First Minister Mark Drakeford today warned that the UK government’s go-it-alone approach to future trade with the EU will damage the Welsh economy in a rushed bid to get a deal.
The UK government has published its negotiating mandate for talks on our future relationship with the EU – negotiations which will have serious real-life implications for the Welsh economy.
The First Minister said:
“What the UK government is proposing will damage the Welsh economy and jobs. They are offering a basic, bare bones relationship that lacks ambition and lets down Wales.
“The UK government have refused to put forward any analysis of the impact of the relationship they want. Not being straight with the public on what this approach will mean for our economy is unacceptable.
“They are rushing to get a deal – any deal – by the end of the year. That political ambition is clearly more important to them than getting a deal that is in the interests of all the nations of the UK.
“The proposals put ideology ahead of people’s livelihoods. The UK government no longer even pretends that there will be no new barriers to trade. Their proposals will mean more paperwork, more delays, more checks on goods and services we export to EU. And if the negotiations fail, we also risk facing tariffs which would be crippling for our farmers and food sector.
“The Prime Minister needs to be open with the public on the choices the UK government is making and their impact on jobs, businesses, investment and communities. Hiding the truth is unacceptable. The UK cannot simply walk away from the close, integrated economy we have with the Europe and hope the public will not notice.”
The First Minister also commented on the way in which the UK government has worked with the devolved governments:
“Over the last three and a half years, we have taken every opportunity to speak to UK ministers about the specific concerns we have on protecting and promoting the Welsh economy, providing evidence and proposals. The UK government has chosen a very different course.
“The mandate they have published means that Wales’ vital interests are not represented in these negotiations. When the UK government begins these negotiations next week – the most important in 50 years – it will be doing so on its own. To our great regret, it has chosen not to speak for all the governments across the UK.”