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Scottish Government claims it has been left out of no-deal planning

Deputy First Minister John Swinney.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

The Holyrood and Westminster governments have slammed one another’s no-deal Brexit planning, 22 days before the UK is set to leave the EU.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney presented the Scottish Government’s no-deal planning report to Holyrood in a special statement yesterday, claiming he had not had sight of UK preparations since the Yellowhammer release in August.

The minister responsible for the UK Government’s no-deal planning, Michael Gove MP, accused the Scottish Government of being “miserly” over its payments to local authorities to help them deal with preparations.

Mr Swinney told the Scottish Parliament plans had been drawn up for the old port at Stranraer to be used to hold up to 300 HGVs in the event of increased traffic flows between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

He said farmers and crofters were receiving 95% of their Common Agricultural Policy payments early to shield them from the immediate effects of a no-deal and consideration was being given to increasing Marine Scotland’s surveillance capabilities.

The Scottish Government has accused its UK counterparts of being “unnecessarily difficult” in failing to involve it in strategic planning.

Mr Swinney said: “The document sets out not just the measures we are taking to mitigate the worst impacts of 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.”

In a statement made on Tuesday in the House of Commons, Mr Gove said: “The Scottish Government have published their own no-deal preparations and I scanned them in detail and I can’t see, actually, that money has gone to the local authorities most in need.

“A miserly £50,000 has gone to each local authority in Scotland. That is not enough to ensure that local authorities like Aberdeenshire have the capacity to issue the export health certificates that the fishing industry needs.

“I am deeply worried that the Scottish Government, despite containing many good ministers, is not passing on the money that we are giving to them for Scotland’s citizens.”

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