Following the publication today of the UK Government’s plans to establish an independent tariff policy, Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell has warned of the problems inherent in the proposals.
“Today’s announcement – made with no prior consultation with Scotland or the other devolved administrations – presents further evidence of the UK Government’s reckless approach to Brexit.
“First of all, there is simply not enough time to put the necessary arrangements in place to pass these measures. Had the UK Government acted in good time then that would not be the case.
“Secondly, if we leave the EU with ‘no deal’ then it will have to impose the same tariffs on us as they do on other third countries.
“That would make trade with our European neighbours far more expensive and problematic than at present. The UK Government has itself conceded that this could mean a loss of almost £2 billion annually to the UK’s food and drink sector.
“Of course, were Scotland to remain with the EU customs union, we would continue to enjoy minimal delays to trade or tariffs as well as reaping the benefits of other preferential economic agreements which EU members enjoy.
“Any type of Brexit will have a negative impact on Scotland’s economy – and what is becoming increasingly apparent is that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be disastrous.”