Maree Todd MSP calls for Brexit extension to safeguard Scots economy
A Highlands and Islands MSP has called for the Brexit transition period to be extended, in order to protect the Scottish economy as it recovers from the coronavirus crisis.
Maree Todd MSP believes billions of pounds could be wiped from the nation’s economy if the UK Government does not grant the extension.
Ms Todd explained that the transition arrangements can be extended for two years — beyond December 31 — if the UK Government asks for an extension by the end of this month.
The SNP list MSP highlighted a new study from the Scottish Government, which states that if an extension is not agreed, Scottish GDP could be up to 1.1 per cent lower after two years.
According to Ms Todd, the study suggests that the cumulative loss of economic activity from leaving the EU would be up to £3 billion over those two years — on top of the devastating effects of the Coronavirus outbreak. It also 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.
Ms Todd said: “Coronavirus is causing enormous economic disruption and people across the Highlands & Islands expect government to be focused on protecting public health and the Scottish economy.
“It would be an act of extraordinary recklessness for the UK government to allow us to crash out of the transition period at the end of this year.
“The SNP believe the best future for Scotland is as an independent member of the EU.
“But regardless of your opinion on Brexit or independence, it makes no sense to crash out of the European single market at precisely the moment we need stability.
“Businesses in the Highlands & Islands are focused on securing their future — they simply don’t have the capacity to prepare for Brexit on top of a pandemic.
“The UK government must do the sensible thing, protect jobs in the Highlands and Islands and extend the transition period.”