Scottish Labour calls on @scotgov to create ‘Brexit fund’ in new action plan paper

Nathanael Williams

In response to the Scottish Government’s line on Brexit, Labour announces its own position 

SCOTTISH LABOUR has published its action plan for Brexit, outlining steps it says the Scottish Government should take to protect jobs and the economy in light of the Brexit.

The paper has called for an increase in infrastructure spending and for the Scottish Government to create a ‘Brexit fund’ for sectors of the economy and businesses “at-risk” like engineering construction.

Earlier this year, data published by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) showed that growth in the Scottish economy had slowed. Scottish Labour referred to this and demanded mitigation of the impact of the Brexit vote.

The plan states that the Scottish Government should implement "a significant and sustained programme of capital spending", and do this using the new borrowing powers received after the 2014 independence referendum.

Any capital spending should also be used to accelerate and focus on more affordable housing being built.

In Labour's Brexit plan it calls for a Brexit fund, which would offer loans to businesses.

The Labour action plan comes days after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, spoke at the Institute for Public Policy Research Scotland (IPPR), vowing to examine all options in order to protect Scotland’s interests and place in Europe.

Scottish Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Whilst the SNP are entirely right to continue to attempt to secure Scotland’s place in Europe, they can’t take their eye off the day job – they have a duty to protect Scottish jobs and the Scottish economy from the fallout of Brexit in the short, medium and long term.

“Bringing forward infrastructure spending will give our economy a boost – and Labour would argue the primary focus should be housebuilding so we can tackle Scotland’s housing crisis.

“The SNP government should also establish a Brexit support fund for industries most at risk and use the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to stop the cuts to public services.

“Scotland’s economy will face serious challenges regardless of how the process of Brexit plays out – it is vital that the SNP government have a plan in place to protect our economy from the shocks it will face now and in the future."

In Labour's Brexit plan, it calls for a Brexit fund which would offer loans to businesses.

"These measures would not avert the economic crisis that will arise if Scotland leaves the EU." Patrick Harvie

It would be specifically set up to help areas that could be badly hit by the Brexit vote, such as construction, food and drink, and research development and innovation.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: "The consequences of the UK voting to leave the EU will be felt for years to come and the only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know very much about what the future holds.

"Labour stands with the majority of Scots who want to be part of the UK and the EU – we won’t give up pursuing those options, but protecting jobs and public services must come first."

Scottish Labour has also called for the safeguarding of workers' rights and a firm guarantee for all European Union nationals that live in Scotland.

The plan states that the Scottish Government should implement "a significant and sustained programme of capital spending".

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie said: "Greens have long been calling for a more ambitious approach to progressive taxation, investment in housing and support for new industries in the low carbon economy, so these proposals are nothing new. 

"We’ll continue to make this case in the Scottish budget debates.

"It’s pretty rich for Labour now to be demanding that EU citizens in Scotland should be protected or that our existing workplace rights be safeguarded – this is the party which argued against allowing the Scottish Government to gain any devolved powers over those issues.

"These measures would not avert the economic crisis that will arise if Scotland leaves the EU.

"What’s more important is that we continue to explore every opportunity possible to keeping Scotland in the European Union rather than accepting Labour’s doomed position that the decision ‘has been made’."

Picture courtesy of MPD01605

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