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Brexit (Impact on Glasgow)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 13th June 2019.

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Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour

7. To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with Glasgow City Council regarding the impact that Brexit could have on the city. (S5O-03380)

Photo of Graeme Dey Graeme Dey Scottish National Party

Ministers and officials regularly meet representatives of all Scottish local authorities, including Glasgow City Council, to discuss a wide range of issues, including preparations for Brexit, as part of our commitment to working in partnership with local government to improve outcomes for the people of Scotland.

Mike Russell last met the leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Susan Aitken, along with the leaders of Scotland’s six other cities, on 21 May.

Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour

I am sure that the mini ster agrees with me that Glasgow is the powerhouse of the Scottish economy. He will be aware that a report in 2016 by Glasgow City Council, the Glasgow economic leadership board and the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce outlined the scale of the economic challenge of Brexit for the city. What joint working has been done to implement the report’s recommendations? Will the Scottish Government finally commit to ensuring that Glasgow gets its fair share of the £90 million that the Scottish Government was given to address the dangers of a no-deal Brexit, in order to secure jobs in and the economic prosperity of the city of Glasgow?

Photo of Graeme Dey Graeme Dey Scottish National Party

We have been here before, with the member. I will outline exactly what is happening between the Scottish Government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the seven cities. The Cabinet recently agreed to grant a request from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities for local government to be given an extra £1.6 million to help it to prepare for EU exit. Each council—I stress that this was, again, at COSLA’s request—received £50,000 to fund the appointment of a Brexit co-ordinator. Officials have written to local authorities to advise how that money will be paid.

Close working with councils continues. As I said, as recently as 21 May, Mike Russell, the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, met city leaders, including the Glasgow City Council leader, to discuss Brexit. The issues that were discussed included the need for reassurance for immigrants who are thinking of coming to Scotland—because Brexit is already affecting key sectors—and the identification of priority projects ahead of further much-needed detail on the United Kingdom shared prosperity fund being provided by Westminster. Mr Russell offered to meet the cities and others to explore the options around that fund and Brexit when things become clearer. There is no lack of co-operation between the Scottish Government and local authorities.

If Johann Lamont wants to play a constructive part in minimising the impact of Brexit on Glasgow and the rest of Scotland, perhaps she could have a word with the Labour MPs who yesterday conspired with the Tories in Westminster to deny Parliament there the opportunity to block a no-deal departure from the European Union, which would be catastrophic for Scotland—including Glasgow.