SNP pushing for cross-border council initiative

Alex Salmond was approached by members of BBC's 'Just a Minute' programme and given an England football shirt with his name on the back. First Minister Alex Salmond was in Hawick today visiting the bust of Bill McLaren to announce that Bill McLaren Park Ltd has been granted �77,000 towards state of the art tennis courts.
Alex Salmond was approached by members of BBC's 'Just a Minute' programme and given an England football shirt with his name on the back. First Minister Alex Salmond was in Hawick today visiting the bust of Bill McLaren to announce that Bill McLaren Park Ltd has been granted �77,000 towards state of the art tennis courts.

The First Minister Alex Salmond led a string of cabinet ministers on a visit to the Borders last week, where they pushed the idea of a ‘Borderlands’ initiative for regional councils.

Scottish Ministers jumped at the chance to propose stronger cross-border relationships between Scottish and English local councils.

Local government minister Derek Mackay said that five local authorities had agreed in principal to “forge new alliances to improve existing business, tourism and transport links and opportunities.”

He added that: “An economically stronger Scotland would be a major boost for our close neighbours in the north of England and we want to work with local authorities and their partners to help them meet the needs of their communities, improve business, transport and tourism and make their local areas better places to live.

“The areas share a common history and common interests with many people travelling across the border to live and work.”

The Association of North East Councils in England released a report in July suggesting that northern English councils may need to collaborate far more effectively and closely with their Scottish neighbours.

This view is likely to become more popular should Scotland vote ‘Yes’ in next year’s independence referendum, leading to a projected increase in economic power and political independence.

Mackay said future meetings would cover five of the councils identified by the report, including the Scottish Borders and Northumberland.