Six months until Brexit
Terms of departure still not agreed.
With exactly six months to go the only 'credible plan' to minimise the damage of Brexit is the Scottish Government's proposal to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union, Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell has said.
Terms of the UK's departure from the EU have still not been agreed ahead of the scheduled exit date of 29 March 2019.
It is also almost two years since the Scottish Government published evidence-based proposals to mitigate the shock of Brexit on Scotland and the UK as a whole.
Mr Russell said:
"Scotland should not be forced out of the EU against our will. We did not vote for Brexit and the majority of people in Scotland remain against it. However the Scottish Government has offered compromise after compromise to help the UK Government honour its commitments to the UK electorate but they have, so far, all been refused.
"If the UK is to leave the EU it cannot be done in the chaotic, disastrous way that is presently being pursued by the UK Government. It beggars belief that, six months out from Brexit, the UK Government still has no workable plan and no clear way to achieve any sort of agreement with the EU.
"EU leaders have consistently said they will not accept any proposal that undermines the single market while the UK Government's own 'no deal' guidance confirms the prospect of grounded flights, food supply disruption and delays at border posts if an agreement cannot be reached.
"Even a Canada-EU type relationship would leave every person in Scotland £1,600 a year worse off compared to staying in the EU.
"The only credible plan left standing is the Scottish Government's proposal to stay in the Customs Union and Single Market, which is around eight times bigger than the UK market alone. Our analysis shows this would be the best outcome for Scotland and the UK as a whole, if staying in the EU is not possible.
"We should not be faced with a choice between the twin disasters of a 'no deal' Brexit and a 'blind' Brexit where we do not have any detail or guarantees on future trading relationships."
The Scottish Government's proposals for mitigating the impact of Brexit were published in Scotland's Place in Europe in December 2016.
Scottish Government analysis in Scotland's Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment showed a Canada-EU type relationship will cost each person in Scotland the equivalent of £1,600 a year compared to continued EU membership.