Responding to Theresa May’s Speech on Brexit Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary, said:
“At last we are hearing some proposals coming from the UK Government on Brexit and it is useful that we are finally gaining some clarity on what the future might hold. Very disappointingly that future will be outside the single market and as a consequence the fundamental right of workers to free movement will be lost. It is to be welcomed that Theresa May has indicated her support for protecting employment rights across the UK and trade unions will continue to hold her to this promise. While she made some positive statements on EU nationals, it is also clear that the status of EU nationals is far from guaranteed and they may still be used as a bargaining chip within the negotiations, an unacceptable approach to people’s lives and indeed could put in jeopardy some key public services which depend on EU labour.
“It is disappointing that Theresa May has now ruled out continuing membership of the single market, a decision which will almost certainly create difficultly for some key industries within the UK and Scotland. It is also worrying that the UK seems to be seriously considering a future as a tax haven, where low tax and low regulation are the main drivers of the economy. This model will do little to raise the fortunes of workers in Scotland, across the UK as a whole, or indeed across Europe and will not support the high quality public services that we need.”
“The Prime Minister’s pledge to put the final Brexit deal to Parliament is again to be welcomed, but seems the minimum to be expected within a Parliamentary democracy. It is clear, that if negotiating priorities now exist that these should be debated and voted upon by Parliament. The key proposal around membership of the single market should be subject to the normal democratic scrutiny and debate. It is simply unacceptable that a decision of this magnitude should be taken by the Prime Minister alone.
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