MSP calls for Brexit extension

Gillian Martin MSP calls on the UK government to extend the Brexit negotiation deadline to avoid a further big economic hit on top of the coronavirus crisis

Gillian Martin MSP has called on the UK government to extend the Brexit negotiation deadline to avoid a further big economic hit on top of the coronavirus crisis, and to ensure that every effort is put towards tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK has formally left the European Union but is currently in a “transition period.” This means it is following EU rules and therefore has full access to the European market – which will be vital for the economy when the coronavirus crisis eases.

A two-year extension to this transition period is on offer but the Tory government at Westminster is instead pressing on with complex negotiations, at the height of the crisis, which will mean the UK leaving with either no trade deal in place or a very limited deal at the end of this year.

According to a report by the Chief Economist, the economic impact of the efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic could see GDP fall by around a third.

If the UK government continues to pursue its Brexit plans, Scotland’s economy faces further economic damage – a loss, compared with EU membership, of up to £12.7  billion – the equivalent of £2,300 for every person in Scotland by 2030.

Gillian Martin MSP said

All of our energy should be focused on dealing with the pandemic at hand and the UK Government must unchain itself, and most importantly our economy, from the 31st December exit date.

Very little progress has been made on key negotiating points and the UK Government are risking a double economic hit caused by coronavirus and a no-deal Brexit induced recession.

In the North East the economic challenge is compounded even further by the low oil price.

We have only one chance to ask for an extension, and that has to be done by the end of June. The UK Government must urgently act to protect businesses and communities across the North-east and change course.

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