Highlands firms want to stay in single market
MORE than two-thirds of businesses across the Highlands and Islands believe membership of the European single market is important to the Scottish economy, according to new research.
And Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil said that the Tory UK government is focused on a hard Brexit which includes leaving the single market and the customs union – a move which is also supported by the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.
The Ipsos MORI survey of 1,014 Highlands and Islands businesses and social enterprises, commissioned by development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), found that 70 per cent of businesses surveyed said single market membership was important to the Scottish economy.
Mr MacNeil said: ‘Business owners are experts in their own sectors and are the best source of knowledge on what the im- plications of leaving the single market will be on the economy.
‘Experts in various sectors are increasingly of the view that, even if Brexit was planned well over a long period of time, it would still have negative implications on business and the wider community.
‘The view of the Tory government and the Labour Party is that the UK should leave the single market and pursue a Brexit deal without member- ship. That is a view contrary to the majority of businesses asked in this survey.
‘Whatever deal we get post-Brexit, it will be worse than what we have right now.
‘There are other challenges for businesses in the Highlands and Islands at this time but there is no doubt that leaving the single market, as is the aim of the Tories and the Labour Party, is not supported by the business community.’