Humza Yousaf to say Scotland damaged by Brexit, but Tories and Labour are in denial, in London speech

First Minister Humza Yousaf will deliver a speech in London on Tuesday

Scotland has been damaged by Brexit, but both the Tories and Labour are in denial, Humza Yousaf is set to say.

The First Minister will use a speech at the London School of Economics on Tuesday to challenge both main parties on Britain’s departure from the European Union, and claim Scotland’s public services would be £1.6 billion higher if the UK was still in the EU.

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Mr Yousaf, the SNP leader, will also argue Scottish independence would result in a return to the European Union for Scotland and an increase in living standards.

First Minister Humza Yousaf will rally against Brexit during an address in London.First Minister Humza Yousaf will rally against Brexit during an address in London.
First Minister Humza Yousaf will rally against Brexit during an address in London.

He is expected to say: “A combination of the economic powers that come with independence together with EU membership will be a powerful driver of better living standards and a fairer, stronger Scottish economy. In Scotland, I believe there is broad public agreement that Brexit has damaged the economy and public services, and that it should be reversed.

“Yet at Westminster there is agreement between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer that the UK should stay out of both the EU and the huge European single market – whatever the cost.”

The First Minister is expected to quote research from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research on the impact of leaving the EU.

He will say: “The National Institute for Economic and Social Research suggests that compared to EU membership, the UK economy was 2.5 per cent smaller in 2023 and it expects that figure to rise to 5.7 per cent in little more than ten years’ time.

“That means £69 billion could have been wiped from national income in 2023, equating to £28bn of tax revenue – £2.3bn in terms of Scotland’s population share.

“Around 60 per cent of spending in Scotland is on devolved services. With the same level of borrowing and taxation, that means without Brexit devolved spending power for our vital public services, such as the NHS, could have been £1.6bn higher than it is today.

“In other words, Scotland has suffered an estimated £1.6bn cut that could have been invested in our NHS because of a Brexit that people in Scotland overwhelmingly rejected. Giving people a choice over their future with the opportunity to escape the cosy Westminster no change consensus has never been more urgent or essential.”

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A report published by The Resolution Foundation in 2022 found leaving the EU had reduced how open and competitive Britain’s economy was.

His speech comes less than 24 hours after senior SNP minister Angus Robertson accused his UK counterparts of not being “interested” in having good intergovernmental relations with the Scottish Government.

A UK government spokesperson said: “People in Scotland want both their governments to be concentrating on the issues that matter most to them, like growing our economy, continuing to cut inflation and improving public services.

“We want to work constructively with the Scottish Government to tackle our shared challenges because that is what families and businesses in Scotland expect. This is not the time to be talking about distracting constitutional change.”

Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: Humza Yousaf is totally out of ideas and soon to be out of time. The SNP have presided over Scotland for 17 years and our NHS is in crisis, educational standards have dropped and the economy isn’t growing as it should be and is well behind the north-west of England as an example.

“Humza Yousaf is responsible for the crisis in Scotland and he is not the man to resolve it. Only Labour can deliver the change that Scotland needs.”



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