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UK Departure from EU

Volume 737: debated on Wednesday 13 September 2023

7. What assessment he has made of the potential impact of the UK’s departure from the EU on Scotland. (906285)

The UK Government are focused on opening new international export markets for Scottish businesses. We have trade agreements with 71 non-EU countries and the EU, and those agreements will support growth, jobs and higher wages. The hon. Gentleman will have noted the recently revised numbers, which show that we have recovered better from the pandemic than France, Italy or Germany. Since 2010, the United Kingdom has achieved the third highest rate of growth in the G7—faster than Italy, France, Japan and Germany.

We had a really good trading relationship with the European Union—it was called membership—and 78% of people in Glasgow North, and 62% of people across Scotland, voted to retain it. If Brexit is really delivering the successes that the Secretary of State says it is, why does he think the polls show that those figures would be even higher if the people of Scotland had the choice again?

The recent trading numbers show that we are now doing more trade with the EU in goods and services than we did when we were members.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that we are developing a much better relationship with our former colleagues in the EU, including through agreements such as the Windsor framework, and our accession to the North sea group of countries that co-operate on energy and, more recently, to Horizon and other European programmes? That shows that we are on the right footing to have a good future relationship post Brexit.

Yes. On Horizon, we were patient and did the right deal. It showed the future for British scientists, as well as how important British scientists were to Horizon and how much the EU wanted them to be part of it. My right hon. and learned Friend is right: we have a better relationship, and one that does not cost £22 billion a year.