With talks set to continue this coming week between the UK Government and the EU over the Brexit trade deal, Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said: “It is beyond belief that in the middle of a deep recession, Scottish firms still have no idea what their trading arrangements will be with the EU in less than three months’ time.
“A ‘no-deal’ would be disastrous for Scotland
“But because of the limited ambitions of the UK Government, any agreement that is struck puts Scotland, its people and its economy, in a substantially worse position than where we are now," Said Mr. Russel in a statement on Brexit talks sent to The Helsinki Times
“In the event of no deal, we could see tariffs on goods, which for some sectors would be crippling. Beef and lamb exports to the EU, worth £76 million in 2018/2019, would be rendered almost unviable with much of exports set to face tariffs in the region of 50% to 70%.”
“Other sectors such as refined petroleum, leather goods and textiles would face tariffs ranging from around 5% to 12%.
“Even if the UK secures the kind of limited deal it is seeking, Scottish GDP will be 6.1% lower, that is around £9 billion, by 2030, compared to a Scotland that enjoys continued EU membership.
“If this limited deal is struck, our exporters will face significant new barriers. Products will have to be checked as they enter the EU, jeopardising just-in-time supply chains for exports such as seafood, worth £780 million in 2019.
“There will be extra paperwork - it has been estimated by the seafood industry that just the export health certificates for seafood alone will cost between £7 million and £15 million a year.
“Both a no deal or a ‘low deal’ outcome will force the people of Scotland into a position for which they did not vote: out of the Single Market, out of the Customs Union and with the end of freedom of movement – hitting jobs, lives and living standards hard.
“As a responsible Government, we will continue to do everything we can to mitigate against the consequences of the UK Government’s actions, pursued in the midst of a global pandemic.
“However we simply cannot avert every negative outcome. The Scottish Government view is clear: the best future for Scotland is to become an independent country.”
Michael Russell is the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs. The Cabinet Secretary is responsible for the UK’s exit from the European Union, international relations, government and parliamentary business, constitutional relations and intra-governmental affairs.
(Tariff figures are based on analysis by the Scottish Government, Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services, and World Bank estimates.)