High­lands firms want to stay in sin­gle mar­ket

The Oban Times - - Business -

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.’

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