Being able to live in communities which are safe, green, inclusive and prosperous
Scotland is rightly proud of our vibrant communities and the traditions and cultures within them. Safeguards provided by the EU and cooperation with EU partners underpin and protect many aspects of our community life.
Right now our communities are greener because of the EU rules which are safeguarding our water, our air, our beaches and our landscapes and protecting our towns and cities from harmful waste. They are stronger and healthier thanks to the EU funding that is helping to improve lives and support communities by delivering infrastructure to our cities, rural and coastal communities.
The EU is supporting schemes that help people get into or stay in work, encourage social inclusion and integration, and help promote healthy lifestyles. What's at stake is a range of policy levers and funding tools that helps us deliver key social protections and practical support for our communities that, collectively, helps us work towards the type of society we want to be. And, maybe above all, we are putting at risk a proud tradition of communities which are welcoming to all.
Brexit May Mean:
- Losing cooperation with our European neighbours in sharing information and fighting crime;
- A weakening of Scotland's high levels of environmental protection, driven in part by the UK Government's desire to strike trade deals with third countries;
- Fewer staff and resources to deliver health and other public services, with particular impact on those reliant on care; and
- Putting at risk current EU–funded measures, for example to tackle discrimination and poverty, and protect the rights of women, and disabled people.
Protecting What Matters
Staying in the single market would considerably reduce the impact, allowing us, for example, to retain high environmental standards and retain free movement for people in Scotland to seek opportunities in Europe and for the EU citizens who bring life to our communities and help to provide the key public services which are so crucial throughout Scotland.
We shall insist in our talks with the UK Government on retaining in the Scottish Parliament powers to ensure high environmental and other standards and arrangements which will ensure we do not have foisted on us third country trade deals which may sacrifice standards we hold dear.
We will be publishing a series of further evidence-based papers – in areas such as trade – setting out how we can best protect our interests in light of the UK leaving the EU to support safer, stronger communities.
In the meantime we are continuing to take steps to strengthen our communities and support them to do things for themselves, for example under the Community Empowerment Act and through the £20 million Empowering Communities Fund; to make them safer, for example, with the new Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh, an effective focal point for tackling serious organized crime; and to regenerate communities in disadvantaged areas through the new Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.
What People Say
The examples below capture what individuals are saying to us in their own words about what's at stake for their communities.
Bill, 67, Retired, Glasgow. 'Brexit may lead to a decrease of inward migration in the long-term which could significantly impact on the maintenance of public health and social care services and pensions for the elderly.'
David, 35, Public Sector, Edinburgh. 'Our population will decline without immigration, and there will be high pressure on public services such as care for elderly people as there will be fewer people paying taxes to pay for their care.'
Ewan, 33, Researcher, Aberdeen. 'It is not just low paid, but also highly skilled workers, such as dentists and doctors, who have chosen to live and work in the UK. There are not enough people in the UK to fill that shortfall, with our current unemployment rate at its lowest level for many years. This is a key concern for public services. Our national infrastructure needs EU workers.'
Anita, 51, Minister (of Religion), Highlands and Islands. 'In the Highlands many people rely on tourism. Many businesses depend on seasonal EU workers, and other international workers, for their business to function.'
Charlotte, 40, Researcher, Glasgow, originally from France. 'I have always thrived here professionally. The proposed "settled status" requires me to prove now what I have done and how I contributed to get access to services since nearly 19 years, even though I am already registered in the system and paid tax in the UK since I arrive.'
Anne, 61, Unemployed, East Ayrshire, is a wheelchair user and, due to her conditions, she is primarily reliant on NHS services and social care services. ' EU human rights laws will give the UK Government a free hand to impose new laws and conditions, not just in relation to disability rights, but employment rights. I'm concerned that these rights will be seriously eroded, and will be very detrimental for everyone.'
Call Centre Operator, 39, South Lanarkshire. 'The environment is crucial to communities. I'm concerned that there will be a loss of EU funding for environmental and climate change projects such as green buses or waste reduction schemes. Because of Brexit, we will have to make decisions as communities how to protect our environment. It may cost more to do the right thing.'
Piotr, 29, Health And Social Care, Glasgow
Piotr is originally from Poland and has been living in Scotland for the last five years. He left Poland having studied Law and lived in both Italy and Spain for a time before initially moving to Aberdeen where he was employed as a cleaner. He currently works in the Health and social care sector as a Recruitment Consultant.
Piotr is concerned about the impact that Brexit may have on the maintenance on health and public services:
'The Health and Social care sector is already showing signs of an impact of the Brexit vote as there seems to be fewer people come from the EU at the moment. I work with Polish people and some of them are taking the decision to return home due to the uncertainty. I do feel more insecure now and feel I do not have the same level of control over my future as I previously had.'
Piotr also has concerns about how Scotland may be perceived as a welcoming place to work and live for immigrants:
'As a foreign person living in another country, you always feel like you are living a double existence. You miss the country and family you have left behind but you know that you cannot really go back to that life. The Brexit vote has made me feel unstable in a country I have begun to settle in and in which I have always felt welcome. All my friends are Scottish and I consider them to be my second family. They have remained very supportive of my situation as a result of the Brexit vote.'