THE national flag of Scotland, the Saltire, was flown over Ashton Town Hall on Tuesday in support of the Council’s cross-party support for the opt-out ‘no’ vote in the country’s referendum next week.
Scotland’s population go to the polls next Thursday to vote on whether Scotland should remain with the United Kingdom and Tameside Council is adding its voice to the campaign which believes it should remain joined to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Common ground shared by both the nationalist and many in the “Better Together” camp is that the UK is over centralised and London centric. Whatever the outcome of next week’s result, more powers shaped and delivered by the Scottish parliament are set to be introduced.
Tameside Council leader Cllr Kieran Quinn believes that this is a stance that is shared by the north of England. The economy in the North West alone has a Gross Value Added contribution to the UK of some £130billion compared to the Scottish GVA of some £106 billion.
Cllr Quinn said: “I and the other leaders of the Combined Greater Manchester Authority as well as those across the North of England are determined to have an even greater say on the resources we need for our communities to prosper.
“For too long the powers that be in Westminster and Whitehall have decided that they know what is best for our localities and people, resulting in huge disparities in wealth, investment, infrastructure provision and services. This is obviously something I feel we share with Scotland during this current debate.”
He added that this economic imbalance is clearly illustrated by Treasury figures on public supported infrastructure projects. London’s per capita spend is £5,426 per resident, while in the North West it is projected at £1,248.
Cllr Quinn said: “The second and related aspect of the imbalance is in our political structures. While Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own government assemblies, ours are fragmented and un-co-ordinated. We must strengthen the voice of the North with greater co-operation between strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships. The scale and pace of City Region and area region government needs to be stepped up and a genuine connection between the electorate and local governance needs to be enhanced.”
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