Michael Russell: rural Scotland ‘hit hardest’.
‘No deal’ could raise electricity bills.
The UK Government must immediately change course to mitigate against the worst impacts of Brexit, Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell has said.
Mr Russell’s comments come following confirmation that electricity trading arrangements with Europe will become less efficient, which could result in higher electricity prices if the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement or transition period.
The UK Government’s latest batch of ‘Technical Notices’, published today, outline preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit and show:
• Consumers could potentially face higher electricity bills as a result of changes to trading arrangements caused by Brexit disruption
• Increased difficulty in recruiting key skilled workers from outside the UK – including doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, vets, teachers and architects – if there is no effective replacement for current arrangements for reciprocal recognition of professional qualifications
• Extra red tape and costs to export Scottish seafood, a sector which supports almost 15,000 high quality jobs; many of which are in remote and rural areas
• Scottish fishermen will be unable to fish in EU and third country waters, or automatically land catches in EU ports
• Potential restrictions on individuals and businesses operating in EU countries, such as restrictions buying real estate
• Consumers will have less protection for purchases from overseas, such as package holidays from EU providers
The Constitutional Relations Secretary said:
“The reality of a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit looms large in this latest guidance from the UK Government.
“Potentially higher electricity prices, difficulties recruiting front line staff for the NHS and other key sectors and damaging disruption to exports will affect everyone in Scotland, but will hit our rural and coastal communities the hardest.
“Scotland did not vote for Brexit and so I call upon the UK Government to immediately change course to mitigate against the worst impacts.
“Staying in the EU would be best but, short of that, the only credible and workable option is to remain in the European Single Market and Customs Union, which is around eight times bigger than the UK market alone.”