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Party switch councillor reveals indy concerns

By Fiona Reid
Party switch councillor reveals indy concerns

A COUNCILLOR who has switched from the SNP to the Conservatives says his former party has “changed dramatically”.

And he claims independence would mean controls on the border, tax rises and cuts in public spending.

Mid and Upper Nithsdale member Andrew Wood, right, had been a member of the SNP for over 20 years, in favour of an independent Scotland, before becoming disillusioned and changing sides.

Explaining his recent decision, Cllr Wood said: “Yes, any nation can operate an independent nation, but it is about what kind of nation we want.”

He highlighted Scotland’s seven per cent deficit and says it will be a “major stumbling block” for rejoining the EU, adding: “In recent years Scotland has only managed to generate eight per cent of the UK’s total revenues from taxes (of which Scotland is the highest taxed part of the UK) and oil, however we benefited from 9.3 per cent of the UK’s total spending on public services such as the NHS, schools and pensions, so let’s be honest, in that reducing such a deficit requires more tax rises and greater public spending cuts.

“I know many SNP members will not like to read the truth, but at present Scotland is benefiting financially from being in the UK.”

He urged SNP supporters to properly consider his points, adding: “People must ensure that this is not about running away from issues or blaming others.

“I would hope that those supporting or considering supporting the SNP will take this as a serious wake-up call.”

He added: “The SNP has changed dramatically since the last referendum on independence, with a major influx of disenfranchised Labour supporters, plus Yes campaigners. The SNP is no longer a slightly left of centre party but a far-left extremist movement that is buying votes by giving out freebies, passing legislation that gives greater state control while curtailing free speech, misleading a membership in the belief that Scotland can re-join the EU, and regain our fishing rights offering a wealthy and prosperous outcome.”

The councillor revealed he always hoped that independence would strengthen Scotland’s working partnership with the rest of the UK, but has now revised that view: “With Covid-19, the most simplistic of national UK cooperation on health and wellbeing has proven to be impossible, so where would that leave us on national security, immigration and border controls?,” he said.

“Agriculture could well lose its largest market within England and those working north and south of the border would have border controls, that is without doubt.”

And he is concerned at the government’s track record, saying: “Consider the record and absolute failure of this SNP Government on business, with nationalising Prestwick costing £millions year on year; ship building also nationalised and now in liquidation; trams and hospital in Edinburgh costing three times original budget nor delivered within agreed timescale; South of Scotland marginalised and unemployment in total meltdown.”

He wants to see a change of government in Scotland and believes his new party are the only viable alternative: “The Conservatives can offer a more balanced and reasoned approach to delivering a Scotland that offers business the chance to grow, bringing in the finances to support much needed infrastructure development, international trade, fishing rights restored, much needed jobs while supporting those less fortunate within our society.

“Politics, is not about the party, but much more to do with how we can deliver the best outcomes for our people and future generations.”

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