Letter to party leaders
Blackford calls for cross-party pact to oppose No Deal Brexit
Ian Blackford: ‘Chaos has pushed UK to the brink’ (pic: Terry Murden)
The SNP’s Westminster leader has urged all opposition Westminster party leaders calling for a cross-party summit to put the brakes on Boris Johnson’s drive towards a No Deal exit.
In a letter to Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts, Liberal Democrat’s Jo Swinson, Caroline Lucas from the Greens, and Anna Soubry from the Independent Group for Change, Ian Blackford has urged the party leaders to join the SNP in preventing the “unmitigated damage” Tory Brexit plans will have on the economy and people’s living standards.
His letter coincides with a report this weekend that government ministers believe it is too late to stop a No Deal Brexit.
The call for an urgent summer recess cross-party meeting follows on from the Tory government’s announcement that an additional £2.1bn of taxpayers’ money was being allocated for No Deal planning – taking the total to more than £6bn this year alone.
The SNP has consistently warned that a No Deal exit is an avoidable, costly policy which if pursued will cost thousands of jobs, hit people’s livelihoods and inflict lasting harm upon businesses and key industries.
The Bank of England last week cut its forecasts for UK growth over the next two years, adding that there was a one in three chance of a Brexit recession – even if a deal was agreed with the EU.
Mr Blackford said: “The past three years of Tory Brexit chaos has pushed Scotland and the UK to the brink, and with Boris Johnson ramping up the rhetoric of a no-deal exit there is a very real risk of being pushed over the cliff-edge.
“We know that any Brexit – particularly a no-deal Brexit – will cause unmitigated damage to our economy and people’s living standards.
“Time and time again economic analysis has shown that Brexit will be devastating for businesses and public services. The evidence has shown the economic madness of Brexit.
“Rather than acting to prevent such an outcome, the Tory Prime Minister has instead chosen to push ahead by wasting billions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash on an entirely avoidable policy – at the same time as public services are still bearing the pain of Tory austerity.
“This cannot go on. I have written to the Westminster party leaders of Labour, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, Greens, and the Independent Group for Change, calling for a cross-party summit over summer recess to prevent the Prime Minister destroying the livelihoods of citizens across the UK, and move forward with efforts to take no-deal off the table.
“All the evidence suggests that in Scotland alone, 100,000 jobs will be lost and GDP will be reduced by £2,300 per person adding pressure to household budgets and our public services.
“People in Scotland deserve the choice of a better future than the Brexit Britain being imposed on us. It’s clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is by becoming an equal and independent European country.”
Trump warns against digital tax
US President Donald Trump has warned the UK that it will not get a free trade deal unless a new tax affecting tech giants is dropped.
The UK government has announced plans to press ahead with plans to introduce a 2% tax on large tech companies’ revenues, while the French senate recently approved a digital services tax of 3%.
Digital service taxes are designed to target large tech monopolies like Google and Facebook, amid ongoing concerns about the amount of tax paid by large corporations.