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KAREN ADAM: Brexit and lack of Tory empathy exacerbating cost of living crisis

By Contributor

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Whether at parties or otherwise, there’s been much Tory eating of humble pie at work recently.

Karen Adam claims Tory rhetoric led Scotland down a cul-de-sac on Brexit.
Karen Adam claims Tory rhetoric led Scotland down a cul-de-sac on Brexit.

When reading this, you will no doubt have access to the Sue Gray report and whatever measures may have been hastily rushed in by the Chancellor, but inequality is on the rise with pay growing fastest for the highest earners, whilst inflation hits those on the lowest incomes, hardest.

Trust in Westminster through the lack of empathy and broken promises made, is at an all time low. The Ofgem CEO has said that the energy regulator is anticipating an average price cap as of October, in the region of £2800, pushing 10 million people in the UK into fuel poverty and the cost of living crisis is being made worse by Brexit.

Interviewed on the BBC recently (David Madden, a market analyst at Equiti Capital) when asked why has the UK got the worst inflation in the G7, stated that it’s a combination of factors which many other nations face such as higher energy, food prices, transportation issues, but the UK is at the top of the table due to the negative impact of Brexit.

I was no fan of Brexit, but I have always respected those who had a pro Brexit view, but it angers me when the Tory rhetoric around the issue back in the day has led Scottish people down a cul de sac. Scotland’s world renowned fishing industry is a key sector. That’s why I will do everything I can to protect and support our sustainable fishing industry.

SNP Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam.
SNP Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam.

The Westminster government promised radical reforms to help the sector ‘take back control’ of our waters, increase quota shares, meanwhile promising minimal impact to trading. This is a stark contrast to what the fishing sector are currently experiencing. Sector leaders justifiably brand the UK government’s actions as betrayals and broken promises.

That’s why during the Rural Affairs, Islands & Natural Environment (RAINE) committee, I asked George Eustace, (the UK government’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) what his Tory government are doing to manage the consequences of leaving the EU? It came on the back of a former CEO of Sainsbury’s stating that he too, wanted to be clear about what has added to the cost of living crisis – telling Sky News that Brexit is to blame. Ex CEO Justin King, appeared on the news broadcaster to discuss the worsening cost of living crisis and as people living in the UK face the biggest drop in living standards in decades.

So woeful was the response to my questions to Mr Eustace that the package made it onto the BBC and you can take a look at the segment on my Facebook page. It is a damning indictment of the Tory betrayal of this area’s fishers, the proud heritage and our history.

I raised that in terms of how Brexit is unravelling, the mood on the ground does not seem good. There is a lot of evidence that for small Scottish businesses generally, Brexit is at best a problem that businesses can adapt to and learn to live with, and at worst an existential threat that makes them uncompetitve in the EU market.

The fishing industry and farmers have become vocal about the contrast between what they were promised and what Brexit looks like.

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations estimates the industry to be £300m worse off by 2026 than without Brexit. Whether this is permanent, structural damage done by Brexit or just ‘teething problems’ that may still be overcome, it would seem people are having doubts about Brexit. Were Scottish people misled, fobbed off or lied to? I couldn’t possibly comment.

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