Nicola Sturgeon’s post-independence plan for a ‘hard border’ between Scotland and England has been labeled a ‘smugglers’ charter’ out of fears it will cause massive disruption and jeopardize jobs.
The Scottish Prime Minister outlined the future relationship between Westminster and Edinburgh as she realizes her dream of breaking up the UK.
A Scottish government newspaper published yesterday outlined its economic plan for an independent Scotland.
The SNP leader admitted that her desire to join the EU would require border controls.
But her proposals were immediately rejected by independence opponents, who claimed they would “divide communities,” cost businesses and endanger jobs.
Concerns were also raised about her suggestion that physical checks could only take place on two of the approximately 25 crossings between England and Scotland.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has admitted border controls are needed between Scotland and England
Critics claimed the prime minister’s proposals would ‘divide communities’, cost businesses and endanger jobs
The SNP leader’s plans renewed fears of long traffic jams on the A1, pictured and the A74(M)
The Scottish Government document suggested that ‘all actual physical checks would probably only be carried out on the two main main routes between England and Scotland’
The Prime Minister has dismissed suggestions that Scots would need a passport after independence to visit relatives in England as ‘utter nonsense’.
But she admitted yesterday, if an independent Scotland joins the EU, “border arrangements will be needed to ensure continued trade in goods and services in the UK”.
Miss Sturgeon insisted this was not “insurmountable”, but acknowledged that it would require “good planning.”
The paper suggested that both the British and Scottish governments could authorize each other to carry out customs checks on their behalf, to avoid the need for two sets of checks.
The document pointed to the border between Norway and Sweden as an example to follow, as most goods traffic there “clears through customs in three to nine minutes.”
It was suggested that ‘all actual physical checks would probably only be carried out on the two main main routes between England and Scotland or at freight train terminals’.
This led to renewed fear of long traffic jams on the A74(M) and the A1.
Daniel Johnson, Scottish Labor’s financial spokesman, gave a damning verdict on the proposals.
He said: ‘This is a smuggler’s charter that could lead to checkpoints along the border. The last thing the Scots need is this manufactured chaos.’
John Lamont, Conservative MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, expressed fears about the impact of a ‘hard border’ on his constituents in the Scottish Borders.
“I remember the SNP used to see a hard border as a bad thing,” he wrote in the Scottish Daily Express.
“Now they defend it as a badge of honor, just because that happens in Scandinavia.
But the reality is even worse than they’ve suggested. The SNP plan would divide communities.
“It would be a regular hassle for people traveling just a few miles south. It would cost companies time and money every day.’
Mr Lamont added that a “hard border” would “jeopardizing jobs across borders and beyond during the cost of living crisis.
Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, described the newspaper as an “indulgent diversion” from the country’s problems.
He said: “While we face a skills shortage and an economic slowdown, the SNP is still determined to pursue a short-sighted agenda that would see us cut off trade with our closest partner.
“The Scottish government seems to have a completely confused idea of what’s best for our economy.”
But Neil Gray, the Scottish government’s European minister, today defended Miss Sturgeon’s plans for independence.
“We’ve already created three prospectus papers – more to come in the series – explaining the matter to the people of Scotland and giving them the information so they can make an informed choice,” he told Good. Tomorrow Scotland.
“It is not possible to compare the informed choice people in Scotland are going to make about independence with the underhanded case that was put before the people before the Brexit referendum.”