Nicola Sturgeon warns of ‘severe impact’ on Scotland’s food supply and medicines if No Deal Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon has issued a stark warning of “severe impacts” on food and medicine supplies in Scotland as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit intensifies.

The First Minister spoke out after a meeting of her Cabinet and the Scottish Government’s resilience committee, which saw preparations for a no-deal Brexit stepped up.

The move came after a report by Scottish Government economists warned a no-deal scenario would lead to a “major dislocation” to the country’s economy.

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The First Minister spoke out after a meeting of her Cabinet

Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland’s interests are being continually ignored by the UK government, which even at this late stage refuses to rule out the disaster of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit outcome.

“Indeed, in the face of their reckless approach, this increasingly appears to be the most likely outcome.”

She added: “There will be severe impacts on Scotland – on food supply, on medicines, on transport, on jobs, for our rural communities, all of which are completely unnecessary if the UK government acts now.

“It is expected that the availability and the price of food and drink are likely to be significantly affected, with a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable in our society.”

In his latest annual State of the Economy report, Scotland’s chief economic adviser Gary Gillespie indicated that disruptions to logistics, supply, trade, investment, migration and market confidence could cause a “significant structural change in the economy”.

The analysis suggested that although the country had experienced a “positive year” economically, with growth in areas such as exports and high labour market performance, uncertainty around the UK’s withdrawal from the EU remained a “live risk”.

The report highlighted the fact that business activity softened towards the end of 2018, with business confidence also becoming weaker, attributed to growing uncertainty over Brexit.

It also pointed to forecasts the Scottish economy was expected to grow by between 1 per cent and 1.5 per cent over 2019, although indicated these projections would need to be reconsidered in the absence of an orderly departure from the EU.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We will continue to call on the UK government to immediately rule out the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit and extend the Article 50 process. However, as a responsible government we will also continue – and indeed intensify – our work to prepare for all outcomes as best we can.”