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Tom Wells: 'What about the English?'

Malvern Editorial 18th Sep, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

County Councillor Tom Wells writes for the Observer.

This Thursday the people of Scotland will make one of the biggest decisions in their constitutional history.

The stakes could not be higher and the result will have a profound impact on the future of their country. Indeed, whichever way the referendum goes, I firmly believe that we shall see increased devolved governance for Scotland.

But it is not just Scotland that will be affected. With increased devolution for Scotland and more modest arrangements for Wales and North Ireland, it really does beg the question ‘What about the English?’

Whilst Irish, Welsh and Scots Members of Parliament can vote on laws affecting England, the reverse is not the case. The answer it would seem is to have an English Assembly. But do the English really want another tier of government on top of what we already have. The answer is probably no.

That is until you realise the Scots already have a far better deal than we do. Free prescriptions for many, free eye tests for all, and no tuition fees for students are just three of the many benefits enjoyed by those living in Scotland.

Closer to home, our campaign to retain our local bus services has been successful, but at a price. The cost of fares has increases by up 50 per cent in some cases. Whilst that is not an issue for those older folks with concessionary passes, some passengers are finding their weekly travel costs rising considerably. None more so than our young people.

It really does seem extraordinary that there is no concessionary travel scheme for youngsters. After all, they themselves are not able to drive and in reality it is their parents who are having to pay the increase in fares.

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