No-deal contingency planning confirmed by Scottish Government
The Scottish Government has confirmed it is preparing contingency plans for if the UK crashes out of the European Union without an exit deal.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney will chair the Scottish Government Resilience Committee (SGoRR) which will look at ways to minimise disruption to border controls, food security and medicine supplies.
The announcement comes after UK ministers also revealed details of similar planning, including the mobilisation of 3,500 armed forces personnel.
Speaking to MSPs, Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary, Michael Russell, said a no-deal Brexit, in which imports and exports would default to costly WTO tariffs, should be ruled out.
“But as a responsible government we cannot wait any longer. The consequences and risks are too pressing and too severe,” he said.
“The Scottish Government is ready to operate Brexit arrangements at very short notice but will continue to build preparedness and resilience.
“Under the leadership of the Deputy First Minister the SGoRR mechanism is now in operation providing a single clear, coordinating structure.
“But let me say that whilst this government will do everything we can to prepare, we must not let anyone believe we can do everything.
“The nebulous approach of the UK Government to decision making on Brexit has meant that it is impossible to know when these plans might need to go into effect.”
In the Commons, UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We’ve, as yet, not had any formal requests from any government departments.
“But what are doing is putting contingency plans in place, and what we will do is have 3,500 service personnel held at readiness, including regulars and reserves, in order to support any government department on any contingencies they may need.”
UK ministers have approved £2bn contingency funding across all departments, while government advice will be sent to 140,000 companies as part of no-deal contingency plans.