Cost of extra infrastructure at Scottish ports caused by Brexit should be paid for by UK government

Every penny of the money needed to pay for installing additional infrastructure at Scottish ports, in the event that Britain leaves the Customs Union while Northern Ireland stays in, should be paid for by the UK government, according to a Green MSP

Ross Greer, a West of Scotland MSP, says the physical and digital infrastructure which would be required should not have to be paid for by coastal councils, or the Scottish Government, and that the simplest and cheapest solution is for Scotland and the rest of the UK to stay in the Customs Union and Single Market.

On Friday (9 Feb), Michel Barnier said the UK's decision to leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union meant border checks at the Irish border were "unavoidable", meaning that the UK government’s commitment to ensuring no hard border in Ireland is now only likely to be possible by Northern Ireland staying in the Customs Union.

Ross Greer MSP, the Scottish Greens’ Europe spokesperson, said:

“If the Tories insist on this ridiculous policy of leaving the Customs Union, then it’s likely that Northern Ireland will remain in to avoid the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland. The consequences of that for Scotland, and our west coast in particular, would be massive.

"The likes of Cairnryan and potentially Ardrossan and other ports would become customs borders overnight. That would require enormous amounts of additional infrastructure, both physical and digital. Given that not one of the councils along our west coast, or Scotland as a whole, voted for Brexit or to leave the Customs Union, neither they nor the Scottish Government should be forced to fork out what will be significant sums of money in a short space of time to make these changes.

“Every penny should come from the Westminster government dragging us into this mess. David Davis and David Mundell should commit to this immediately and begin rebuilding what is currently a shattered relationship with the Scottish people and their representatives."

Greer added:

"The Tories have wasted more than half of the Brexit negotiations pursuing not just objectionable but objectively impossible positions. They have already agreed in Stage One to maintain what is essentially a customs union for the sake of an open border on Ireland and the stability of the peace process there but have yet again stated since then that their policy is to be outwith a customs union, allowing them to negotiate disastrous trade deals with the likes of the Trump administration.”