Greenock and Inverclyde MSP, Stuart McMillan, has called on the UK government to extend the Brexit negotiation deadline to avoid a further big economic hit on top of the coronavirus crisis, and to ensure that every effort is put towards tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UK has formally left the European Union but is currently in a “transition period.” This means it is following EU rules and therefore has full access to the European market – which will be vital for the economy when the coronavirus crisis eases.
A two-year extension to this transition period is on offer but the UK Government is continuing with complex negotiations, at the height of the crisis, which could mean the UK leaving with either no trade deal in place or a very limited deal at the end of this year.
According to a report by the Chief Economist, the economic impact of the efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic could see GDP fall by around a third.
If the UK Government continues to pursue its Brexit plans, Scotland’s economy faces further economic damage – a loss, compared with EU membership, of up to £12.7 billion – the equivalent of £2,300 for every person in Scotland by 2030.
Commenting, Stuart said:
“Businesses in my constituency and across Scotland simply do not have the capacity to prepare for Brexit when they are fighting to survive the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
“People will be understandably concerned about this, so it’s imperative that the UK Government does the responsible thing and requests an extension to the transition period to avoid even more economic and social damage.
“The UK Government must put people before politics and change course and listen to the public’s concerns on this.”