SNP MSPs have called on the UK Government to match any attempts to keep the City of London in the European single market with a deal for workers and businesses in Dumfries and Galloway. Joan McAlpine and Emma Harper have written to Scottish Secretary, and MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, David Mundell to demand he put pressure on Westminster colleagues.
The UK Government is reportedly seeking a deal to keep access to the single market for London’s financial institutions – which could mean a post-Brexit Britain paying billions towards the EU’s budget.
The First Minister has confirmed that the Scottish Government will bring forward specific demands to protect Scotland’s relationship with Europe, which will include proposals to keep Scotland in the single market.
Writing to David Mundell, SNP MSPs for South Scotland Emma Harper and Joan McAlpine said:
“The revelation that the UK government is exploring options to keep the City of London in the single market – which could mean contributing billions of pounds towards the EU budget – means it is simply not tenable for Theresa May and her ministers to claim it is impossible to look at similar arrangements for Scotland.
“If the UK Government is able and willing to pursue a special deal for London, then they should also be able to consider a special deal to keep communities like Dumfries and Galloway in the single market.
“There shouldn’t be one rule for bankers in London and another for major employers like Cochrane’s or Penman’s in Dumfries and Galloway – especially considering the vote by people across the region, and across Scotland, to remain in Europe.
“Money from the EU is vital to our economy in Dumfries and Galloway. The region received over £84 million last year from the Scottish Rural Development Programme.
“Dumfries and Galloway Council currently receives funding via various EU schemes – such as the European Regional Development Fund - which it uses to provide support to businesses throughout the local authority area. There are 50 council staff whose salaries or funded wither wholly or in part by these various European programmes.
“The Scottish Government has been working hard to protect Scotland’s interests and our membership of the European Union, put under threat by a hard-right Tory Brexit – it’s up to the UK Government to co-operate.”