Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur has praised the ambition of Renfrewshire’s recently published Economic Strategy, while also highlighting the risks Brexit presents to the local economy and the strategy itself.
The strategy sets out ambitions and actions to achieve sustained, inclusive growth of the Renfrewshire economy over the next 10 years, including plans to invest £1.4 billion in innovation, economic infrastructure and skills; add over 9000 jobs to the economy; and grow the working age population by 5000 people.
In the chamber last week (Thursday 31 October), Mr Arthur asked Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, Derek Mackay MSP, how the Scottish Government is supporting the economy in his constituency of Renfrewshire South. He also took the opportunity to express concerns that Boris Johnson’s damaging Brexit deal may put the work contained within Renfrewshire’s Economic Strategy 2020-2030 might be put at risk.
In his response, the Cabinet Secretary highlighted the positive influence of the National Economic Action Plan in supporting a competitive business environment, including investment in a highly skilled workforce and a diverse economy, but also echoed concerns about the impact Brexit will have on local economies in Scotland, not least in Renfrewshire.
Responding in the chamber, Cabinet Secretary Derek Mackay said:
“I agree with the concern and we are not alone in being concerned about the impact Brexit will have on the economies across Scotland, not least in Renfrewshire. It was very positive work with the Council around the economic plan for the area, where the Government as a partner is making the right interventions and investments to help grow our economy in a sustainable way. Yet, on the very same day of the launch, a co-chair was a businessman from the Scottish Leather Group who was announcing 100 new jobs in Renfrewshire and who also expressed concern about the threat of Brexit.
“So when you hear people like Boris Johnson talking about “getting Brexit done”, what that means is doing in people’s jobs across Scotland when we are trying to do so much to grow our economy in a responsible way.”
New analysis from the Scottish Government, released today, has found that Boris Johnson’s revised Brexit deal would leave people across Renfrewshire South the equivalent of £1,600-a-person worse off by 2030.
The analysis also found that Scotland’s GDP would fall by around £9 billion compared to projections if we stayed in the EU.
Commenting, Tom Arthur MSP said:
“I was delighted to join SNP colleagues at the recent launch of Renfrewshire’s ambitious and bold economic strategy for the coming two decades – a landmark achievement in supporting future economic success in the area and a testament to the positive collaboration between Renfrewshire’s SNP-led council and local partners.
“It is disheartening to think that any of this positive work might be undone by the unwanted effects of Brexit.
“This new analysis has made clear that any form of Brexit will inflict major harm on Scotland’s economy – costing hard working families £1,600 per person.
“We can’t let Boris Johnson cut us off from the world, putting thousands of jobs at stake in the process. It’s time for action not words – let’s use this election to send Westminster a message that we’ve had enough.”
MSP for Paisley, George Adam, added:
“The work of the Economic Leadership Panel is something we should recognize.
“Scottish Leather Group will bring 100 jobs to Paisley next year, expanding in the future, good news for our local economy.
“This economic strategy, along with the potential benefits to those in Renfrewshire should not be put at risk by the choices that Brexit it putting before us. Even the most ardent advocates of Brexit realise that there are no economic benefits with Brexit. We, ourselves, must drive the economy and protect families and jobs for the future as there is little interest from those driving ahead with their dogmatic agenda.”