Belfast Telegraph

Devolved administrations call for details on economic impact of Brexit

The UK's devolved administrations have called for clarity over how Brexit will affect their economies and budgets after "disappointing" discussions with the Treasury.

The finance ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke failed to provide enough information on the impact of leaving the European Union (EU) during quadrilateral talks in Edinburgh.

They urged the UK Government to give "serious consideration" to proposals put forward for differentiated solutions and said negotiations must be stepped up as the deadline for triggering Article 50 approaches.

Scotland's Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: "While I am disappointed about this lack of progress with the UK Government, we will continue to work with the Welsh and Northern Ireland governments as it is essential for the devolved administrations to be at the heart of any decision-making.

"We need clarity from the UK Government as we have the right to have our say on how devolved budgets and our economy will be affected by a hard Brexit.

"I asked again today that the UK Government give serious consideration to the proposals the Scottish Government has put forward in response to the outcome of the EU referendum and responds constructively, in the interests of the people of Scotland.

"We have been clear, keeping Scotland in the European single market is absolutely essential for Scottish jobs, investment and long-term economic wellbeing."

Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said: "We have always been clear that a hard Brexit would be highly damaging to the Welsh and UK economy.

"That is why we have repeatedly called for full and unfettered access to the single market in our negotiations with the UK Government.

"Our economy is closely integrated into the single market and our success in attracting foreign investment owes much to this access.

"The fact of Brexit is not in doubt but we need to ensure a good outcome for Wales.

"We will continue our discussions with the UK Government through the JMC (EN) but we need to see these discussions intensify over the next few weeks as the triggering of Article 50 approaches.

"We need a clear signal from the UK Government that the views of the devolved administrations are taken into account so we secure a future post-Brexit that works for Wales and works for the rest of the UK."

Stormont Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir added: "I have previously been on record saying that there is a lack of understanding of the calamitous effects that Brexit would have on our local economy and there has been no appreciation of the need for a special status for the North within the EU.

"Nothing I have heard today changes that."

A UK Government spokesman said: "We are determined to get the right deal for the whole of the UK as we negotiate our exit from the EU.

"We are working closely with the devolved administrations through the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC), which allows them to make direct representations to the UK Government as we form our negotiating position.

"Today's finance ministers meeting is a further example of the regular engagement we have across the UK at ministerial level.

"We are considering the Scottish and Welsh governments' papers carefully, as part of the JMC process.

"It is clear that we share common ground with the devolved administrations in wanting the freest possible trade in goods and services between the UK and the EU's member states.

"This should give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets, and let European businesses do the same here.

"This will be delivered through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU."

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