Glasgow city centre is to become the stage for “flag wars” this summer when the UK and Scottish Governments set up rival trade offices during the Commonwealth Games.
Coalition ministers are taking over Glasgow City Chambers to open a “British Business House” full of Union flag branding to lure in overseas trade during the event.
But, just hundreds of yards away, Glasgow’s City Halls and Fruitmarket will be festooned with saltires and transformed into “Scotland House” where the Scottish government will showcase the best of the country’s businesses.
Coming just eight weeks before the crunch independence referendum, fears have been raised over the possible politicisation of the Games.
Scottish Labour’s Patricia Ferguson MSP said: “I’m not surprised that every part of Britain will want to showcase their unique offers to the thousands of visitors, athletes and guests who will be coming to Glasgow.
“I hope we can ensure this doesn’t become an extension of the referendum campaign.”
Scotland House, which will cost £500,000 to stage, will run for the full length of the Games in July and will feature a place for Team Scotland athletes and their families to meet. In addition, the house will be used as meeting centre for business leaders.
The neighbouring Fruitmarket will also host a string of public events aimed at celebrating the Games. The Scottish government came under fire in 2012 when it spent more than £400,000 on a “Scotland House” at the London Olympics but it was barely used and few investment deals were signed.
The UK Government has insisted there will be no union flags on the outside of Glasgow City Chambers, which overlooks the city’s George Square, but it is understood there will be British branding inside.
A UK Government spokesman said: “We are conscious of the need not to politicise the Commonwealth Games in any way.”
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