Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Treated 'almost like a criminal'

John Calder
Mr Calder suggested the law to his local MP David Mundell

A bid to make it legally binding for shops and business in England to accept Scottish banknotes started life at a taxi firm in the Borders.

Peebles businessman John Calder, 42, responded to a call from MP David Mundell seeking new proposals for new laws.

Now the private member's bill is being debated in the House of Commons.

Mr Calder told the BBC Scotland news website he was tired of being looked on "as if you were a criminal" during trips across the border.

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP Mr Mundell had launched an appeal for constituents to come up with suggestions for a new law.

A few people - including Mr Calder - came up with the banknote plan.

His suggestion was due to go before the UK parliament on Wednesday.

It really does irk you when you go down south and they won't accept it
John Calder

Mr Calder said the idea came from his own experience of visits to England.

"It always frustrated me that sometimes you would go into a shop and they would almost look on you as if you were a criminal," he said.

"I run a taxi company here in the Scottish Borders.

"We accept English money and Irish money on a regular basis and we don't even question it."

He said he hoped Scottish notes could soon enjoy the same treatment in the rest of the UK.

"It just seems a ridiculous situation and David said he could actually take it further and push so that it was actually illegal not to take Scottish tender," said Mr Calder.

"Sometimes they will actually refuse to take your money.

"It really does irk you when you go down south and they won't accept it."

He claimed he even knew of situations where euros were taken more readily than Scottish notes.

'Feel strongly'

Mr Calder said he was pleased the matter would be discussed in parliament.

"It is good that we have actually managed to get it to the point of being debated in the House of Commons," he said.

"Hopefully it will be debated and passed."

His constituency MP said he had been happy to take the proposal forward and felt it had a genuine chance of becoming law.

"I publicised it across the papers and I had two or three people came up with this," said Mr Mundell.

"It is an issue people feel strongly about and it is also one that would not cost a lot of money."

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