Internal Market

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 30th July 2020.

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Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party

It is essential that there is an effective state aid regime. Moreover, given the role that the Scottish Government has had in industrial strategy and in developing and building business in Scotland, it is important that it is done with a knowledge of the Scottish economy. That is why state aid is devolved. The UK Government wants to reserve it because it wishes to create either a much lighter regime or maybe no regime at all. People might have seen speculation in the press that that has been driven by Dominic Cummings and that he wants no state aid regime. If the UK Government insists on that, it will not be able to get an agreement with the EU, but having no regulations might be where it is going. Why would it have no regulations? Because it could then spend money willy-nilly on buying votes. That is the reality—that is what it will endeavour to do.

We need an effective state aid regime. Again, common frameworks can provide that, so, if Mr Cameron is compiling a list of those areas where work could be done, here is another that he could put in. We could have that discussion on a state aid regime through the common frameworks, but the UK Government would have to withdraw what is in the white paper, because it is a naked power grab and it is trying to find a solution to a problem that does not exist.