Proposals to forge new relationships over the Border

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A PROPOSED new partnership could see Northumberland forging closer ties to Scotland.

A recent presentation to the Association of North East Councils set out the challenges and opportunities facing the region in the evolving relationship between England and Scotland, particularly with a Scottish referendum due in 2014 that could lead to independence.

Now proposals are being discussed in Northumberland County Council for greater collaboration between local authorities north and south of the Border.

A new Borderlands project would see more co-operation between the principal authorities in Northumberland, Cumbria, Dumfries and Galloway and Borders.

The four main areas of co-operation would be in promoting economic development through partnerships on tourism, transport, renewables, oil and gas, skills and ports, creating a more effective voice and influence by lobbying Holyrood and Westminster, creating a Borderlands collaboration to secure great autonomy on spending, and sharing information to develop economic partnerships and attract investment.

Northumberland County Council Business Chairman Scott Dickinson said: “We’ve got to prepare for the forthcoming changes brought about by the Scotland Act 2012 and the referendum because whatever happens in 2014 Northumberland needs to be prepared.

“There will undoubtedly be challenges, but we can’t stand still and the proposals for greater collaboration between ourselves and Cumbria and the Scottish Border authorities is a welcome move to extend influence over changes.”