Letter: Return of the border raiders

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Return of the border raiders

Sir: As a North-easterner (though living, like many a Scot, in London), I fear the potential effects of Scottish devolution in the border region.

English complacency about devolution is to be found mainly in the South- east. In Northumberland, still peppered with fortified buildings from the era of border raiding, we can see the difficulties ahead - although they will surely be dealt with peacefully.

If there is a differential tax rate, with Scots paying more, who pays for the extra services needed by those who will leave Coldstream and move the quarter mile to Cornhill on Tweed across the border? Other contingencies may suck people across the border to Scotland.

The Scots look likely to get their parliament and that is right, but the Government must accelerate proposals for a regional assembly in the North-east. Such an assembly would be best placed to deal with a Scottish parliament and sort out the new relationship.

JON SUTCLIFFE

London SW16

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