SPFL among organisations concerned with Brexit impact

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Scottish businesses from football to farming have voiced their fears about the impact of Brexit on staffing, profitability and growth.

A Scottish Government report draws together the concerns of firms and calls for their voices to be heard as the UK negotiates leaving the European Union (EU).

SPFL, whose headquarters are at Hampden Park, are concerned with the prospect of Brexit, according to report. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

SPFL, whose headquarters are at Hampden Park, are concerned with the prospect of Brexit, according to report. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The report says uncertainty is already impacting on some sectors such as aviation, with Glasgow Airport warning airlines could lose the legal framework to fly some routes without new agreements being agreed pre-Brexit.

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Managing director Amanda McMillan said: “A number of airlines have stated they will scale back their UK growth plans, focusing instead on adding capacity at airports in the EU.

“This has the potential to undermine Scotland’s connectivity.”

The ability to attract and retain staff is cited as a major concern for many businesses, including shortbread firm Walkers of Aberlour, which employs around 500 seasonal workers from the EU.

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The freedom of movement is also a concern for the Scottish Professional Football League, which says the existing flexibility to employ players from Europe and around the globe greatly benefits Scottish clubs.

At the University of Edinburgh 26 per cent of university staff and 15 per cent of students come from the EU, while Angus Growers warn there is already a 5-10 per cent shortage of workers in the soft fruit sector.

Firms are also worried about future opportunities narrowing as a result of leaving the EU, with television production company Maramedia saying it would struggle to maintain its production base in Scotland without vital EU funding.

Tidal energy company Nova Innovation said access to EU markets, supply chain and free movement of people, would have an impact on future success, while the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) said remaining in the single market would allow important trade relationships to grow.

Scotland’s Brexit Minister Michael Russell said: “This report articulates the concerns of Scottish businesses as the Brexit clock ticks towards the UK’s departure from the EU.

“It is clear that there is a great deal at stake for every business. Their voices must be listened to before irreversible decisions are taken.”

Scottish Labour’s Brexit spokesman, Lewis Macdonald MSP, said: “The Tories are presiding over a shambolic Brexit negotiation and it is no surprise businesses in Scotland are concerned.

“Theresa May’s government is offering no certainty about maintaining crucial economic ties with the EU, nor is it willing to even guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK, who are vital to our economy.”

Green MSP Ross Greer said: “The risk to Scotland’s economy from the Tories’ Hard Brexit is becoming starker each day.

“Employers and unions have rightly been calling for our 180,000 EU citizens to be guaranteed the right to remain whatever the outcome of negotiations.

“Given Scotland’s unique need to grow our working population, for the sake of our public services and our economy, this uncertainty needs to end.”