Derek Mackay claims Scotland "sold out" by Brexit process

THE UK government has been accused of "shortchanging and ripping off Scotland" as the country prepares to leave the European Union.

Scotland’s finance secretary, Derek Mackay, said that the country had been "sold out" during the Brexit process while other parts of the UK were "bought off" with "bungs".

He claimed the Scottish Government should have received more than £3.3 billion when Northern Ireland was given £1bn for Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) support for the minority Tory government.

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And Mr Mackay said that "the DUP are probably heading for another bung" to ensure Mrs May’s Brexit deal finally goes through.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay says Scotland has been "sold out" during the Brexit process.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay says Scotland has been "sold out" during the Brexit process.

Giving his official response to Chancellor Philip Hammond's Spring statement of last week, he also warned that a no-deal Brexit could push Scotland into "deep recession".

Mr Mackay said: "Frankly, all forms of EU exit will harm Scotland's economy but leaving the EU without a deal could lead to a potential shrinking of our economy by up to seven per cent, a drop in exports by up to 20 per cent and a reduced business investment by £1 billion in 2019.

"Such profound economic impacts could result in an increase in unemployment of around 100,000 in Scotland, more than doubling the current record low unemployment rate, and push the Scottish economy into a deep recession, similar in scale to the financial crash of 2008."

However Mr Mackay was challenged on the Scottish Government's readiness for a no-deal Brexit by Scottish Labour’s finance spokesperson James Kelly.

He said: “Derek Mackay said throughout the budget process that he would revise his budget in the event of no deal.

“We are now ten days away from potentially crashing out of the EU without a deal – it’s now time for the SNP to make clear what implications that would have for this year’s budget.

“People are already seeing public services under unsustainable pressure – they have a right to know what further cuts would be in the pipeline if the UK crashes out without a deal.”

In addition to the extra cash for Northern Ireland, the UK Government has also set aside £1.6 billion to help support communities across England in the wake of Brexit as part of its Stronger Towns fund.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie criticised SNP politicians at both Holyrood and Westminster for failing to win more cash.

"With 35 MPs and the heft of the Scottish Government surely this begs a crucial question, why has the Finance Secretary been so ineffective at lobbying the UK Government on behalf of Scotland?" he said.

But Mr Mackay insisted it was "unionists who have put us in this position, nobody else". He told MSPs: "I would rather not have to plead with a right wing Chancellor but make the decisions here in Scotland."

And he added: "Whilst other parts of the UK are being bought off in terms of the Prime Minister's vote, Scotland is being sold out."