Brexit (Impact on Economy)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd June 2022.

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Photo of Ruth Maguire Ruth Maguire Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government what its latest assessment is of the impact of Brexit on Scotland’s economy. (S6O-01260)

Photo of Ivan McKee Ivan McKee Scottish National Party

We know that Brexit is contributing to the 19th consecutive monthly rise in prices that are charged by businesses in Scotland, and it is causing United Kingdom food prices to increase by more than 6 per cent, which hits the poorest families hardest.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, next year the UK will have the lowest growth in the G20, apart from Russia, and the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that, in the long run, Brexit will hurt productivity growth by twice as much as the pandemic.

Since 2019, goods exports have fallen by 20 per cent, largely driven by a decline in oil and gas exports, which amounts to a fall in goods trade with the European Union of 16 per cent, whereas trade with non-EU countries dropped by only 4 per cent. That said, Scotland’s exports are still outperforming the UK’s. Excluding oil and gas, exports to all countries from Scotland last year were down 1 per cent on 2019 levels compared with a fall of 8 per cent for the UK as a whole.

Even as Scotland tries to cope with the fallout of a reckless hard Brexit, the UK Government is risking a trade war with the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol.

Photo of Ruth Maguire Ruth Maguire Scottish National Party

It is a significant concern that Brexit continues to harm Scotland’s economy and is a persistent reminder of the on-going cost that Scotland is paying for Westminster mismanagement. Last week, the Scottish Government published an analysis paper that showed that the status quo is not allowing Scotland to fulfil our full potential, and that the UK economic model and Westminster decision making are holding us back. Can the minister say any more about how, with full control of economic powers, we would be better placed to realise Scotland’s full economic potential?

Photo of Ivan McKee Ivan McKee Scottish National Party

The paper that was published by the Scottish Government last week shows that comparable European countries frequently achieve better—often significantly better—outcomes than the UK on a range of measures, including gross domestic product per capita, inequality, poverty, business investment and productivity.

Compared with those countries, many of which are smaller than or of a similar size to Scotland, Scotland under Westminster control is being held back. The damage caused by Brexit will result in Scotland finding it ever harder to achieve that potential.

With the full powers of an independent country, we can of course deliver more. Scotland is blessed with an abundance of resources that, in many cases, the comparator countries lack. If all those countries can use the powers of independence to create wealthier and fairer societies, why cannot Scotland, with our vast energy resources; globally recognised record of innovation, invention and learning; exceptional food and drink industry; stunning natural heritage; strength in advantaged engineering and cutting-edge industries of the future; and, above all, the talent and potential of our people?

Independence will put the levers that determine success into our hands. Just like those other countries, we can fulfil the vast potential that we have and build the wealthier, fairer, happier country that we know is possible.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

If we are going to get through the questions, the answers are going to have to be significantly shorter.