Labour and Tories criticised for response to Treasury’s Brexit forecast

A secret Treasury report now revealed contains an even more negative estimate about the impact of any Brexit deal on Scotland than that forecast by the Scottish Government.

According to new details which emerged yesterday of leaked estimates on the Scottish economy would grow nine per cent slower than it would if it stayed in the EU.

This is a half a percentage worse than the Scottish Government’s 8.5 per cent prediction – which was the equivalent of a £12.7 billion blow – the equivalent of £2300 for every person north of the Border.

The Treasury report was broadly similar to the findings of the Scottish Government one in terms of a soft Brexit and a comprehensive free trade deal. The former predicted the Scottish economy would be hit by a six per cent slow down under a free trade agreement between the UK and EU, while the Scots study suggested 6.1 per cent.

In terms of the least worst scenario where Scotland remained in the single market, the Treasury study forecast a 2.5 per cent slow down and the Scottish Government one suggested a 2.7 per cent slow down – a £4bn reduction in growth.

Scottish Tories hit out at the First Minister’s report when it was published last month describing it as “scaremongering”.

After the publication of the Scotland in Europe analysis, Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins continued to insist Brexit would bring economic opportunities.

“The SNP government has gone completely over the top in its scaremongering here,” he said.

“No-one’s doubting that Brexit will pose challenges, but it will bring opportunities too.”

After this latest revelation, the SNP have demanded that the Tories offer an explanation.

Peter Grant MP called the analysis “grim reading”, and said: “Theresa May must now end the shameful secrecy surrounding the UK Government’s Brexit plans and publish the papers in full.

“The Tories must explain why they accused the Scottish Government of scaremongering when their own government was covering up similar findings.

“The leak underlines the case that remaining in the single market and customs union is the only way to minimise that economic harm.

“It’s time Theresa May stood up the Brexit hardliners and put jobs and living standards first.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard also faced criticism after responding to the news by saying his party could secure a better deal for the country.

He wrote on Twitter: “The leaked Brexit document confirms that we can’t trust the Tories to secure a good deal for Scotland and the rest of the UK. The sooner we have a snap election and elect a @UKLabour Govt and @JeremyCorbyn as PM the better for all involved.”

He made this claim despite the analysis showing a good deal for Scotland was impossible.

SNP MP Pete Wishart hit back at Leonard, tweeting: “How about starting to lift a finger to stop this madness instead of just backing the Tories in taking us out? At least join us to secure single market membership?”

Brexiteer and Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg accused Treasury officials of “fiddling the figures”, while the UK Government said a bespoke deal was not among those to have been analysed.

Comments: