Nobody will have had any benefit from Brexit.
Boris Johnson’s hard Tory Brexit deal has been on the end of a scathing attack at a Holyrood committee by leading Scottish hauliers and manufacturers.
The Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee heard from Martin Reid from the Road Haulage Association and Paul Sheerin from Scottish Engineering.
Mr. Sheerin told the committee that the end of the transition period ‘could not have come at a worse time’.
He also reported from a survey of members that found three-quarters of manufacturing businesses have experienced some form of adverse impact since Scotland was dragged out of the EU.
Businesses have told of higher costs in administration and a lack of availability of materials, with one firm reporting a ‘ten-fold increase’ in admin costs as a result of Brexit and one having goods held up for three weeks at the border.
Mr. Reid told how he felt ‘nobody will have had any benefit from Brexit in terms of moving goods to Europe.’
He also reported how businesses with ‘exporting in their DNA are struggling’.
Mr. Reid read out findings from members of the Road Haulage Association that a lack of preparation by the UK government has led to many exporters having to ‘re-learn the basics of moving goods.’
Commenting, SNP MSP and member of the committee Kenneth Gibson (pictured) said:
“The reports from members of Scottish Engineering and the Road Haulage Association are extremely concerning and reflect the experience of businesses across Scotland who are struggling to export their products to Europe as a result of the decision by the Tories to impose a hard Brexit in the middle of a pandemic.
“Confidence is key when businesses consider exporting and the bureaucratic nightmare of increasing costs, alongside delays through copious new customs provisions mitigates against companies of any size from exporting.
“Small and medium companies keen to export will have particularly disproportionate cost increases, impacting on competitiveness and, ultimately, jobs in Scotland.
“The Tories ignored evidence presented by the Scottish Government and businesses to delay the end of the transition period.
“This damage is a direct result of the deliberate decision of Boris Johnson to take Scotland out of the European Single Market, which is seven times the size of the UK, at the worst possible time.
“People in Scotland have the right to decide their own future instead of suffering at the hands of a Brexit-obsessed UK Tory government.”