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Nicola Sturgeon warned of hard border chaos for Scotland: 'Have to build a Berlin Wall'

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A think tank warned last month that a hard border with England would be created for the first time in three centuries if an independent Scotland joined the EU. The report, from the Institute for Government, said that Scotland would become a customs and regulatory border for the EU and as a result would need to close the border with England. The move would create problems for trade as Scotland exports substantially more to the rest of the UK than to the EU. In 2018, Scotland’s exports to the UK increased by over £1billion to £51.2billion in total.

This meant that 60 percent of all Scottish exports went to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and this was more than the rest of the world combined.

Scotland’s need for close trading ties with the UK also led to concern from councillors in September last year.

Leaders of councils on both sides of the Scotland-England border have voiced concerns over the prospective threat to free travel between the two countries.

Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam said: “Cumbria and Northumberland are hugely important for the economy here, and places like Kielder Forest and Hadrian’s Wall are huge attractions for people from all over the country, and world, to come to the border country.

“There’s a huge number of people who come up from England to the borders for relaxation and tourism.”

Ms Haslam added that anyone pretending Scottish independence would be easy is living in “cuckoo land” in an apparent swipe at First Minister Sturgeon.

She said: “When you live here, you realise there is no border here. People here don’t see the border, and they certainly don’t pay attention to it.

“I think people are living in cloud-cuckoo land if they think Scotland becoming independent is an easy, straightforward process.

“It’s a very glib statement to make when there are so many economic, cultural and infrastructure links across the communities in the borders which are reliant on each other.”

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He added: “It happens in Ireland, between the Republic and Northern Ireland, due to the difference in tax, and, as in Ireland, it would be impossible to police.

“Nicola Sturgeon kept implying she would close the border in response to coronavirus, and I saw the people holding ‘keep England out of Scotland’ banners, but the reality is you couldn’t physically close that border. You’d have to build something like the Berlin Wall.

“It’s real wild country up there, with hundreds of isolated and rural crossings.”

A Scottish National Party (SNP) spokesperson responded to the claims, telling the Southern Reporter : “In regards to your other questions, the Scottish Government has no plans to close the border either now or post-independence.”



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