Angus Robertson: Leavers are concerned about hard Tory Brexit
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The SNP made the plea following a number of events this week which were blamed on the UK’s departure from the European Union. Edinburgh also ramped up the pressure on London to take urgent policy action following crunch talks between Brexit minister Lord Frost and External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson.
This week, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) warned it faced a shortfall of 100,000 drivers as many drivers returned to EU countries causing food shortages for a number of items including crisps across key supermarkets.
Meanwhile, statistics released this week revealed the number of students from Europe who have been accepted onto a university course in Scotland has more than halved compared to last year due to Brexit.
According to UCAS, the percentage of students living in Europe who have applied to study at universities in Scotland has dropped by 56 percent compared to 2020.
New analysis from the House of Commons Library also showed Brexit is costing the whisky industry £5 million per week.
UK exports of whiskies to the EU were £105.7 million lower in January-May 2021 than in January-May 2019, figures also showed.
In a statement, a Scottish Government spokesman added today: “These issues are a consequence of the UK Government’s decision to leave not just the European Union but the single market and customs union, a move Scottish people emphatically rejected at the EU referendum.
“The Scottish Government is using all the levers at its disposal to help exporters overcome these unprecedented challenges and, through its export growth plan, A Trading Nation, is driving continued internationalisation of businesses in Scotland.
“Officials regularly raise with the UK Government the negative impacts that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is having on businesses in Scotland and will continue to do so to protect business interests.
“The UK Government should re-engage in good faith with the EU to find pragmatic solutions.
“Where these create additional new costs or obstacles, the UK Government needs to be honest about their impact and clear on additional support it will provide.
Ian Blackford MP, SNP Westminster leader, added: “Scotland did not vote for this [Brexit].
“We have an alternative, the time will come in this parliament when those in Scotland will have the right to determine our future as a European nation.
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“We have the mandate and it will be used. I ask those in Scotland to join us in our journey.”
A UK Government spokesperson said: “The impact of the Covid pandemic and restrictions across Europe has affected trade and depressed demand, so it is too early to draw firm conclusions on the impacts of our new trading relationship with the EU.
“We continue to help businesses get the support they need to trade effectively with Europe, including by running export helplines and webinars with experts, providing financial support to SMEs and delaying the introduction of full import controls.”
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