Spring Statement

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Tuesday March 13 2018

The chancellor must set out impact of Tory Hard Brexit on economy and frontline services.

The SNP’s Westminster Economy spokesperson has said that the Chancellor must use today’s (Tuesday) Spring Statement to provide long overdue economic clarity over the UK government’s Brexit plans.

Kirsty Blackman MP (pictured) warned that the “UK government is asleep at the wheel while Brexit has already started to hit the economy,” and that with Brexit posing the biggest challenge to every nation across the UK, Philip Hammond must address the threats facing the economy, businesses and frontline services.

Analysis by the Financial Times suggests that Brexit is already costing the UK economy £18bn a year (0.9% of GDP) – or £350 million per week.

Last week, Philip Hammond told the EU scrutiny committee in Westminster that the UK government had already spent £700m on Brexit planning for the next two years.

Leaked figures from the UK government’s secret Brexit papers revealed that under the three most likely Brexit scenarios based on existing EU arrangements, all will result in a dramatic rise in borrowing by the UK government.

It has been reported that under EEA rules the UK government’s borrowing will rise to £45bn; over £80bn under free-trade arrangements (FTA), and £120bn under a no-deal hard Brexit.

The SNP Scottish Government published its own economic analysis, Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment, outlining the impact of Brexit on the Scottish economy and making clear that leaving the single market and customs union will significantly weaken Scotland's economy.

The analysis adds that a hard Brexit could lead to a loss of 8.5% of GDP, or £12.7 billion (in 2016 cash terms), in Scotland by 2030 compared to remaining in the EU.

This is equivalent to £2,300 per individual.

Kirsty Blackman MP said:

''Brexit remains the biggest uncertainty hampering economic growth and the Chancellor can no longer duck and dive the key questions.

“The UK government is asleep at the wheel while Brexit has already started to hit the economy.

“Philip Hammond must use the Spring Statement to provide long overdue economic clarity over the UK government’s Brexit plans, and make clear that he will not cut vital public services to fund a Tory extreme Brexit.

“We are edging ever closer to the Brexit abyss, with no plan, no economic analysis, and no impact assessments on different sectors.

“All we know is that the UK government has already set aside £3 billion for Brexit preparations – money that could have been spent towards frontline public services.

"The SNP Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary has already written to Philip Hammond calling on the UK government to meaningfully engage with the Scottish Government on the implications of Brexit – it’s time the Prime Minister and her Chancellor returned to the economic reality of their Brexit plans, get a grip and act before it is too late."



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