Despite the damaging impacts of Brexit across many vital sectors, Scotland’s economy has significant strengths. We have a thriving tech ecosystem, and a renewable energy sector that provides quality jobs and opportunities for innovation. We have strengths in food and drink, life sciences, financial services and advanced manufacturing, as well as a strong skills and entrepreneurial base, all of which has made Scotland the United Kingdom’s top destination outside London for foreign direct investment.
We are pushing forward with an ambitious 10-year agenda of economic transformation to seize Scotland’s potential and deliver a more prosperous, fairer and greener wellbeing economy. Our national strategy for economic transformation will set out how we will deliver a green economic recovery and support new, good green jobs, businesses and industries for the future.
I note that the minister mentioned the damaging impact of Brexit on our economy. The chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility recently indicated that the impact of Brexit on the UK economy will be worse in the long run than the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Does the minister agree that it is high time that the UK Government provided the additional funding that was promised to Scotland to mitigate the impacts of a hard Brexit that people in Scotland did not vote for in the first place?
The UK Government’s Brexit deal has removed Scotland from a market that is worth more than £16 billion to Scottish exporters, and our companies now face additional costs, delays and barriers. As Mr Dornan has highlighted, the OBR’s latest forecasts show that leaving the European Union will reduce the UK’s potential productivity by 4 per cent in the long run. That compares with a reduction of 2 per cent as a result of the pandemic.
We also know that, in the year up to June 2021, exports of Scottish goods fell by 24 per cent compared with the figure for the equivalent period in 2019.
I agree that the UK Government must provide the additional funding that was promised to Scotland to mitigate the harmful impacts of a hard Brexit, which people in Scotland did not vote for.