The SNP at Westminster has called for Scotland to be given “compensation” for the economic effects of Brexit.
The party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has described leaving the European Union, which was finalised on December 31, as an “act of economic vandalism”.
The Scottish Government has said changes to customs and exports could cost the UK £7 billion annually, while Constitution Secretary Mike Russell has said Scotland’s GDP could drop by 6 per cent in the next decade.
It is not clear how much compensation the SNP believes Scotland should receive, but the number runs into billions.
“It is completely unforgivable”
The Westminster leader said: “It is completely unforgivable that Scotland is being forced to pay such a devastating high price for Boris Johnson’s extreme Tory Brexit deal, with mounting costs, red tape and disruption.
“The Tories must apologise to Scottish businesses and pay compensation to Scotland for the long-term damage they are doing to our economy – costing us billions in lost trade and growth.
“This disastrous Tory Brexit was a completely unnecessary act of economic vandalism, which has been inflicted against Scotland’s will. It is now beyond doubt that the only way to protect Scotland’s interests and our place in Europe is to become an independent country.
“With businesses, industries and communities across Scotland warning of rising costs, bureaucracy and delays, it is clear Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has already left the UK poorer and worse off – with absolutely no benefit to Scotland at all. Every promise has been broken.”
“Every promise has been broken”
Mr Blackford added that Scots should be allowed to vote in another referendum for Scottish independence.
“The UK Government must now provide an urgent multibillion (pound) package of compensation to Scotland to mitigate the lasting Brexit harm done to Scottish businesses, industries and communities,” he said.
“Scotland has been completely ignored by Westminster throughout the Brexit process. People in Scotland have the right to determine our own future, protect our interests, and regain the full benefits of EU membership as an independent country.”
Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Dean Lockhart accused the SNP of “stirring up grievances” when the Scottish Government has received “hundreds of millions of pounds” from Westminster.
He added: “More than four years after the vote to leave the EU, the SNP have failed in their duty to support firms in Scotland in getting ready for the new trading arrangements.
“They are not being transparent about where they have spent the significant funding they have received in preparation money from the UK Government.
“The SNP are also sitting on more than £700 million of additional Covid business support funding that has recently come from the UK Chancellor. Not a single penny of this has yet been delivered to firms struggling massively from lockdown restrictions.”
Mr Lockhart branded the calls for another independence referendum “reckless” while there was an ongoing pandemic.
He concluded: “And on Brexit, the SNP should be actively helping Scottish firms deal with the new arrangements instead of sitting on the sidelines and using the situation to create yet further divisions.”