Calls for further engagement on Northern Ireland Protocol.
Scottish Ministers are calling on the UK Government to withdraw legislation aiming to abandon parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol negotiated with the European Union.
Following the publication of the legislation, External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson has reiterated the danger that disregarding parts of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement could lead to a trade war when the UK is already close to recession and in the middle of a cost of living crisis.
Mr Robertson said:
“It is extremely reckless and frustrating that the UK Government has decided to bring forward this legislation. The UK Government has deliberately set itself on an entirely avoidable collision course with the EU. Brexit is forecast to cause more harm to the economy than COVID, and this action by the UK Government could trigger significant additional damage to our economy when we are already facing the worst cost of living crisis seen for decades.
“Scotland has direct interests at stake in the Protocol, particularly in trade and border control, and yet the UK Government has shown no willingness to engage us on these issues. It is also directly impacting other Scottish interests, such as participation in the flagship Horizon Europe research programme.
“We have repeatedly called for the UK Government to step back from this confrontational approach and focus instead on dialogue with our European partners, who stand willing to work in partnership to find a negotiated solution. Those calls have also been ignored.
“We urge the UK Government to return to the negotiating table and withdraw this Bill. It is inconceivable to think that the Scottish Government would recommend legislative consent for a bill that would negatively impact Scotland’s economy, that could be deemed to break international law and could risk sparking a trade war with our fellow Europeans, which is in no one’s interests.”
Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts indicate that the impact of Brexit on UK productivity will be worse in the long run than COVID-19. OBR analysis indicates Brexit will reduce the UK’s potential productivity by 4% in the long run, whereas the pandemic is expected to reduce it by 2%.
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