North.”
Another pointed out that the petition could bring up the topic of increased Northern representation.
Despite being closed, the petition is still gathering signatures since last Thursday’s vote, partly thanks to the #TakeUsWithYouScotland hashtag on Twitter.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 12 May 2015
Letting Britain’s big cities develop their economies could save Britain from future economic downturns, the leader of Newcastle City Council has told MPs.
Coun Nick Forbes said the economic crash was partly due to the nation’s dependence on London, and its banking industry.
But a country with a more diverse economy and a number of successful cities would be better able to cope if there was another crisis.
Coun Forbes told the Commons Local Government Committee that major cities such as Newcastle should be able to raise far more funding locally, for example by keeping a portion of the business rates paid by employers rather than handing the entire sum to the Treasury – and use the cash to promote economic growth. But he warned there also needed to a complete rethink of the way national government redistributed cash to local authorities, so that councils with the greatest need – such as those in the North East – received more money to let them provide essential services.
Newcastle recently cut spending by £35m on top of previous cuts.
The council leader was at Westminster representing the eight “core cities” of Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. He said: “At the moment we have been absolutely ravaged by the recession.”
What Newcastle wanted was the ability to grow its own local economy rather than relying on handouts from London, he said – and argued this would make the entire UK economy more “resilient”.
“We have seen how London-centric the recession was. It was the collapse of the banking system that tipped us over the edge into it. We wouldn’t have that if we had a better settlement around the rest of the country.”
Newcastle was already proving what it could achieve with more independence by using a scheme called Tax Increment Financing, which allows it to invest cash collected from business rates in regeneration projects to attract new businesses, he said.
“We have managed to stimulate development activities on a number of key sites in the city which wouldn’t have happened otherwise but at he moment those powers are exceptions rather than a rule.
“We could do so much more as a country and as cities.”
And he urged the Committee to recommend that councils be given more powers to cut business rates and attract employers that way.
“I can see areas of Newcastle . . where you might want to give us a discount that would allow the introduction of new businesses.”
> No mention of Scottish independence, but I’m sure there will be proponents of it north of the border watching this with interest…
Source – Newcastle Journal, 11 March 2014