The Brexit vote, 5 years on - what do we know so far?

This note summarises the evidence so far of the impacts on Brexit on Scotland. It sets out early evidence related to areas such as trade, the workforce and EU programmes.


Many of the issues outlined here affect all parts of the UK. But some issues impact disproportionately on Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. In particular, the way in which the UK has chosen to respond to EU Exit is doing real and lasting damage to agreed and well-established governance arrangements in the UK. This led the Welsh Government to challenge the new arrangements in the courts, an action which the Scottish Government supported.

This was evident already during the EU Exit negotiations, with the UK Government repeatedly and wilfully ignoring the established convention of seeking the Scottish Parliament's consent (the Sewel Convention) and the UK Government's failure to involve the Scottish Government and the other Devolved Administrations meaningfully in preparations for the negotiations themselves. This has since been compounded by the UK Government's Internal Market Act. This allows it to:

  • Ride roughshod over standards voted on by the democratically elected Scottish Parliament;
  • Use direct funding in devolved areas to bypass the Scottish Government in ways that undermine its priorities, leading to inefficient spending and policy incoherence;
  • Further reduce the already limited scope for the Scottish Government to protect the interests of Scottish businesses, farmers and consumers in international trade negotiations. The UK Government has just demonstrated its willingness to sacrifice standards and Scottish farmers in its outline trade deal with Australia.


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