The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:33 pm on 24th October 2019.

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Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy), SNP Deputy Leader 1:33 pm, 24th October 2019

I am not standing up to make a job application, as some people have suggested. In fact, we are trying to work ourselves out of a job by securing an independent Scotland, not one that has to send representatives to this place.

I take this opportunity to introduce amendment (h), in the names of my right hon. Friend Ian Blackford, Liz Saville Roberts—the leader of Plaid Cymru in the House of Commons—and many other SNP Members.

This place has been nothing short of chaotic over the past few weeks and, in fact, over the past three years. If Members are looking on in horror at the childish behaviour of the UK Government, I can only imagine how people out there are feeling as they watch the utter chaos created by the actions of this Tory Government.

This year’s Queen’s Speech comes in the most turbulent and uncertain times these isles have seen in decades. In the pursuit of a hard Tory Brexit that rips us out of the single market, the Scottish economy is already £3 billion smaller than if none of this had been foisted upon us by this Government. UK in a Changing Europe estimates that GDP per capita will be some 6.4% lower in the long run compared with the UK remaining in the EU. That represents, on average, every person in these isles missing out on £2,000 of income each year.

This deal proposes the loss of the single market. The world’s largest economic bloc gives businesses in Britain access to 500 million customers, with no barriers, no tariffs and no local legislation to worry about. It is no surprise that nearly half of our exports go to other EU nations. Those exports are linked to 3 million jobs in the UK. Today, almost 80% of British jobs are in the services sector, a sector with £226 billion of exports, nearly half of which go to Europe.

“I can see why some people want to leave the EU. Arguments about national identity and sovereignty pack an emotional punch. But for anyone who cares about British jobs, it comes down to one key question. Do businesses want the benefits and security of continued access to the Single Market, or the instability and uncertainty of a lost decade?”

Those are not my words but the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is now willing to tip businesses into that lost decade in pursuit of this hard Tory Brexit.