Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Fair Work, Keith Brown, will call for the Scottish Parliament to unanimously back Scotland’s continued membership of the EU single market at a debate in Holyrood later this week.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Brown said: “The people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain within the European Union, and it is vital that any Brexit negotiation acknowledges and respects that choice.
“This is why I am asking the Scottish Parliament to show consensus on this issue, so we can unanimously call on the UK Government to explore all avenues to protect this access, rather than dragging Scotland out against our will.
“The EU is a vital trading body for Scotland. It’s the destination for 42% of our exports, is a market nine times bigger than the UK’s alone, contains eight of our top 12 export destinations and contributed £11.6 billion to the economy in 2014.
“The benefits of remaining within this market are clear – Scotland is currently the most attractive region outside of London for overseas inward investment, and maintaining a pathway to the single market is a key factor for many international companies who choose to base themselves here.
“Removing Scotland from the single market would also put at risk the free movement of EU citizens, which has been a key driver of growth in Scotland, bringing in new skills and expertise and diversifying our culture and economy.
“Additionally, Scotland benefits significantly from EU funding, which supports jobs and infrastructure, sustains rural communities, provides valuable support for the farming and fishing industries and delivers research funding for universities.
“Cutting ties with the EU single market would seriously threaten Scotland’s attractiveness as a place to do business, remove several vital streams of funding, and endanger the security of jobs, businesses and services across the country.
“That is why it is essential that this week our national Parliament sends as united a message as possible that Scotland must remain in the single market.”