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"It beggars belief that in the midst of a pandemic and economic recession Scotland has been forced out of the EU Single Market and Customs Union with all the damage to jobs that will bring.
“A deal is better than no deal. But, just because, at the eleventh hour, the UK Government has decided to abandon the idea of a no-deal outcome, it should not distract from the fact that they have chosen a hard Brexit, stripping away so many of the benefits of EU membership.
“And while we do not yet have full details on the nature of the deal, it appears major promises made by the UK Government on fisheries have been broken and the extent of these broken promises will become apparent to all very soon.
“People in Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, but their views have been ignored.
“This is a far harder Brexit than could have been imagined when the EU referendum took place, damaging and disrupting this nation’s economy and society at the worst possible time.
“We are doing everything we can to mitigate against the consequences of the UK Government’s actions – but we cannot avert every negative outcome.
“We know that businesses are already struggling under the burden of COVID-19, and are now faced with the need to prepare for this hard Brexit in little more than a week’s time. We will do all we can to help them and are issuing updated information and advice and urge those most affected, including businesses, to prepare.
“Scotland did not vote for any of this and our position is clearer than ever. Scotland now has the right to choose its own future as an independent country and once more regain the benefits of EU membership.”