Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur has exposed the potential dangers facing Scottish businesses in in light of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
On Monday 21 October, the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee, of which Mr Arthur is a member, took evidence from Michael Gove MP on Brexit.
Tom Arthur MSP took the opportunity to confront Mr Gove about potential implications of the UK Government’s proposed deal for businesses in his Renfrewshire South constituency and across Scotland.
Mr Arthur highlighted his scepticism over the UK Government’s position that a comprehensive free-trade agreement with the European Union could be negotiated and ratified in a little over 12 months’ time; making plain the inequalities Scottish businesses would face should the UK Government fail to secure this deal.
In response, Mr Gove conceded that Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal gives Northern Irish businesses easier access to the European Single Market than businesses in Scotland, thereby confirming a competitive disadvantage for those in Scotland trading with the EU at least until a free trade deal is reached, if not indefinitely.
Commenting after the meeting, Tom Arthur MSP said:
“A clear majority of people in Scotland voted to remain in the European Union, and Scotland is the only part of the United Kingdom whose preference is ultimately not being recognised.
“Mr Gove offered no tangible assurances to businesses in Scotland that, if a free trade deal is not negotiated by the end of next year, they will not be put at a disadvantage. I am confident that nothing said in response to my questioning will put the minds of my constituents at ease.
“Yesterday’s remarks make it all the more clear that the UK Government is ignoring Scotland’s voice and risking serious damage, not only to our businesses, but to communities in all sectors.”