Scottish Government requests £52m to prepare for no-deal Brexit

The Scottish Government has requested £52 million from a contingency fund to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Money from the EU Exit Operational Contingency Fund has been made available ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union on October 31.

The UK Government has said it would be available where Scotland faces disproportionate costs.

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay used the request to reiterate his Government’s opposition to any form of Brexit, and also asked that additional costs associated with it are met – including those beyond October 31.

Mr Mackay said: “The UK Government now seems to be actively pursuing a ‘no-deal’ outcome which is utterly unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs.

“We have requested £52 million from the UK Government’s fund to help us prepare for a ‘no-deal’ outcome.

“This is the minimum requirement for operational activity but the real costs of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit will massively outweigh these and further funding will be required.

“Exiting the EU was not Scotland’s choice and the Scottish Government has been clear that any related costs must be covered by the UK Government.

“The Scottish Government should not have to cut spending on public services to fund Brexit preparations.

“As a responsible government, we are already taking steps to protect jobs and our economy from a ‘no-deal’ Brexit and we will set out those plans to Parliament shortly but we are facing additional and disproportionate costs to mitigate the impact of such an outcome.

“We will continue make the case for staying in the EU and will stand firm against efforts to take us out against our will.”

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay (Jane Barlow/PA)

The request includes funding to support the effect of no-deal on rural communities, increased demand on Marine Scotland and Police Scotland activities, additional communication to EU citizens in the country, and poverty mitigation measures.

A Scottish Conservatives spokesman said: “In 2016, the UK electorate voted to leave the EU.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives have worked to prevent no-deal by supporting a deal.

“The SNP were given £92 million for our councils to prepare for Brexit.

“Yet there is no evidence Scottish local authorities have received anything at all.”

It comes after Scotland’s chief economist on Friday predicted a potential £2 billion loss of investment because of Brexit.

Gary Gillespie compared the level of business investment expected without the lack of clarity caused by Brexit with new forecasts of how the landscape could look if negotiations with the EU continue.

Forecasts up to April 2020 in the Scottish Government’s quarterly State of the Economy Report show £500 million of investment could be wiped out if uncertainty continues with the figure rising by the end of the year.

A spokeswoman for the UK Government said: “We have allocated the Scottish Government nearly £140 million in funding for EU exit preparation.

“We will consider the Scottish Government’s further bid under the £1 billion Operational Contingency Fund in the usual way.”

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