Economy secretary writes to UK Government over Internal Markets Bill

Economy secretary writes to UK Government over Internal Markets Bill

Fiona Hyslop

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop has written to the UK Government voicing concern at its plans for a post-Brexit internal market, saying it represents a threat to the Scottish economy.

Ms Hyslop said the proposed Internal Markets Bill will jeopardise Scotland’s food and drink sector, which has a world-renowned reputation for high standards and high quality products.

She also highlighted how the Bill will undermine the good progress made on common frameworks, the preferred means of managing policy difference across the UK when EU rules no longer apply. 

Last month, the Scottish Parliament considered the original proposals set out in the UK Government White Paper and voted overwhelmingly – by 92 votes to 31 – to reject them.

In her letter to Alok Sharma, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Ms Hyslop said: “Coronavirus is clearly currently the biggest challenge for business and the economy. Unnecessary legislation, which undermines devolution, on top of an entirely unnecessary end to the Brexit transition period will do nothing to protect or promote trade across the UK and beyond.

“If this legislation were already in place, Scotland would not have been able to lead the way on the ban on smoking in public, on introducing minimum unit pricing for alcohol, having rules on the marketing of raw milk consistent with the nature of the dairy sector in Scotland, or taking forward bans on the sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds and microbeads in cosmetics.

“A linked concern is the prospect of the UK entering into future international trade agreements which might result in lower standard products being accepted into UK markets. Scotland’s world-leading food and drink sector, for example, is built on a reputation for the highest quality produce and nothing should be done to put that at risk.”

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