Mike Russell: Scotland’s ‘Brexit disaster’

Michael Russell — Scottish National Party

Statement by Mike Russell

Problems for Scottish companies ‘multiplying’ in first four weeks.The scale of the damage caused to Scottish businesses as a result of the UK Government’s Brexit deal has been set out by Europe and External Affairs Secretary Michael Russell.

In a statement to parliament Mr Russell said companies had been left ‘toothless’ following the UK Government’s move to make itself – deliberately and permanently – a third country with a more distant, more expensive and less advantageous trading arrangement with its former EU partners.
Mr Russell said the Scottish Government would continue to do all it could to mitigate the impact of Brexit – including backing a call from the food and drink industry for a six month grace period to allow companies more time to cope with the changes. He also urged the UK Government to improve the information it shared on emerging issues at ports.The warnings come just over a month after the UK Government’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union (EU) came into effect on 1 January.

Since then a range of concerns have arisen including: exporters facing new customs controls and  IT systems failures leading to stock delayed and spoiled at ports in the UK and EU. Estimates suggest as much as £1 million a day is being lost by the seafood industry alone significantly reduced freight flows across the Channel with evidence hauliers are avoiding the UK altogether to avoid delays and complicated paperwork the UK Government’s own Reasonable Worst Case Scenario which predicts 142,000 tons of perishable goods including food, feed and drink could be wasted over the next six months because of Brexit border disruptionan estimated £11 million of losses to Scottish seed potato farmers who will no longer be able to export to Europe.

Mr Russell said:“It is an incontrovertible fact that four weeks into the new trading arrangements, the problems for businesses are not diminishing, but multiplying and spreading across different sectors of the economy.“The disruption to the seafood sector has resulted in the damaging delays, huge costs and devastating losses which we feared would be the outcome of becoming an EU third country and dealing with new and untested processes.“ Unfortunately it is not just the fishing part of the food industry that is being impacted. A whole new category of prohibited and restricted goods has been created meaning Scottish exporters can no longer trade their produce freely with the EU.“

Even the UK Government has now admitted that these are not ‘teething issues’ – they are a permanent exclusion from the single market that leaves many businesses in Scotland toothless in a competitive modern economy.“What we ended up with was the hardest of Brexit deals, recklessly pursued at the very depths of the pandemic. That was bound to be a disaster, and it has been.“The Scottish Government will of course continue to do everything in our power to mitigate the impacts of Brexit on this country, its businesses and its communities. Far from being over, the problems created by Brexit are getting worse and we face more difficult times ahead.” 


Last week, the CBI, the British Chambers of Commerce, Make UK, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors issued a statement setting out the substantial difficulties faced by firms adapting to the new customs processes, obstacles to moving goods through the Dover-Calais route and the shortage of informed advice.

The Scottish Government has today announced a new £7.75 million funding package offering support to fishermen, seafood businesses and ports and harbours threatened by the ongoing effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU Exit.
The Scottish Government is calling for the UK Government to agree a common set of data with the devolved administrations to provide the clearest evidence of the impact of Brexit.

17 thoughts on “Mike Russell: Scotland’s ‘Brexit disaster’

    1. The Scottish Government should be learning from the Irish initiative and settting up/re-opening Ferry services direct to Europe, bypassing the landbridge through England


  1. Ah but one must consider our exporters as the front line troops
    And no doubt at the upcoming election they
    Shall turn the most potent of weapons in the form a humble little pencil tied by a piece of a string
    And take precision aim and release the deadly speeding bullet into the correct little ofs upon the paper on the polling booth
    And this is not mutiny,it may be called a awakening and coming to your senses
    Finally realising who you friends truly are
    And how to concentrate your aim against your former friends who now are well and truly your deadliest of Foes


  2. Is anyone else having problems with post/parcels getting to from Scotland right now? We have post within UK and outwith which has seemingly disappeared at the moment. Postage is not cheap. Parcel sent took a while to get to Austrllalia, but to the EU, no luck!!


    1. Postal Service sorting offices in England are decimated by Covid-19 so taking longer as main distribution from abroad comes via South of the border..


  3. Just as well Ian Blackford MP lived up to his word when he said “Scotland will not be dragged out of the EU against its will” then

    Oh right…..

    At least with Joanna Cherry QC MP on the SNP Front Bench as Home Affairs and Justice spokeswoman we can be assured of a robust legal challenge to protect these Scottish companies like when she forced the Tories into an embarrassing U-turn on illegally proroguing parliament.

    Oh, right….

    Does he still believe the Scottish NHS should be privatised?


    1. I was thinking about that, what the hell could the ScotGov do though? An indy ref would have still returned a no vote before Brexit, people only act when something bad hits them personally, in general and it will be apparent in the months to come just how destructive England’s Brexit imposed on Scotland is to the economy, and it will hit people in he pocket, badly. The J.Cherry sacking from the frontline at Westminster is dreadful, she was a force to be reckoned with for sure. It’s done now, Scotland needs a pro independence majority in May, if folks scupper that out of spite or malice (and it’s being manipulated from outwith the party)
      then we can all wave bye bye to independence. Neither a pro indy majority in May or an indy ref are in the bag by any means.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “what the hell could the ScotGov do though? ”

        Use Scottish Sovereignty and the 62% vote to remain in the EU as leverage:

        Either for Scotland to remain in the EU and UK (like NI got)


        Use it as a blocker on Brexit happening for England, full stop.

        The UK Union has two signatories The Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England.

        England voted to leave.

        Scotland voted to remain.

        The Scottish Government could and should IMHO have made the Tories chose between the UK Union or EU Union.

        The English Electorate would have given them shit and told them to cut us loose (they have been conditioned to believe/think we are ungrateful subsidy junkies anyway).

        Job done.


  4. The UK EngGov will never release or agree to a ‘common set of data’ with the devolved parliaments, we can sing for that! They will do the opposite, putting the boot as well, they are laughing their lying scheming troughing heads off at Scotland right now.
    I hope every single person resident in Scotland who suffers the effects of Brexit and their country being dragged out iof the EU, votes for the SNP in May and then independence.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Contemporary British constitutionalism considers Westminster to have always possessed legal authority over Scotland, which simply re-writes history in a manner that denies the source of Westminster’s legal authority over Scotland, i.e. Scotland’s political choice to join in equal political union with England.

    So by enabling Brexit, Westminster is insisting that Britain is One Nation and not a unitary state, which constitutes a non-cognitive act of patricide through the law. Please try to remember the British constitution was political in nature, articulated through the Common law and Natural law. It was not a codified legal constitution and can not be used legally too imprison Scotland. Please also try to remember that forcing legal change on Scotland that will harm Scots, simply isn’t compatible with the rule-of-law or liberal democracy.

    Click to access the_rule_of_law_and_the_brexit.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Though informative, I’m not sure if my previous source hit the nail on the head.

    The British constitution only retains legal force if it respects the common law, and the Treaty law that empowered Westminster. Which Brexit simply ignores. Put simply, Brexit constitutes a coupe against deliberative constitutional democracy, that denies Scots the legal right to legal rights.

    Brexit, Human Rights and the Role of Constitutional Culture


  7. The British constitution only retains legal force if it respects the common law, and the Treaty law that empowered Westminster. Which Brexit simply ignores. Put simply, Brexit constitutes a coupe against historically grounded deliberative constitutional democracy, which denies Scots the legal right to legal rights.

    Brexit, Human Rights and the Role of Constitutional Culture

    Liked by 1 person

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