Will we pay for Thames barrier? Yes or No – You Decide

Will Scottish taxpayers have to stump up for the Thames Barrier?  Aileen Campbell and David Mundell answer our reader's question.
Will Scottish taxpayers have to stump up for the Thames Barrier? Aileen Campbell and David Mundell answer our reader's question.
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The fourth question from the Carluke and Lanark Gazette’s Independence Debate will be answered by Clydesdale MSP Aileen Campbell and Clydesdale MP David Mundell.

Aileen and David kindly agreed to debate the case for Yes and No at the Gazette’s Independence Debate in Lanark Memorial Hall on May 26.

They were only too happy to answers questions posed by our readers that we couldn’t quite get through on the night, thanks to a heated meeting which 420 people attended!

So, just a matter of hours before Carluke and Lanark Gazette readers go to the polls to decide on independence, we’re bringing you their responses.

Each hour on the hour, between 8am and 10pm today, we’ll post one of the answers to a question posed by a Gazette reader.

For each question posed, we will give one opinion from the Yes camp and one from the No camp.

The fourth question, with answers from Aileen and David, asks whether Scotland will have to pay for England’s flood defences in the event of a No vote.

Question: In light of the recent flooding in the Thames Estuary and other regions in England there has been increasing pressure to bring forward the construction of a second Thames barrier at a cost of tens of billions of pounds. When this is added to flood damage costs that are running in excess of £1.1 billion annually and the increasing costs of coastal defences in England, the sum in the coming decades will be colossal and increasing, as southern England continually sinks and sea levels continue to rise. In the event of a No vote, what will be the cost to the Scottish taxpayer or alternatively, how much of Scotland’s oil revenues will be needed to pay for England’s flood defences?

Aileen Campbell, Yes campaign: The flooding we saw in England was heart-breaking, with a great deal of criticism levelled at the UK Government’s handling of it. We should not forget that, as with many policy areas, people across the UK feel that action on flooding falls particularly short when it affects communities outside south-east England. Regardless of the outcome of September’s referendum, flooding and climate will remain big challenges. A Yes vote, however, will guarantee that Scotland will be able to access and direct its own resources to our nation’s particular priorities. That is in stark contrast to what we have at the moment, which sees Scotland getting less back from the UK coffers than it puts in. Scotland will always stand ready to help others who require assistance. With the expertise we have in Scotland, I am sure an independent Scotland will help and assist our friends in England and across these islands during pressing times of need.

David Mundell, No campaign: This question is not directly related to the independence debate. Contrary to what the nationalists suggest, Scotland receives a good deal in terms of public spending. New financial analysis from HM Treasury shows that every one of us in Scotland will be £1,400 better off every year staying part of the UK than we would be if we voted for independence.