Corporate Scotland speaks out over fears of ‘hard Brexit’

14/10/2016
michael

Business sector leaders speak out over Brexit threat to national economy

SENIOR BUSINESS FIGURES have warned that the lack of certainty following the Brexit vote is a substantial threat to Scotland’s economy. 

Figures from the financial services, aviation, and universities sector warned that their institution’s positions were being put at risk over the lack of UK negotiating position months after the summer vote to Leave the EU in England and Wales. 

The corporate gathering at the SNP conference in Glasgow brought together voices from across the business world to re-evaluate Scotland’s economic and constitutional position in the wake of the Brexit result. 

Marking a change since the 2014 independence referendum, representatives from Aberdeen Asset Management, Edinburgh Airport, and the University of Glasgow raised concerns over their economic future if dragged out the EU single market.

Threats from the Brexit vote included “[trade] access, passporting, what the transitional arrangements will be, and the implications for the labour market.”

Lucy O’Carroll, Chief Economist at Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “There’s still a huge lack of clarity here. That concerns us.”

Threats from the Brexit vote included “[trade] access, passporting, what the transitional arrangements will be, and the implications for the labour market.”

O’Carroll also criticised “the messaging there has been at a UK level” regarding the movement of international workers into the UK, which opponents have described as xenophobic. 

Sir John Elvidge, chair of Edinburgh Airport and former permanent secretary to the Scottish Government, warned that uncertainty from Brexit was threatening the sector’s position. “We have a sense of some international companies, such as the airlines, are reacting to this uncertainty…the airlines have to look a long way ahead. [2-3 years at a minimum]”

“We also see we are surrounded by competitors who say they can offer them more certainty than we can offer,” he added. 

Elvidge also heaped praise on the Scottish Government for plans to cut airline taxes after air passenger duty is devolved.

Muscatelli, who is chairing the Standing Council on Europe, raised concerns that the criticisms of inward migration to the UK was making international academics unwelcome.

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