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UK Internal Market Bill

Volume 681: debated on Tuesday 29 September 2020

What recent discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the Scottish Government on the economic effect on businesses of the UK Internal Market Bill. (906772)

Ministers have clearly set out the benefits to all UK businesses of ensuring that goods and services can flow freely across the UK. That is in Scotland’s interests, given that it exports more to the rest of the UK than to the EU. The hon. Gentleman will have noticed that I have spent about 12 hours on these Benches with the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich North (Chloe Smith), having discussions and debating this issue.

Businesses in my Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency and across Scotland benefit from not only the most competitive business rates regime in the UK but vital schemes such as the transition training fund, the inward investment scheme and a half-billion pound infrastructure plan. With the internal market Bill allowing UK Ministers to spend in devolved areas, what guarantees can the Minister give that such expenditure will not result in a consequential reduction in essential Scottish Government funding, putting such schemes at risk?

Spending from the UK Government will be complementary to that coming from the Scottish Government. We want to add to that and to make sure that the UK economy can flourish. Scottish business will be at risk without the regulatory certainty of this Bill, so we want to prevent additional layers of complexity.