Borders MP Michael Moore’s ‘Road to Referendum’ rolled into Coldstream last week, to outline the reasons why Scotland would be better off being part of the UK.
Immigration, border controls, personal finance, pensions, currency and disaffection with Westminster were on the agenda of those attending the meeting who were seeking answers to these issues before making up their minds how to vote in September’s independence referendum.
“People here understand having a natural border but it would be ludicrous to have cross border controls,” said Mr Moore.
However, Scotland’s First Minister has indicated that an independent Scotland would have higher immigration levels than the UK, which Mr Moore said would mean “we would need some way of making sure that people coming into Scotland don’t slip across the border into England.
The UK is outside the EU’s Schengen agreement, so UK citizens have to show their passports when entering other EU countries. If an independent Scotland requested entry into the EU it would need to sign up to the Schengen agreement, as all new member countries need to do, which would mean it would border a country (England) outside the Schengen agreement area.
Other issues raised included taxation on people’s wages who work on one side of the border and live on the other (taxation would be in their country of residence) and local businesses who have customers on both sides of the border who would need any currency union being agreed sooner rather than later.
Personal finances were of great concern to some of the audience. One lady asking: “How will our investments etc be affected because we won’t be in the UK after independence? I have asked the bank and building society and they both say they don’t know.
“Not knowing the implications for our savings and pensions is worrying.”
Trying to answer this issue Mr Moore said:”Future tax treatment of ISAs will be in the hands of an independent Scotland but people will not be disadvantaged in their existing savings. What happens to future savings is up for debate.”
“This is a genuinely historic moment,” concluded Mr Moore. “It’s irreversible - there is a lot at stake.”
Mr Moore believes Scotland would have the best of both worlds by remaining within the UK but with increased powers saying: “The political momentum is that more devolution will come.”