Scottish economy contracts over ‘Brexit Uncertainty’
The Scottish government has reported a reduction in economic output in the second quarter of this year.
The economy shrank by 0.3% between April and June, a loss compounded by the fact that the biggest falls occurred in sectors which had performed well in the previous quarter.
According to reports, construction activity has sharply reduced in the second quarter and the service sector has not grown either.
Not surprisingly, today’s depressing news has elicited sharply different explanations from the Scottish government and Westminster.
The Scottish finance secretary, Derek Mackay, blamed the “Brexit impact” for the reduction in economic output.
“There can now be no doubt that any form of Brexit will damage our economy and a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for Scotland and could push the country into recession”, Mackay said.
Mackay added that: “the responsibility for this contraction lies entirely with the UK government”.
Meanwhile, Westminster’s man in Scotland, the Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, tried to blame the Scottish government for the poor economic performance.
Jack said that the Scottish government should use its “considerable powers” to improve the economy rather than “holding it back” with “threats of a second independence referendum”.
The spat between Mackay and Jack is emblematic of the deep polarization in Scottish politics, where every disagreement gets bound up with the heated debate over a second Scottish independence referendum.
The Scottish government, led by Nicola Sturgeon, wants to hold a referendum on Scottish independence in the second half of 2020.