Sturgeon ‘increasingly concerned’ about lack of clarity on Brexit

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “deeply and increasingly” concerned about the lack of clarity on arrangements after the Brexit transition period ends.

Any deal agreed at this point will be “bare bones” and damage the Scottish economy, she said in response to a question from Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

He asked if she could give assurances that Brexit would not result in a shortage of drugs and PPE needed by the NHS.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I am deeply and increasingly concerned at the lack of clarity about the arrangements that will apply at the end of the Brexit transition period in just a matter of weeks’ time.

“We are almost exactly a year on since the general election when the Prime Minister said his deal was oven-ready.

“And here we are, we don’t even know if there’s going to be a deal, and if there is a deal it will be bare bones and minimalist and will do real damage to the Scottish economy and to our society.”

She said she could not give an “absolute assurance” that a no-deal Brexit will not have an impact on the health service.

The First Minister added: “What I can give an assurance of is that the Scottish Government is doing everything within our powers to minimise and mitigate against that impact.”

Contingency work includes ensuring there are adequate stockpiles of medicine, she said, while a UK taskforce is working to make sure there is a supply of coronavirus vaccines beyond January 1.

She said: “Nobody should be under any illusion as to how damaging the end of the transition period is going to be whatever the circumstances but how particularly damaging it’s going to be if there is no deal agreed between the UK and the European Union.”