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PM in Edinburgh to sign City Deal

Sturgeon to warn May of ‘Blind Brexit’ danger

May and Sturgeon in Edinburgh

Mrs May will meet the First Minister in Edinburgh (pic: Terry Murden)


Prime Minister Theresa May will today receive a warning from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the dangers of No Deal in the Brexit talks.

The FM will discuss progress on the negotiations with Mrs May who is visiting Edinburgh to attend the Festival and formally sign the City Deal which provides more than £1 billion of investment for the region.

Ms Sturgeon’s comments came as Scottish economists said food shortages, medicine stockpiles and queues at the UK border would be the “unfortunate reality” of No Deal.

The Fraser of Allander Institute said it was “hard to believe” that the UK Government was now openly discussing the possibility of failing to reach an agreement with the EU.

Ms Sturgeon said: “A no deal Brexit would be utterly unacceptable and deeply damaging, but by talking it up as a negotiating tactic there is a very real danger it becomes a reality.

“There is a very real risk that we end up with a blind Brexit, which will see the UK step off the cliff edge next March without knowing what landing place will be.

“Given this lack of clarity and real concerns of no agreement, it is time the Prime Minister told us what her Plan B is. We cannot have no deal and we cannot have a blind Brexit.”

The Edinburgh and south east Scotland city deal was announced last year and will be formally signed off by the two leaders today.

The Scottish and UK governments will each contribute £300 million, while local business and academic partners are expected to bring the total investment up to £1.2bn.

The funds will be allocated to scientific research on space, health sciences, agricultural technology and food and drink at five new “innovation hubs”, and the creation of a 1,000 seat concert hall.

It is the latest in a string of city deal packages, which have seen the two governments invest more than £1bn each in infrastructure and economic growth.

Mrs May is also to announce £13m in funding for six science centres across the country, including in Dundee and Glasgow, to help improve facilities and attract new visitors.

Speaking ahead of her visit to Scotland, Mrs May said: “I am pleased to be in Edinburgh for the city’s annual celebration of the arts and culture.

From the Fringe, to the International Festival, festivals dedicated to science, books and storytelling, the city is truly a cultural inspiration for the rest of the UK and the world.”

Commenting on the goals of the City Deal investment, she added: “These city deals build on existing strengths to open up new possibilities for the future in Scotland and the whole of the UK as part of our modern industrial strategy.

“They will create jobs and open up new economic opportunities throughout the nation.”

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