Press Releases Scotland & the EU

BfS dismantles Brexit business case in TV debate

Written by Rhona Middler

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 11.49.44Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp from Business for Scotland debated the business merits of the EU and the Common Market on STV’s Scotland Tonight programme.  Gordon points out that the EU allows easy and affordable access to the Common Market and that helps Scottish exports, creating more higher skilled, higher paid, better quality jobs and so its better for business and better Scotland that we vote to stay on June 23rd.

The case for leaving was made by Port Glasgow businessman Alastair MacMillan who claimed that an independent UK outside of the EU would as a smaller entity be able to enter into better trade deals than the EU could and that a Brexit would end political interference in the way the UK is run. His arguments directly contradict those made by Better Together during the Scottish Independence referendum who claimed that Scottish independence would result in Scotland being outside the EU and create barriers to trade. This is ironic as MacMillian was a Better Together founding donor. The Scotsman Newspaper confirmed  the claim as he believed a Yes vote would mean “there was a barrier at Gretna, and as it was going to cause problems we could see no other option than to move a substantial portion of the business so that we weren’t affected by the Border issue.”  However, he seems completely at ease with withdrawing from the European Common Market, potentially putting a trade barrier between the UK and Europe.

During the programme Gordon raises the issue of Westminster policies such as the plan to cancel the account consigner status which negatively effects SME exports – something Alistair clearly denies as having affected his business.  This is strange as The Telegraph reports him as having complained to the UK government about the plan in 2011

British exporters are to be placed at a competitive disadvantage to their European peers when rules designed to improve air cargo safety take effect next month.

The Department for Transport is to abolish a system known as the “account consignor scheme”, that allows logistics groups to accept goods for cargo planes from self-certified businesses.

Alastair MacMillan of White House Products in Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire, has raised the issue with the Government.  Somebody in New Zealand is not going to wait seven weeks for a pump to arrive by sea that they require to fix a machine breakdown.”

We would also be interested in knowing if anyone can point to any legislation that stops EU member states agreeing independent bilateral trade deals with nations that the EU does not have an existing deal with? Alistair claimed that the EU isn’t going to have a trade agreement with Brazil and that EU membership stops the UK doing independent deals with nations like Brazil, saying it was untrue when Gordon claimed that the UK could do create bilateral trade arrangements with nations where no format existing full EU treaty existed.  Here is a link to the UK Government report on bilateral trade negotiations with Brazil: “Eighth meeting of the UK-Brazil Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) emphasises current bilateral cooperation and initiatives to support mutual growth”.

Clearly the case for leaving the EU does not stand up to analysis.

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About the author

Rhona Middler

Rhona was Business for Scotland's Engagement Executive and Events Manager.

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