Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:11 pm on 8th March 2017.

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Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie SNP Deputy Leader, Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Economy) 2:11 pm, 8th March 2017

Not at the moment.

There is no guarantee that a deal will be done. If the Chancellor expects that the plans outlined today can cope with the consequence of a cliff-edge Brexit, which the Prime Minister plans, then the whole Government are in for a very rude awakening.

Let us look at some facts. The economic value of EU citizens working in the UK is enormous. PricewaterhouseCoopers told us last year that the impact of migration restrictions alone due to Brexit could lead to a loss of over 1% of GDP. That 1% fall would more than halve the Government’s GDP growth forecasts for every single year of this forecast period, rendering them meaningless.

Just to put some colour into that, my hon. Friend Chris Law today met representatives of the computer games industry, who said that 98.4% of the companies that responded to them had said that the Government should immediately guarantee the status of EU nationals working in the UK. That would have been, if not a fiscal measure, an active and positive economic one for the Chancellor to have announced today. It would have been an active and positive economic measure to guarantee that the UK would fully replace lost EU funding post-2020, specifically the less favoured area support scheme, particularly if the UK leaves the EU before the closure window in 2019. It would have been a positive economic measure today to confirm the UK’s intention to negotiate substantial and long transitional arrangements for the financial sector, to avoid the loss of jobs, income, headquarters and tax.