Both the SNP and Tory governments must take urgent action and adopt Labour’s ‘Brexit Action Plan” to protect rights and support the economy now, Scottish Labour said today.

Labour supports exploring all options to keep Scotland in the EU and the UK but said the SNP must not take their eye off the day job – protecting jobs and the economy from the immediate impact of Brexit.

At a time when the Scottish economy is underperforming relative to the UK with growth revised downward, employment levels declining and worklessness increasing, the added impact of Brexit creates uncertainty for business. Independent economists indicate that it is likely that the Scottish and UK economy will fall in to recession this year.

Labour believes that the SNP must take urgent steps to address the immediate aftershocks to the Scottish economy following the EU referendum.

The plan includes proposals such as:

  • Bringing forward infrastructure spending with a particular focus on housebuilding with a target of 60,000 affordable homes built over the next 5 years.
  • Establishing a Brexit Support Fund for at-risk sectors.
  • Guaranteeing existing workers’ rights in the UK.
  • Confirming EU nationals studying, working and living in the UK can remain in the UK after Brexit.
  • Ending austerity by using the new powers of the Scottish Parliament.

Labour have called for Theresa May to stop using ‘human beings as bargaining chips’ , saying that a guarantee that EU nationals can remain in the UK and that workers’ rights will be protected would send a vital and important signal to Europe and the rest of the world.

Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale said:

“The consequences of the UK voting to leave the EU will be felt for years to come, and the only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know very much about what the future holds.

Labour supports the SNP government’s efforts to secure Scotland’s relationship with the EU.

The Tory and SNP governments must explore all options to ensure that Scotland can remain in the EU and the UK. That is what the majority of people in Scotland voted for.

However, Scotland’s governments have a moral duty to protect jobs and the economy from the fallout of Brexit.

The Tory government must stop using human beings as bargaining chips and guarantee that those who work, study and live here can stay and that the rights we enjoy at work are protected. At a time when Europe and the rest of the world are looking at the UK in confusion that would send a vital signal that we remain a compassionate country.

Labour stands with the majority of Scots who want to be part of the UK and the EU – we won’t give up pursuing those options but protecting jobs and public services must come first.”

Scottish Labour Economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie said

“Whilst the SNP are entirely right to continue to attempt to secure Scotland’s place in Europe, they can’t take their eye off the day job – they have a duty to protect Scottish jobs and the Scottish economy from the fallout of Brexit in the short, medium and long term.

Bringing forward infrastructure spending will give our economy a boost – and Labour would argue the primary focus should be housebuilding so we can tackle Scotland’s housing crisis.

The SNP government should also establish a Brexit support fund for industries most at risk and use the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to stop the cuts to public services.

Scotland’s economy will face serious challenges regardless of how the process of Brexit plays out – it is vital that the SNP government have a plan in place to protect our economy from the shocks it will face now and in the future.”