News

Vital support to offset Brexit damage

Published: 25 Nov 2020 09:35

Measures to help protect health services, the economy and communities.

Contingency plans have been put in place by the Scottish Government to cope with the damaging impacts of Brexit.

Measures to mitigate the worst effects of leaving the European Union (EU) on December 31 will target support at health services, businesses and at risk communities.

With just five weeks to go to the end of the transition period, the UK Government and the EU are still in negotiations over the terms of Brexit with both a no deal and ‘low deal’ still on the table.

The deal favoured by the UK Government and the prospect of no deal will see Scotland taken out of the Single Market and the Customs Union and mean the end of freedom of movement, negatively impacting jobs and living standards.

Current concerns include the introduction of tariffs, shortages of medical supplies and disruption to imports and exports from new border controls and customs restrictions.

Support measures put in place in Scotland include:

  • working with UK administrations to ensure patients get the medicines and medical supplies needed
  • ensuring businesses struggling with cash flow are supported by working with banks through the Banking and Economy Forum
  • Scottish Enterprise offering targeted advice and guidance to 1200 companies assessed as being particularly vulnerable to Brexit by the end of the year
  • Refreshed advice, guidance and support to help all Scottish businesses be ready for the end of transition through the Prepare for Brexit website, including EU Exit Helpline, self-help checklist, webinars, articles and newsletters
  • £30 million flexible funding to enable local authorities to tackle financial insecurity over the winter, including extension of free school meals during school holidays
  • the Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland working with universities and colleges to ensure they meet the needs of a post-Brexit labour market
  • the Scottish Government’s resilience room (SGORR) will activate in December to coordinate the government response to the most significant issues arising post-exit

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said:

“It is beyond belief that, in the midst of a global pandemic, Scotland is just five weeks away from being removed from the EU Single Market and Customs Union against its will by the UK Government.

“Whatever the outcome of the current negotiations between the UK and the EU we know Scotland’s economy and its communities are facing unnecessary damage at the worst possible time.

“The Scottish Government  will  continue to do everything we can to mitigate against the consequences of the UK Government’s reckless actions to support, as much as we can, our economy, health services and vulnerable communities.

“We will continue that work throughout the transition period and beyond, but the stark truth is that we simply cannot avert every negative outcome and our view is clear that the best future for Scotland is to become an independent country.

“Only by becoming independent can Scotland look forward to once again becoming an equal partner in the EU and take advantage of all the benefits that membership brings.”

Background

Scottish Government modelling of a basic trade agreement estimates that Scottish GDP would be 6.1% lower by 2030 compared to continued EU membership. This equates to a cost to each person in Scotland of an equivalent to £1,600.

A no-deal Brexit scenario has greater economic implications and could see the economy 8.5% smaller by 2030 compared to a scenario of continued EU membership.