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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-21886: Willie Rennie (North East Fife)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 28 February 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how organisations and businesses can input into its consideration of what types of activities, programmes and support will be eligible to benefit from the financial commitment to mitigate the risks of Brexit that it announced in its Budget.

Answered by: Derek Mackay 14 March 2019

As a responsible government we must prepare for all EU Exit possibilities, and the 2019-20 Scottish Budget will support vital preparedness activities. All Portfolio areas have benefited from all of the 2019-20 EU Exit consequentials being allocated via the Scottish Budget. We are prioritising activity in areas that will be heavily impacted by Brexit - the economy, transport, food and drink, medicines, agriculture and the rural economy. The Scottish Government is working with all delivery partners to ensure that essential actions to reduce the impact of a no-deal Brexit can be taken.

Raising awareness in and action by businesses is vital. Last year we launched “Prepare for Brexit”, offering readiness self-assessment tools and expert advice as well as access to learning and networking events, and grants for Brexit planning support. That campaign can help many more businesses to take steps to enhance resilience despite the ongoing uncertainty.

We are also engaged in civil contingencies planning around any impacts that may have an immediate and direct effect on citizens. Intensive planning and preparation for a ‘no deal’ outcome has been underpinned by detailed work across government to identify the risks and potential impacts of EU exit and the mitigating actions that we and others could take across a wide range of issues, including impact to businesses.

Weekly meetings of SGoRR – the Scottish Government Resilience Room Committee – have been held with the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister convening. These meetings have input from Cabinet Secretaries including those responsible for Health, Justice, Transport, Rural and my own Portfolio, as well as other organisations such as Transport Scotland, COSLA, and Police Scotland.

I am working with the Deputy First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations to ensure that any decisions to reprioritise resource towards EU exit priorities are made collectively and consistently.