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Leaving the EU: Scotland

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons on 21st May 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

What recent assessment he has made of the economic effect on Scotland of the UK leaving the EU.

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The Government published a detailed set of economic analyses on the long-term impacts of EU exit on the UK economy—its sectors, nations and regions, and the public finances—covering multiple EU exit scenarios. The analysis shows that the spectrum of outcomes for the future UK-EU relationship would deliver significantly higher economic output than in a no-deal scenario in all nations, including Scotland.

Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The Minister is right to highlight those analyses, which show that every single Brexit will be damaging to our economy and will hit public services. Coming after a decade of Tory austerity, will he rule out a no-deal Brexit and use the comprehensive spending review to start investing in our public services?

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Clearly, the best way of avoiding a no-deal Brexit is to look favourably on what the Prime Minister brings back to the House of Commons in the week commencing 3 June.

Photo of Patricia Gibson Patricia Gibson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Consumer Affairs)

Brexit uncertainty is hurting firms across Scotland and the Bank of England has said that the Prime Minister’s deal could cut GDP by 3%. Does the Chancellor agree with himself, when he told Radio 4 in November last year that the deal will leave the economy “slightly smaller” and that in pure economic terms, there will be a loss?

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I will tell the hon. Lady what is causing great concern and instability in the sector that I am responsible for—life insurance and the pensions industry, which is thriving in Glasgow and Edinburgh—and that is the fear of the SNP leadership introducing a new currency.

Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

From all the modelling and analysis that the Treasury has done in its economic forecasting, will the Minister tell us in what year he would expect the United Kingdom economy to perform better under a Brexit scenario than under a remain scenario?

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The result of the referendum was clear in 2016 across the United Kingdom, and we need to get on and deliver it.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

The Minister did not quite answer the question from Stephen Gethins. Is the Government’s default position still that on 31 October, we will leave on a no-deal basis if no agreement has been made?

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

That is the legal default, but as my hon. Friend will know, the Government hope, even at this late hour, to persuade him of the merits of passing the deal in the week of 3 June.

Photo of Desmond Swayne Desmond Swayne Conservative, New Forest West

Is not the greatest threat of uncertainty to the Scottish economy the prospect of a second independence referendum?

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Absolutely. Another divisive referendum within 18 months would be completely contrary to what the First Minister said five years ago, which was that it was a “once in a generation” event. It would absolutely be a real crisis for Scotland.