Brexit impacts: statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Constitution and External Affairs

Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Angus Robertson MSP calls for action after meeting Secretary of State for Scotland.

The dislocation, damage and delays caused by Brexit should be immediately addressed by the UK Government, Constitution and External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson has told the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Mr Robertson raised shortages of labour and skills across a range of sectors, including care workers, HGV drivers, and the food and drink sector in a meeting with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack in London today.

The Cabinet Secretary called for immediate action to address workforce shortages by accepting the recommendations of their own immigration advisers and expand the Shortage Occupation List, implement the previously proposed temporary worker route that was intended to prevent a post-Brexit cliff-edge for employers, and undertake a full review of the Shortage Occupation List with the full input of Scottish Ministers.

Mr Robertson also urged immediate action on the excessive costs of the immigration system which is a major barrier to recruiting from abroad.    

External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson said:

“Our meeting today was frank: the UK Government’s hard Brexit deal, imposed at the height of a global pandemic, has led to delay, disruption and damage across our economy and society.

“This week’s postponement of planned checks at the borders is another sign that the UK Government’s current Brexit strategy is inadequate.

“Our food and drink sector is being unfairly disadvantaged, just as we warned it would be, and it is but one of a number of industries suffering worsening labour shortages as a direct consequence of Brexit and the pandemic.

“Scotland voted against Brexit, and wants no part of this disarray, but still we are living with the consequences of the UK Government’s hard Brexit deal.

“The UK Government should listen very carefully to the Scottish Government’s concerns, and the concerns of this nation’s industries -  and address them.”

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