IAN BLACKFORD:MP for Ross, Skye & Lochaber

Ian Blackford MP has said the successful financial services sector in Scotland illustrates why the UK must remain in the Single Market and Customs Union, and the successful sector must be protected from the UK government’s ‘reckless and irresponsible’ hard Brexit.
The SNP Westminster Leader has made the comments ahead of a speech he is to deliver today (Friday) at a major conference in Edinburgh. The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Conference is being held in Scotland’s largest financial centre and major European hub for asset management.
Ian Blackford’s address to the conference comes against the backdrop of Brexit and the threats to remove Scotland and the UK from the Single Market and Customs Union – which even the UK government’s own analysis has concluded will make every single region and nation of the UK worse off.
SNP Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford MP commented ahead of his speech:
“Financial services play a large and key part in the Scottish economy, generating jobs and wealth. It is estimated that around 100,000 people work in the financial services industry in Scotland with perhaps a similar number employed indirectly. This must be protected when the UK leaves the EU.
“With Brexit looming, our financial services provide a good illustration of why remaining in the Single Market and customs union makes the most sense. Remaining in the European Economic Area would, for example, enable financial passporting to continue. Scotland’s financial services sector also benefits hugely from the skills and hard work of EU migrants. According to recent Scottish Government figures, 9000 EU nationals work in the finance and business services sector in Scotland.
“The Tories are behaving in a reckless and irresponsible way by taking us nearer to the cliff edge of a Hard Brexit – which would do so much damage not just to the finance and investment sectors – but across sectors of the Scottish and UK economies.
“Edinburgh is the biggest centre for life insurance and pensions anywhere in the UK. Glasgow is also a major centre of banking and insurance. It is therefore right that the Scottish Parliament is leading in protecting these sectors that are so important to our economy.
“The SNP Scottish Government is determined to create an environment where both new and established companies can thrive.
“As the UK government continues to stumble about – not being able to answer the most basic questions about Brexit and how it will hit us all – it is more important than ever that we do everything we can to stand up for Scotland’s financial sector.’’