Brexit has already cost Scotland's economy £3.94billion, we deserve better - Drew Hendry MP

As we count down to Christmas, let’s reflect on the impact Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit has had on Scotland and the UK.

We are a year on from the Brexit agreement
We are a year on from the Brexit agreement

The last twelve months have seen businesses face unnecessary red tape, dodgy trade deals, empty shelves, whole sectors sold out, standards ripped up, costly vanity projects, and household incomes fall.

In January, it became clear how much red tape and bureaucracy businesses would face after Brexit. In the eight months after Brexit, firms filled in 48 million customs declarations and 140,000 export health certificates. All of this added paperwork brings extra costs and unnecessary stress for businesses.

In February, despite all the appeals for help for Scotland's businesses and exporters - particularly our Fishing community - we saw ZERO interest from the UK government in working with the Scottish Government. They rejected all proposals put to them by the SNP and Scottish Government regarding the action needed.

In March, the UK government postponed important controls on imports,, such as biosecurity, animal and plant disease checks. The announcement came the day before the Office for National Statistics reported a 41 per cent drop in exports to the EU in January. On the 15th December, the UK government announced it had been postponed again.

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April 2021 saw the collapse of negotiations on total annual catches with Norway, and the fishing industry sold out by the Tory government again.

As we headed into summer, supermarket shelves started to empty, certain goods ran out and warnings came of the effects of losing EU workers as a result of Brexit. Indeed, this summer saw the first prediction from farmers that there might not be enough turkeys for Christmas due to a shortage of pluckers

In July, our farmers were sold out in the 'New Zealand trade deal, following the earlier revelations on the Australia deal. A reminder that UK's Brexit losses is 178 times any possible gains from new Free Trade Deals.

By August, Boris’ so-called "oven ready deal" had still not materialised and his ‘Global Britain’ continued to flounder. And rather than "levelling up", businesses in Scotland continued to be punished by the UK's trade failures.

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In September, Boris Johnson and the Tories finally gave up the pretence on the fantasy project of a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Like so many of their other broken promises, it was never going to happen.

By October, there was still no sign of the UK government’s promised 'independent body' to scrutinise post-Brexit trade deals. All the while, work on Trade Deals that would reduce food and other standards ploughed on.

November and December saw the Tory made cost-of living crisis worsen, with household incomes still taking a hit after Brexit, the impact of the Universal Credit cut and soaring energy and food prices

All of this Brexit mess stems from an ideological desire to wilfully cut ties with neighbouring markets, which means there are no obstacles, no standards, no workers' rights, or even respect for human rights that will stand in this Tory government’s way of achieving its aim to isolate Britain on the world stage.

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The Tory government decided bringing in a 12 point plan for exports would be helpful after Brexit. Instead of recognising the damaging impacts of Brexit the plan simultaneously demands more trade and innovation whilst ignoring the warnings and voices of industry experts, Parliamentarians and devolved administrations.

If a plan doesn't acknowledge or address the challenges it needs to overcome, then it's not a plan – it's just PR spin with no substance. Scotland deserves better than this.

Brexit has already cost Scotland's economy £3.94billion and is projected to cost every person the equivalent of £1,600 in red tape and barriers to trade compared to EU membership.

We cannot continue to afford to stay in a union that is manufacturing only downsides. This ‘12 point plan’ shows us that the Tories have no answer as to how to tackle the Brexit mess of their own making.

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That is why Scotland must have a say over its future with an independence referendum. We must be given the opportunity to get off this sinking ship, caused by a Tory government and a Brexit we didn’t vote for.

Drew Hendry is an SNP MP and the party’s international trade spokesman at Westminster