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Brexit Preparations (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 28th November 2019.

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Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government how it is supporting small businesses in the Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley constituency to prepare for a potentially damaging Brexit and develop economic links with Ireland and the rest of the European Union. (S5O-03832)

Photo of Kate Forbes Kate Forbes Scottish National Party

We are supporting small business through the prepare for Brexit campaign, which offers advice for companies that are concerned about the impact on their business of exiting the EU.

On 13 November, the Republic of Ireland Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, visited Edinburgh to participate in a bilateral meeting with the First Minister, Ms Hyslop and Mr Russell. That successful visit marks the start of the bilateral review process and an opportunity to continue building a positive relationship with our strong European ally, which is a priority market for our export growth plan.

Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

A local business forum that I attended in Kilmarnock last week was well attended, with many small businesses keen to hear what support arrangements might be in place to assist them not only to continue trading with European Union partners but to enhance the relationships where possible. Can the minister assure me and my local business constituents that the Scottish Government will take every opportunity to further develop closer economic and social links with Ireland and the rest of the EU post any Brexit situation, should that occur?

Photo of Kate Forbes Kate Forbes Scottish National Party

We are absolutely committed to that relationship in order to provide opportunities for Mr Coffey’s constituents, and we will build on the good work that we are already doing. In 2018-19, our team in Dublin helped to land six inward investment projects from Ireland and hosted six trade missions from Scotland, which supported more than 60 Scottish companies into the Irish market. Our relationship with Ireland is a priority and we will continue to build on it to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses have opportunities in the Irish market.