Pressure piles up on Westminster

Skilled workers ‘staying away over Brexit fear’

joan-mcalpineBrexit is deterring skilled workers from moving to Scotland and holding up investment, Scottish business leaders have told MSPs.

CBI Scotland warned of a “serious deterioration in business sentiment” and said that the uncertainty had “led many – though by no means all – Scottish businesses to pause their investment plans.”

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce also said that “unanswered questions about the future appear to be putting skilled people off from coming to the UK, creating issues for sectors such as technology where there is a skills shortage.”

It added: “In professional services there has been a slowing down of planning etc. affecting investment and longer term opportunity.”

The warnings were made in evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Europe Committee.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine (pictured) said: “These are just the latest warnings from businesses that Brexit is going to have a harmful impact on our economy – and Theresa May’s complete failure to provide clarity is making things worse.

“A hard-right Tory Brexit threatens to cost 80,000 Scottish jobs and cost Scotland’s economy by up to £11 billion a year by 2030.”

The latest concerns came as it emerged the European Commission has asked UK Business Secretary Greg Clark for details of his confidential letter offering assurances to car manufacturer Nissan.

qashqaiThe company agreed to invest in new models, including the Qashqai (right) at its Sunderland factory after receiving what were thought to have been guarantees over the UK’s negotiating position and compensation to the company.

EC officials have now asked for details due to fears that the deal may have breached EU state-aid rules, which still apply to the UK.

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead said: “With every passing day the UK Government’s secrecy over their sweetheart deal with Nissan looks more and more murky.

“We already knew that the French government, as part-owners of Nissan, could have access to the assurances given to the carmaker – and now the European Commission itself is demanding details.

“The Tories can’t give written assurances on their negotiating position to an international company while keeping the public and the Scottish Government in the dark. It’s time for answers.”

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