Scottish Government stands firm on pledge to reveal UK Government Brexit analysis

Although the UK Government’s analysis has been confidentially available to MSPs, the Scottish Government has not received the documents

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT has reiterated its intention to reveal the UK Government’s secret impact analysis on Brexit if and when it is shared with the devolved administration.

A Scottish Government spokesperson told CommonSpace that, despite the analysis being made temporarily available to MSPs on a confidential basis, the Scottish Government has not as yet received a copy of the documents.

On January 31, the minister for UK negotiations on Scotland’s place in Europe Mike Russell wrote to secretary of state for exiting the European Union David Davis confirming that the Scottish Government would release the analysis publicly if it was shared, writing: “This is not our analysis and we do not see it as our responsibility to make arrangements on confidential handling. I want to be clear that if you send the analysis to us we will make it public.”

Earlier in February, Robin Walker, parliamentary under secretary of state for the department for exiting the EU (DexEU) pledged to share its impact analysis on Brexit with the Scottish Government.

Russell welcomed Walker’s statement, but again argued: “The Scottish Government considers that the public have a right to know the impact on jobs and living standards of the UK Government’s decision to pursue the UK’s exit from the EU and therefore that this analysis should be made publicly available. 

“As of yet, the Scottish Government has not received a copy of the documents. If and when this does happen, we will publish the documents on our website.” Scottish Government spokesperson

“Further, this is not our analysis and we do not see it as our responsibility to make arrangements on confidential handling. I want to be clear that if you send the analysis to us we will make it public.”

Speaking to CommonSpace, a Scottish Government spokesperson confirmed that the UK Government has still not fully shared the analysis with the Scottish Government, saying: “The Minister for UK negotiations on Scotland’s place in Europe wrote to the secretary of state for exiting the EU, Rt Hon David Davis MP, making it clear that if the Scottish Government receives these papers then we will make them public.

“The analysis has now been made temporarily available to MSPs in a confidential reading room. However, as of yet, the Scottish Government has not received a copy of the documents. If and when this does happen, we will publish the documents on our website and you will be able to access them at http://www.gov.scot/.”

Reaffirming the Scottish Government’s stated position, the spokesperson commented: “The Scottish Government has been consistently of the view that the public has a right to know the damaging effects of the UK Government’s decision to pursue the UK’s exit from the European Union. It is unacceptable that the UK Government has not made this impact assessment on the effects of the UK’s departure from the EU public.”

The spokesperson also noted that those aspects of the UK Government Brexit analysis that have been reported in the press, following a leak of the documents to Buzzfeed, were similar to the Scottish Government’s own Brexit impact analysis, which concluded that there was no version of Brexit which would not harm the Scottish economy.

“It is unacceptable that the UK Government has not made this impact assessment on the effects of the UK’s departure from the EU public.” Scottish Government spokesperson

The DexEU analysis leaked to Buzzfeed reported suggested that the UK would be worse off under every possible outcome from leaving the EU, forecasting a two per cent drop in growth over a 15-year period if Britain remains in the single market and customs union, a five per cent drop in the case of a comprehensive free trade agreement, and an eight precent drop in the event of a “no deal” Brexit.

The reiteration of the Scottish Government’s uncompromising stance comes as tensions escalate between the UK Government’s and the UK’s devolved legislatures over powers returning from the EU post-Brexit.

Ministers from the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments are expected to meet for a second time in the past two weeks in an attempt to reach an agreement over how these returning powers will be managed. If the UK Government does not secure such an agreement, then both the Scottish and Welsh Governments may reject legislative consent and trigger a constitutional crisis.

In a sign that the UK Government remains combative and uncompromising on the issue, UK Cabinet Office minister David Lidington yesterday warned that SNP demands for all 111 powers returning from the EU to be fully devolved would leave a post-Brexit UK “as a country split and an economy disjointed”.

“The Tories have now made it crystal clear they want to take control of some of these devolved powers as part of their plan for a disastrous hard Brexit outside the EU Single Market and Customs Union.” Minister for UK negotiations on Scotland’s place in Europe Mike Russell

Lidington also argued that striking international trade deals post-Brexit would be rendered impossible if devolved administrations did not accept that Westminster retains an effective veto over as many as 25 powers currently held by Brussels, including those relating to public procurement, the environment, agriculture and fisheries.

Lidington’s apparent unwillingness to countenance full devolution of the relevant powers would appear to give credence to the SNP’s frequent accusations that the UK Government will use the Brexit process to effect a “power grab” on the devolved administrations.

Responding to Lidington’s comments, Mike Russell said: “The Tories have now made it crystal clear they want to take control of some of these devolved powers as part of their plan for a disastrous hard Brexit outside the EU Single Market and Customs Union.

“This raises some very troubling questions for issues such as food standards and environmental protection.

“And if, for example, a proposed future trade deal involved healthcare, could Scotland be forced down the same route as England and made to open up our health service to private providers?”

Picture courtesy of the Scottish Government

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