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The Great Brexit Con Trick

The old UK parties, Tory, Labour and Lib Dems, have reconciled themselves to life outside the EU, regardless of any damage being inflicted. None are arguing for a future in the EU anymore.  That is a huge contrast with the much more outward looking SNP. We want Independence in Europe. 

Consider recent events. Just over three short months ago on Christmas Eve, 2020, the UK and the EU concluded a Trade and Cooperation Agreement regulating their future trading relationship. What have been the consequences? Here are a few highlights.

Exporters of goods now face a hard customs and regulatory border between the EU and the UK. A recent estimate suggests that the extra red tape could cost Scottish businesses well over £1 billion a year.

Those that follow the debate will know too that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement has created a customs border in the middle of the Irish sea, creating additional problems for businesses that trade with Northern Ireland.

The movement of people has been constrained. Scots and EU citizens no longer have the right to go to the other’s territory to work and live there on the same basis as before. Piecemeal visa-waiver arrangements and national right-to-work rules are now in force. UK professional services providers, such as doctors, engineers and architects, have lost their ability to automatically work in the EU; they must have their qualifications recognized in each EU member state where they want to work.  Scotland needs to be open and attract many professional and skilled people. The UK is shutting the door.

Significantly, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not include meaningful provisions for trade in services, which make up some 80% of the economy.  Scotland has a long history of providing financial services globally.  It is now caught up in the UK’s Brexit mess. We are already losing jobs and investment to the EU. Even before January 2021, Ernst and Young estimated UK banks had shifted well over £1 trillion in assets and sovereign debt trading to cities such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Milan.

Thousands of jobs have already been moved to various EU cities such as Dublin, Luxembourg, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam.

The UK’s Office for Budget responsibility has claimed the immediate cost to the UK of lost access to the EU will be about 1% of national income. Over 15 years, it also estimates Brexit will leave us facing a further 4% loss of potential gross domestic product compared to what would have been by remaining an EU member. These official estimates are thought by some experts to be overly optimistic!

Scotland has a choice.  Join me in making that choice for jobs and investment in Scotland.  Make it Michelle Thomson for Falkirk East.


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