New analysis shows that billions of pounds would be wiped from the Scottish economy, already hit hard by the coronavirus, if the UK Government refuses to extend the Brexit transition period.
The transition arrangements currently keep the UK close to the EU and can be extended for two years – beyond 31 December - if the UK Government asks for an extension by the end of this month.
But a new study from the Scottish Government says that the cumulative loss of economic activity from leaving the EU would be up to £3 billion over two years – on top of the devastating effects of the Coronavirus outbreak.
If an extension is not agreed, Scottish GDP may decrease by 1.1% during that time.
The paper indicates there will be further major costs from Brexit for years to come and also highlights that without an extension or having a free trade deal in place, Scotland’s agriculture, fisheries and manufacturing sectors will be especially badly hit.
Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, Mike Russell MSP, said:
“Given the huge economic hit caused by Coronavirus it would be an act of extraordinary recklessness for the UK Government to refuse to seek an extension.
“The Scottish Government believes the best future for Scotland is to be an independent member of the EU - but regardless of people’s views on independence or Brexit, it makes no sense to impose additional damage on Scotland’s economy at this, of all times.
“I believe there is a growing common-sense coalition to press for an extension to avoid such a disastrous outcome and the needless damage it would do to Scottish jobs and our economy.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“The EU’s Chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, already wrote to MPs last week to make it clear that the EU remains open to extending the negotiations by one or two years, but it will have to be agreed in writing before 01 July.
“Having dragged Scotland out of the EU, the least the Tories can do is try to limit the damage they are foisting upon our economy and people in the aftermath. We know they seem hellbent on a no-deal Brexit, but even the most die-hard Brexiteer must acknowledge that the current pandemic has put us in a more precarious position.
“I can only hope the UK Tory Government listens to our calls.”