Cost of living is an eye-opener south of the border

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The good news for those of you who have decided to move south of the border should Scotland decide to vote for independence on September 18 is that you are likely to get more for your pound than here in the North-east.

I base my claim on recent trips to England where I have been staggered at the difference in the cost of living. From the nonsense of paying Aberdeen prices I found myself in a relative haven of low prices, which given I spent a number of times in some of the top tourist areas on offer south of Hadrian’s Wall was surprising.

York in particular was an eye-opener, and roughly on a par with the Granite City, at least in population.

The historic city was heaving with visitors, all keen to take in the delights of its amazing minster, a railway museum, and the Norvic centre to name but a few tourist attractions.

In all the buzz no where did I see tourists being ripped off, in fact quite the opposite.

A cup of coffee at a number of well appointed establishments costing only £1.55, while a cask conditioned ale near to York Minster was a mere £2.55.

The same purchases in the North-east of Scotland, including Ellon, would have been at least one pound more on each item. So what gives up here folks?

A question that surely must be addressed if we are to see visitors flock to our own attractions.

In truth I have seen very few visitors in the area and at the prices being asked for hotel accommodation I am not really surprised. Once again York compared very favourably.

The only parity I could see was in the price of housing.

The assumption is that we all earn the same wages as the oil industry, which is patently not true, including the vast majority of those working in public sector. Charging what you pretty well like is therefore not an option.

My observations are echoed by many of you who have been in other tourist hot spots in England, and been pleasantly surprised by the low prices being charged.

But don’t get me wrong it is not just the North-east of Scotland who are guilty of hiking up prices, as I found in East Lothian on the way back from my Yorkshire trip.

Last Friday afternoon I pulled over for something to eat, choosing Haddington from blessed memories of times spent there in the 1970’s.

My party of three selected a small hotel/pub with seats outside. A perfect haven on a beautiful day. Surely a good choice I reasoned.

An hour later and £40 the poorer we headed for home, a little disillusioned by Haddington hospitality.

Our purchases included two cokes, costing £6 each, two sandwiches at £9 each.

Maybe I will join the exodus on September 19, though in truth I would still like to live up here, but not be paying through the nose for eating out, nor for having a small libation of my choice.