Brexit Uncertainty Already Affecting Some Sectors, Says Holyrood Report

11 October 2017, 13:30 | Updated: 11 October 2017, 13:32


Scottish businesses from football to farming have voiced their fears about the impact of Brexit on staffing, profitability and growth.

A Scottish Government report draws together the concerns of firms and calls for their voices to be heard as the UK negotiates leaving the European Union (EU).

The report says uncertainty is already impacting on some sectors such as aviation, with Glasgow Airport warning airlines could lose the legal framework to fly some routes without new agreements being agreed pre-Brexit.

Managing director Amanda McMillan said: "A number of airlines have stated they will scale back their UK growth plans, focusing instead on adding capacity at airports in the EU.

"This has the potential to undermine Scotland's connectivity."

The ability to attract and retain staff is cited as a major concern for many businesses, including shortbread firm Walkers of Aberlour, which employs around 500 seasonal workers from the EU.

At the University of Edinburgh 26% of university staff and 15% of students come from the EU, while Angus Growers warn there is already a 5-10% shortage of workers in the soft fruit sector.

The freedom of movement is also a concern for the Scottish Professional Football League, which says the existing flexibility to employ players from Europe and around the globe greatly benefits Scottish clubs.

Firms are also worried about future opportunities narrowing as a result of leaving the EU, with television production company Maramedia saying it would struggle to maintain its production base in Scotland without vital EU funding.

Tidal energy company Nova Innovation said access to EU markets, supply chain and free movement of people, would have an impact on future success, while the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) said remaining in the single market would allow important trade relationships to grow.

Scotland's Brexit Minister Michael Russell said: "This report articulates the concerns of Scottish businesses as the Brexit clock ticks towards the UK's departure from the EU.

"It is clear that there is a great deal at stake for every business. Their voices must be listened to before irreversible decisions are taken."