AN ANTI-RACISM group is setting up a dedicated Scottish branch following a successful campaign to prevent a notorious neo-Nazi rock band playing north of the border.

The Sunday Herald revealed last week that Bound for Glory, a US white power thrash metal outfit known for performing in front of giant swastikas, was due to play their first UK gig in Falkirk.

But the organiser, who had attempted to keep the concert secret, cancelled the event citing “travel concerns” following protests led by campaign group Hope Not Hate, which included nearly 1,800 supporters in Scotland emailing their MPs to flag up their unease.

In the wake of the huge outcry, Scotland’s Justice Secretary Michael Matheson also said he was “considering every option” to prevent the band visiting Scotland, including writing to the UK Home Secretary to ask her to deny the band entry to the UK.

Now Nick Lowles, the founder of Hope Not Hate, has revealed plans to build on the support shown last week and set up an autonomous branch of the organisation in Scotland.

A series of meetings will be held to discuss how this can be organised and what particular issues is should focus on north of the border.

Lowles said: “It was clear to us there was concern about the gig and lots of our supporters wanted to do something, and it seemed an opportune moment to organise meetings in Scotland and find out from our supporters what they think we should be campaigning on.

“What we want to do is set up an organisation in Scotland which runs itself and it has its own priorities.

“For us, this seems like a good time to do this – hopefully we will get a steering committee of different supporters from different parts of Scotland who can meet and liaise with us in London and at the same time take a lead on the issues they think are important.”

An email sent to supporters north of the border asking them to express interest in becoming involved, notes that Scotland has not experienced the same levels of racist attacks since the EU referendum as England.

But it adds: “Problems still exist and these are likely to grow as the economy struggles with Brexit and people become more economically insecure and pessimistic.

“We have to do more to tackle racism now. We also need to be ready in case there is an upsurge in racism and hate over the coming years.”

Lowles said Scotland did not have the same the level of organisation of far-right groups as in England, for example, but there was concern around issues such as the potential for racism to increase, particularly in the wake of the EU poll.

He said: “What we are finding is that across the UK there is growing concern about Brexit and what that means and the potential for division in communities.

“The other thing we are finding – it is anecdotally, but we are hearing many stories of it – is trouble concerning school age kids and we are looking at what we can do at a school level with young people.

“We have all been complacent that with demographic changes young people are more tolerant.”

More than 500 tickets had been sold for the Bound for Glory concert. The band has in the past voiced support for British Nazi group Combat 18 and glorified Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in the song Time Bomb.

If the gig had taken place on October 22 as planned, it would have been the largest white power concert ever to happen in Scotland.