Holyrood analysis paints a bleak Brexit for Bute residents

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The SNP government has been told to focus on making a success of Brexit, instead of “willing it to fail and using it to agitate for independence”.

A new economic impact analysis by the Scottish Government, released last week, claims the best way to protect the local economy and household incomes in Argyll and Bute is through Scotland remaining in the Single Market and Customs Union.

According to the analysis, failure by the Tory government to secure a Brexit deal would see Scotland take a £12.7 billion economic hit, equivalent to £2,300 per year for each person in Argyll and Bute. The analysis also shows that a ‘Canada-type’ deal with the EU, with limited access to the Single Market, would still leave locals £1,610 worse off per head.

Other key findings show that remaining in the Single Market could create new opportunities for the local economy in Argyll and Bute to flourish, and that continued freedom of movement is required to support economic growth.

Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara (SNP) said: “Not only does our fishing and agriculture sectors but our NHS and our blossoming tourism industries all rely heavily of free movement. Figures show that EU citizens currently working in Argyll and Bute currently contribute an average of £10,400 in tax revenues.”

Mr O’Hara is urging Labour and Conservative MSPs who represent parts of Argyll and Bute - to stand up for Scotland’s continued place in the single market to protect jobs and household incomes in Argyll and Bute.

He said: “The best way to protect the economy and jobs in Argyll and Bute is to ensure that Scotland remains within the European Single Market and Customs Union.

“This latest analysis by the Scottish Government shows just how important that is for people living in Argyll and Bute – who would be left £2,300 worse off in the result of a hard Brexit scenario that the Tories seem to be on course for.

“We know the Tory position on Brexit but I will be writing to Jeremy Corbyn, the UK leader of the labour party to ask him why his party is intent on pursuing a damaging, Brexit when the facts show just how harmful it will be for families living in Argyll and Bute.”

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “The SNP government has gone completely over-the-top in its scaremongering here.

“As the nationalists proved with their independence White Paper, their financial forecasts simply cannot be trusted.

“It’s vital the SNP works with the UK Government to achieve the best Brexit deal, and not will the process to fail in the hope of furthering its own constitutional obsessions.

“Only last week public opinion in Scotland was shown to be much the same as the rest of the UK.

“People are sick of the wrangling, and want this process concluded efficiently and successfully.”