Minister calls for Brexit scaremongering to stop as ‘total trade is up’

Business minister Nus Ghani claimed that trade is thriving post-Brexit,

Total UK trade is up and Brexit scaremongering “just has to stop”, a business minister has said.

Nus Ghani told the Commons that trade in the UK is thriving post-Brexit, as she dismissed concerns about the effects of the country’s withdrawal from the European Union as “scaremongering”.

Her remarks came in response to a question about the impact of Brexit on business and trade in the UK from Alba Party MP Neale Hanvey.

The business minister highlighted the regulatory sovereignty that the UK has gained after leaving the EU, insisting the ability to tailor regulations to suit the UK economy, support businesses and protect consumers has been a significant advantage.

She said: “Having regained our regulatory sovereignty now that we have left the EU, we are now able to ensure that our regulation is tailored to the UK economy, supports our businesses and protects our consumers and having left a single market we can focus on UK trade with the world, where trade is up 24%.

“So the answer to this question is the effect is total trade is up post Brexit.”

However, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Mr Hanvey said “resilient and effective routes to market are essential for trade”, arguing “the congestion that’s being currently experienced in Dover is a significant barrier to effective trade”.

He went on: “Will the minister meet with me to discuss how we reintroduce direct links from Scotland to mainland Europe and ensure trade is friction-free from Scotland?”

Responding to the Alba MP’s concerns, Ms Ghani reiterated her stance, dismissing them as an exaggeration.

She said: “I don’t think he heard my answer. Trade is up. The reality is this scaremongering just has to stop. The scaremongering is basically a cover for petty nationalism and I would ask him to remember to be passionate about the market that matters.

“That is between Scotland and England and if he was passionate about Scottish businesses and Scottish jobs, he would be passionate about the single market that matters.”

Tory MP Philip Hollobone also commended the benefits of Brexit during business and trade questions, claiming that dire predictions made during the Brexit referendum have all proved wrong.

The Kettering MP said: “Here in 2023 with us outside the European Union employment is at record highs, unemployment at record lows, the eurozone is in recession, we’re not, and our exports to the EU are at record levels.

“Isn’t it now demonstrably true that we were always going to be better off out?”

Business minister Kevin Hollinrake replied: “Well as Churchill once said, the pessimist sees a crisis in every opportunity, the optimist, like he is, sees an opportunity in every crisis.

“The UK’s total exports are now recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Measured against 2018, in 2022 UK exports were £815 billion, up 21% in current prices, and up 0.5% once adjusted for inflation.

“There is no doubt UK exports continue to excel and will continue to do so.”

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