We will seek to mitigate, as far as possible, the impacts of the UK leaving the EU, whether as a managed move after a period of transition, or as a result of a No Deal exit.
We understand that Brexit presents real challenges for many of Scotland’s people, businesses, organisations and communities. These may be particularly acute for the rural economy given challenges around demographics and population, the supply of labour and the dependence in some sectors on the Common Agricultural Policy.
We believe Scotland’s future is best served by continued EU membership, in line with the wishes of the Scottish people as expressed in the referendum in 2016.
We have worked tirelessly since the 2016 EU referendum to prevent the UK leaving the EU. We have published compromise proposals, including the proposal that the UK remains in the Single Market and Customs Union.
As we set out in ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment’, membership of the Single Market and Customs Union delivers economic benefits to Scotland. Brexit will significantly weaken our economy and result in slower economic growth and lower incomes than otherwise. Similarly, as set out in ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe: Science and Research’, our world-leading role in research and innovation, which so much depends on international collaboration, is under threat. A Brexit which results in the UK being outside the European Single Market and Customs Union would have the most damaging consequences for Scotland.
Leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will also compromise the vast range of common economic, social, consumer, and environmental standards that we have become accustomed to as a member of the EU. This is not acceptable to the Scottish Government nor, we believe, to the people of Scotland.
Taking action to mitigate impacts, the Prepare for Brexit campaign, led by the enterprise and skills agencies, will help businesses, and their key partners such as universities and colleges, review their plans in light of Brexit to ensure they can continue to develop their workforce, grow their business, export, innovate and access finance and investment. We have also established the Stay in Scotland campaign to provide information, advice and support to EU citizens and produced a toolkit for employers and individuals.