Scottish Government kept in dark about no-deal plans

Tuesday 8th October 2019

Boris Johnson’s government is keeping Scottish ministers in the dark about its no-deal Brexit plans, deputy first minister John Swinney said today.

An overview of contingency plans published claims planning for no-deal-related disruption has been ‘unnecessarily difficult’ because the Scottish Government has been frozen out of the process.

It reveals Scottish ministers have been invited to just eight of more than 50 UK-level meetings to prepare for Brexit.

Speaking to MSPs, John Swinney said engagement with the Scottish Government had been ‘inadequate’ and accused UK ministers of not sharing their work with counterparts north of the border.

This comes after a report by top UK auditors said no-deal Brexit stocks were ‘unknown’.

Scottish Government plans published today warn disruption to food, medicines and medical devices supplies that come through the Dover-Calais crossing is ‘likely’ on day one of a no deal Brexit.

Radioisotopes used to diagnose some diseases and treat cancers are also at risk.

The report warns regulatory changes that come about as a result of Brexit could lead to delays in access to new drugs and even medicines shortages.

Meanwhile new medicines are ‘likely’ to get more expensive.

In Holyrood today Mr Swinney said: “The document we have published today sets out not just the measures we are taking to mitigate the worst impacts of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, but also the areas where we require action from the UK Government.

“It is the product of an extensive programme of work. It is important, though, to be clear that there is no amount of preparation that could ever make us entirely ready for the needless and significant impact of a ‘no-deal’.

“There is no doubt that a ‘no-deal’ outcome would have profound consequences for jobs, investment and living standards across Scotland. To even countenance ‘no-deal’ is illogical and economically illiterate. The UK Government should do the responsible thing and rule it out now.”