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App answers sought on cross border issues

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By Fiona Reid
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App answers sought on cross border issues

SOLUTIONS are being demanded to ensure that both Scottish and English Covid tracking apps work on both side of the border.

It comes after people in Dumfries and Galloway flagged up that the Protect Scotland app doesn’t work with the English version.

And they are unable to download the English version unless they have a postcode south of the border.

It has been causing frustration among the thousands of people from this area who regularly travel into Cumbria for work, health, education, family and social reasons.

Sharing his experiences, Toby McCartney, of Eaglesfield, said: “We have the Scottish app but that doesn’t work in England and we have been rejected from the English one because we don’t have an English postcode.”

His daughters go to school in Carlisle and have activities there through the week and Toby added: “As most of our time is spent in England, it puts the kibosh on the trace and trace thing for us all in the borders.”

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth is seeking urgent answers after he was contacted by dozens of constituents on the matter.

He said: “I am very concerned about the level of confusion around which app people in my constituency should be using when they travel south of the border, we need answers as a matter of urgency.

“A number of people have told me that because they regularly go to Carlisle for example, they have downloaded the NHS Covid-19 app and have attempted to use it to record contact tracing details.

“However, when they open the app, they get to the point where a postcode is required and then are unable to proceed any further.

“We’ve been told the Protect Scotland app doesn’t work with the English version so what are people meant to do?”

He added: “With so many people in border communities travelling in normal times between Dumfries and Galloway and Cumbria every day, the UK and Scottish Governments need to understand that the decisions they both make, will impact on people living on both sides of the border.

“It seems like once again, the border regions have been completely forgotten and overlooked by both governments.”

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