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No campaign in bid to 'scare' Scots drivers

HAULAGE firms, private motorists and air passengers are the latest groups to be targeted by the Westminster coalition for dire warnings about the costs, complexity and insecurity that are claimed would flow from a Yes vote to independence.

Yesterday, it was mobile phone and internet users who were warned about the possible consequences of independence, with those claims, and fresh ones regarding the transport sector, found in a document to be published tomorrow, entitled Scotland Analysis: Business and Microeconomic Framework Paper.

The transport section claims Scottish hauliers could face hefty charges from driving on roads south of the Border on the same basis that French or German lorries not paying UK Vehicle Excise Duty have to pay a levy of up to £1000 a year.

Private motorists could be penalised if they took their cars to England for six months.

Driving licences and MoT testing could involve higher charges, according to the report, and Scotland would face "disproportionate" costs to set up its own Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Scotland Office Minister David Mundell said: "Every time we look under the bonnet of independence we find something else problematic.

"Scottish motorists just want to be able to drive on UK roads with the minimum of fuss. They don't want new charges, new driving licences or new MoTs."

Mr Mundell added: "The UK brings benefits to all parts of the UK. Independence would bring massive change to every aspect of Scottish life and it would not be a change for the better. Scotland, in the UK, is open for business."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "With independence, Scotland will gain full control of vehicle excise duty and fuel taxes. This will mean that an independent Scottish Government can set these measures in line with the needs of Scotland's hauliers and motorists."

She insisted that Scotland had "a long-standing stake in UK institutions where services are mostly paid for by fees paid by motorists. This means an independent Scotland would have a range of options for providing these services in an independent Scotland".

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the latest round of "scare-stories" had been dismissed as "silly and puerile" even by senior Conservative figures.

She said: "The silly scare-stories which the anti-independence campaign are resorting to serve nobody – least of all the people of Scotland.

"It is obviously the complete lack of vision in the anti-independence campaign that leads them to fall back on a steady drip of scare-stories that are becoming more and more ridiculous."

At Westminster the SNP's Angus MacNeil said the latest claims at the haulage industry "looked like an attempt to cover up for their roaming charges boomerang".

He added: "Year after year, the biggest burden faced by motorists and those who use our roads for a living has come from sky-high prices at the pump. And it is Westminster that has failed time after time to get a grip on this issue as prices continue to go up and up. A point embarrassingly made by Westminster MPs.

"Perhaps, if they spent more time trying to address these problems and less time trying to dream up feeble scare-stories, people in the road haulage industry would have more faith in Westminster."

Contextual targeting label: 
Automotive

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