MSP says Single Market is best hope for Islands

Alasdair Allan on the road to Rhenigidale, Isle of Harris. European funding allowed the village to be connected to the rest of the island in 1989.
Alasdair Allan on the road to Rhenigidale, Isle of Harris. European funding allowed the village to be connected to the rest of the island in 1989.
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Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan has commented that the Scottish Government’s proposals to keep Scotland in the European Single Market and stop the “national disaster” of a hard Brexit represent the best immediate prospect for the economy of the Western Isles.

The paper – “Scotland’s Place in Europe” – recently published - outlines the SNP’s determination for Scotland to remain in the European single market.

The paper also outlines substantial new powers that should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament as a result of Brexit.

Alasdair Allan, who is Scotland’s Europe Minister, commented: “While we believe that full EU membership remains the best position for Scotland, the SNP have set out compromise proposals which would protect Scotland’s interests and would mitigate the damage Brexit will cause.

“At the heart of our plan is keeping Scotland’s in the European Single Market, which is vital for jobs, investment and our long-term prosperity.

“Even those in the Isles who voted to leave the EU have described the idea of leaving the single market as madness that no one voted for.

“That was a point made top me in the last few days by someone in the islands fishing industry, who had voted to leave the EU.

“Our place in the single market, which is vital for so much of Scotland’s economy, is now threatened by the hard Brexit now being championed by the right-wing of the Tory party.

“Some estimates show that after 10 years, a hard Brexit could mean the loss of 80,000 jobs and an average cut in wages of £2,000 a year.

“Given the level of European funding the Isles have received in the past I fear a hard Brexit would hit us worst of all.

“It makes no sense for the UK to leave the Single Market and the First Minister has outlined how this could be achieved.

“But if that happens we’ve also set out how Scotland could remain in the single market if the rest of the UK leaves.

“And in line with promises made by the Leave campaign and by the UK government since, our proposals include the transfer of substantial powers to the Scottish Parliament.

“The Tory Government at Westminster says Scotland is an equal partner in the UK.

“It’s now time for them to prove that’s the case and back these plans to stop the disaster of a hard Brexit.”