Clarity on Brexit needed for ‘all’ of the UK

17 February 2017

 

Following a Finance Ministers Quadrilateral meeting in Edinburgh on 14 February 2017, the devolved administrations have voiced their disappointment at the UK Government’s lack of assurances that there will be meaningful engagement over the approach it proposes to take on Brexit. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Ministers also underlined the economic and public finance challenges this lack of clarity presents.

The meeting was attended by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke, the Welsh Government’s Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford and Stormont Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.

 

Mr Mackay said:

“While I am disappointed about this lack of progress with the UK Government, we will continue to work with the Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments as it is essential for the devolved administrations to be at the heart of any decision making. We need clarity from the UK Government as we have the right to have our say on how devolved budgets and our economy will be affected by a hard Brexit.

I asked again today that the UK Government give serious consideration to the proposals the Scottish Government has put forward in response to the outcome of the EU Referendum and responds constructively, in the interests of the people of Scotland.

We have been clear, keeping Scotland in the European single market is absolutely essential for Scottish jobs, investment and long-term economic wellbeing.”

 

Welsh Government Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said:

“Our White Paper, Securing Wales’ Future, which was discussed at the recent JMC (EN) (Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations), provides a comprehensive, credible plan for the negotiations as the UK prepares to exit from the EU.  It focuses on Wales’ priorities but in a way which would work for the whole of the UK.

We have always been clear that a hard Brexit would be highly damaging to the Welsh and UK economy. That is why we have repeatedly called for full and unfettered access to the single market in our negotiations with the UK Government.  Our economy is closely integrated into the single market and our success in attracting foreign investment owes much to this access.

The fact of Brexit is not in doubt but we need to ensure a good outcome for Wales.  We will continue our discussions with the UK Government through the JMC (EN) but we need to see these discussions intensify over the next few weeks as the triggering of Article 50 approaches.  We need a clear signal from the UK Government that the views of the devolved administrations are taken into account so we secure a future post Brexit that works for Wales and works for the rest of the UK.”

 

Stormont Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said:

“I have previously been on record saying that there is a lack of understanding of the calamitous effects that Brexit would have on our local economy and there has been no appreciation of the need for a special status for the North within the EU. Nothing I have heard today changes that.”