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Leaving the EU: Scotland

Volume 653: debated on Tuesday 29 January 2019

6. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Scotland on the economic effect on Scotland of the UK leaving the EU customs union and single market. (908869)

The Prime Minister’s deal delivers the ability to negotiate free trade agreements with third-party countries and to protect trade with the EU. So I suggest that the SNP backs the deal, rather than try to stop Brexit.

Will the Minister confirm that we do not actually know any of the full economic effects because the Treasury has not conducted an economic analysis of the Prime Minister’s deal? On that basis, can it really be the Government’s view, as the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary told me a couple of weeks ago, that other European countries will be looking enviously at the UK’s position?

It is an absolute cheek for SNP Members to claim that there is an issue with our deal, given that they want to break up the UK. Some 61% of Scotland’s external sales are actually to the rest of the United Kingdom.

In Scotland, goods exports to non-EU countries are higher than those to EU countries, so does my right hon. Friend agree that because of the trade deals that this Government are seeking to strike, Scotland will benefit from that growth?

My hon. Friend is correct. Of course, Scotch whisky is one of our flagship exports right across the world. We have the opportunity to renegotiate some very high tariffs and make it even more of a bestseller.

The Government’s deal was rejected by a record vote in the House. Business leaders in Scotland and across the UK want the Government to rule out any prospect of no deal, and the Chancellor told business leaders that that was possible, so why have the Government not ruled out any prospect of no deal?

It is important that we keep no deal on the table to get a better deal from the EU. I strongly encourage the hon. Gentleman to support our deal as the best way to take no deal off the table.

Quite clearly, the Union of the UK is vital to the prosperity of Scotland and the border area. Does the Chief Secretary to the Treasury agree that Government initiatives, such as the borderlands growth initiative, also make a vital contribution to the prosperity and success of the region?

My hon. Friend makes a good point. The borderlands deal is an important way of stimulating growth across the border area, although it would also help if the Scottish National party Government followed through in Scotland on things such as the tax cuts we have introduced elsewhere in the UK.