Skip to main content

Economic Development: Cross-border Co-operation

Volume 635: debated on Wednesday 24 January 2018

3. What plans the Government have to further cross-border co-operation on economic development between Scotland and the rest of the UK. (903400)

Today’s figures from the Scottish Government again show that Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK is worth nearly four times that with the EU. We know that more than half a million Scottish jobs depend on the vital UK internal market, and that people in Scotland want a UK-wide approach to trade. As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it is essential that we ensure that the important UK internal market can continue unimpeded.

My right hon. Friend will be aware that the First Minister of Scotland recently said that,

“independence must be an option”,

highlighting once again some people’s interest in separation, not governing. Does my right hon. Friend agree that keeping separation on the table makes constructive, co-operative working difficult, and that opportunities will be missed both for Scotland and the UK as a result?

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. It has just become absolutely clear that when Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are asked what they want from Brexit, the answer is another independence referendum.

Brexit poses the biggest risk to Scotland’s economy. If the Government want to show co-operation with the Scottish Government, does the Secretary of State agree that the sectoral reports that are available to MPs in this place should also be made available to MSPs?

I understood that they had been made available to MSPs. If that is not the case, I will ensure that it is.

This week, Moray Council discussed the projects that will be included in the ambitious Moray growth deal. The Secretary of State knows of my strong support for the bid, so will he join me in Moray to meet the people involved in the Moray growth deal bid, to show the UK Government’s commitment to take these from proposals to projects delivered?

These growth deals and city deals across Scotland are very important to the economy as we prepare to leave the EU. I am excited by the proposals that have been brought forward by stakeholders in Moray and I would be delighted to visit with my hon. Friend.

Does the Secretary of State agree that today’s export statistics show the importance to Scotland of remaining in both the EU and the UK, despite the SNP’s latest attempt to break that link by taking down the flag?

The hon. Lady will expect that I will agree with part of what she said. Of course, as the people of Scotland voted, Scotland must remain in the UK and benefit from the UK internal market, but the people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the EU, and we are leaving the EU.