Brexit deal ‘damaging’ to Scotland

The UK Government’s draft agreement could cost £1,600 per person.

The proposed Brexit deal by the UK Government will make Scotland poorer, according to analysis from the Scottish Government.

The proposal, still to be voted on in the House of Commons, could cost the equivalent of £1,600 for each person in Scotland by 2030, compared to continued EU membership. But it is not even certain that a free trade deal will be agreed, meaning the cost could be higher. 

The assessment shows that the deal:

  • Takes Scotland out of the EU, despite a majority here voting to remain
  • Removes Scotland from the European Single Market of 500 million people
  • Leaves future trading arrangements uncertain for both goods and services
  • Puts Scotland at a potential competitive disadvantage to Northern Ireland
  • Ends free movement of people, which is vital for workers in sectors such as health and social care. Scotland’s working age population would decline by 3% without EU migration
  • Appears to directly contradict the UK Government’s previous position on fisheries: that there should be no link between access to UK waters and access to EU markets
  • Ends guaranteed high standards and protections that come with EU membership, including the environment, food safety, animal welfare, health and safety, equality and working conditions
  • Provides no certainty about future participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

“The analysis shows why the deal agreed by the Prime Minister is unacceptable to the Scottish Government and damaging to the people of Scotland. No government of Scotland with the interests of this and future generations at heart could possibly accept it.

“This deal will take Scotland out of the EU against our will and remove us from the European Single Market of 500 million people, which is eight times larger than the UK market. It will take us out of the Customs Union and the benefits of EU trade deals with more than 40 countries across the globe. In short, it will make us poorer.

“This deal will damage our NHS and make it harder to attract and retain the social care and health service staff we need. If the backstop is activated – as seems highly likely - it will place Scotland at a serious competitive disadvantage with Northern Ireland. It will mean promises to the Scottish fishing industry being broken.

“Perhaps worst of all, it will take away opportunities from the young people of Scotland and from the generations to come.

“Quite simply this is a bad deal, which the UK Government is seeking to impose on the people of Scotland regardless of the damage it will cause. It will not end uncertainty. It will extend it. We are being asked to accept a blindfold Brexit with all the difficult decisions kicked down the road.

“Notwithstanding the overwhelming vote in Scotland to remain, we have, for two years now, put forward plans to keep the UK as a whole in the Single Market and Customs Union. That is a common-sense compromise that would limit the damage of Brexit and recognise that two of the four UK nations voted to remain.

“We will continue talking with others to seek support for this compromise position. We will also support a second referendum on EU membership, with the option to remain on the ballot paper.”


View the Scottish Government analysis in full.


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