Elizabeth Arnold, PA Political Staff
15 March, 2023 15:38
Brexit “slammed the brake on UK investment”, SNP economy spokesperson Stewart Hosie has said.
Responding to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget, Mr Hosie argued the UK economy was “one of the weakest” in the G7.
He told the Commons: “Being outside the EU single market remains a drag on the ability of firms to trade easily with our nearest neighbours.”
The MP for Dundee East pointed to the “unilaterally imposed trade barriers” brought in by the UK’s exit from the European Union.
He said: “What the Chancellor actually described though was a UK economy which has gone from the most robust in the G7, to one of the weakest.
“A UK economy where Brexit slammed the brake on UK investment, a UK whose performance deteriorated after the Brexit referendum both in absolute and relative terms.
“A country which unilaterally imposed trade barriers with its nearest neighbours and a country, the only one in the G7 where the economy has not returned to its pre-pandemic level.”
Mr Hosie said the Budget needed to “begin to address more of the long-term issues the economy faces and action to tackle some of cost burdens on ordinary people”.
Turning to the UK Government’s support for nuclear power, he said: “Here’s the rub when they call it green or renewable. Allowing one or two generations to buy expensive, overpriced nuclear energy, nuclear electricity and then forcing the next 50 generations to decommission, store and guard toxic nuclear waste is not green.”
Mr Hosie raised the impact of food price inflation and rising mortgages.
He said: “Grocery prices continue to rise if you can get fresh produce at all.
“Grocery inflation rose in February to a record high of 17.1%, that will add the best part of £1,000 to the average family shopping basket throughout the year and we know that families are really beginning to feel the pain of increased mortgage costs.”
He added: “They could have gone further to introduce real fairness and raise more cash, to really support the economy and really boost trade. Ending non-dom status, not mentioned today. Taxing share buybacks, not mentioned today.
“Not doing, but scrapping costly vanity nuclear power projects and investing in real green renewables and fundamentally re-joining the EU single market to give our exporters and our economy a fighting chance to recover.”