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  1. MSPs on the European Committee hold a special session in light of the UK's Brexit vote.
  2. Almost a dozen witnesses gave evidence before members at Holyrood.
  3. Among them were representatives from the farming and drinks sectors.
  4. On 23 June, voters in the UK backed Brexit by 52% to 48%.
  5. In Scotland, the electorate voted by 62% to 38% for Britain to remain in the EU.

Live Reporting

By Jo Perry and Deirdre Kelly

All times stated are UK

Evidence session on the impact on Scotland of the UK leaving the EU concludes

The panel of witnesses to the special sitting of Holyrood's European Committee has now finished its evidence. For more information of the post-Brexit vote debate, follow the BBC's Scottish Politics pages.

Europe panel and witnesses

Panel members outline what action they have already taken since the Brexit vote on 23 June

David Frost said the whisky industry had been "quick off the mark" in terms of speaking to relevant people and politicians. He added that it was too early to say what issues will be found in the future. Mr Frost said he was repeating simple messages to as many people as possible.

David Frost

Bertie Armstorng said fishing leaders were are already in touch with the Scottish government. He added: "I guess the UK government is still establishing its structure,. It is very early days."

Bertie Armstrong

Alastair Sim told the committe that Scotland's universities had good engagement with the Scottish government so far. He was pleased assurances were given early to 2016 students. Mr Sim added that it would be good to do the same for "our 2017 students".

Alastair Sim

Future arrangements for UK flights 'open skies' access to global market are unclear, says airport chief

MSPs raise questions on the "open skies" issue.

Gordon Dewar

Gordon Dewar from Edinburgh Airport says it is "unlikely" that Scotland will lose flight access within Europe.

However, their situation is unclear regarding further afield and arrangements with the US. He cites Norwegian Air, which has access to Europe but experiences issues with the US.

Mr Dewar said that because we are an island nation, air links are important.

Lending should be readily supplied to maintain confidence, says Virgin Money spokesman

Virgin Money's Hugh Chater tells the committee that confidence must be maintained regarding the housing sector and investment in future infrastructure projects.

Hugh Chater

He believes that at the heart of the economy is the need for consumers to have belief that they can work and live well.

Mr Chater said it was important to ensure that there was a ready supply of lending. He added that it was "fundamentally vital" and needed to be considered in Scotland and more generally in the UK.

Food and Drink chief says Scots should look to New Zealand for inspiration on future trade deals

James Withers said it would be helpful to look at New Zealand, where subsidy deals in the agricultural sector were dramatically changed.

James Withers

They shifted funding from direct farm payments to food processing and were the first country in the world to negotiate a free trade agreement with China, he says. 

He believes there could be many fresh opportunities for Scotland post Brexit.

NFU says fresh opportunity to 'reward farmers who farm' and look again at subsidy system

The NFU will consult its members later in the year to see how they believe the "the future system" should be shaped.

Clare Slipper

Union representative Clare Slipper believes that this is not the time for a "knee-jerk reaction".

She said now was the time to try to make the system a better one for the future. 

Ms Slipper said it was a prime opportunity to look again at payouts and "reward farmers who are farming".

Brexit raises challanges for sustaining 'vibrant and open university ecosystem' in Scotland

The director of Universities Scotland, Alistair Sim, outlines his worries about losing the Horizon 2020 deal, which gives European Union money to research projects in Scotland.

Alistair Sim

He also raises questions about the long-term impact of Brexit for students, staff and intellectual property. He tells the committee that changes to the freedom of movement could affect the 1^% of acemdemic staff who are from the EU and 24,000 EU students studying in Scotland as well as the £156m they spend off campus.

Brexit could provide greater opportunities to promote Scottish food and drink

James Withers

James Withers from Scotland Food and Drink said that the ability to promote Scottish produce was restricted inside the EU.

He said there were 13 Scottish products, including whisky products, which had protection.

However, he said that work could be done post-Brexit to look at better promotion of Scotland's regional food and drink.

Potential for 'world leadership' for Scottish fishing industry following Brexit

Bertie Armstrong from the Scottish Fishermen's Federation said the time was now to focus on the outcome of the vote.

Bertie Armstrong

He said negotiations should be about Scottish jobs and the potential for "world leadership" in the fishing industry.

Mr Armstrong added that there was a great opportunity to be the chief partner over a "beautiful piece of maritime real estate".

"We would not become the bully of the north east continental shelf, we couldn't do that, we would have to negotiate, not from a clean sheet, but from where we are."

Bertie ArmstrongScottish Fishermen's Federation

A Scottish deal could provide opportunities for Edinburgh's financial sector

Hugh Chater from Virgin Money said if Scotland could arrange its own post-Brexit deal, particularly on the issue of passporting, there could be fresh opportunities for Edinburgh's financial sector.

He says the issue is particularly pertinent for the sector in Scotland, which employs more than 100,000 people work.

Hugh Chater
Virgin Money

Whisky industry used to 'managing change' but worried about retaining access to the single market

David Frost of the Whisky Association presents a mixed picture. 

He said his sector was used to managing change, but added many things would remain unchanged.

David Frost

There are two areas of uncertainty, he adds - one is whether there will be access to trade agreements which have preference for EU members.

The second is on the single market - will the UK still have membership, will there be access to it? Mr Frost is keen to find out what negotiations will produce.

Scottish Fishermen's Federation says Brexit offers 'once in a lifetime opportunity' for Scotland

  • Alastair Sim says it is "vastly important that we get this right". He wants the free movement of "ideas and talent" maintained.
  • Gordon Dewar says that uncertainty is a "huge barrier". At the moment we are seeing from Ryanair that they will shift investment from the UK "until they see what happens". These things are "recoverable".
  • James Withers says he does not see "uncertainty" ending any time soon. He believes Plan A needs to be seen from the perspective of the food and drink industry. He adds that the big issue for him is the workforce. Mr Withers wants assurances over workers who originate from mainland Europe.
  • Clare Slipper says her industry is on "business as usual mode" as you "can't turn farming on and off". She wants to see what is going to happen with CAP in particular.
  • Bertie Armstrong says Brexit offers "a once in a lifetime opportunity" for the fishing industry. He makes reference to the cod wars more than four decades ago and the establishment of "equal access to the seas". Mr Armstrong believed that was not beneficial to Scotland. There is a "massive prize" for Scotland and Scottish fishing if the right approach post-Brext is made.

Business representatives from farming, fishing and the whisky industry, begin their evidence

  • Clare Slipper, Parliamentary Officer, National Farmers Union Scotland
  • Bertie Armstrong, Chief Executive, Scottish Fishermen's Federation
  • David Frost, Chief Executive, Scotch Whisky Association
  • Alastair Sim, Director, Universities Scotland
  • Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Airport Ltd
  • Hugh Chater, Director of Banking, Virgin Money
  • James Withers, Scotland Food and Drink

New EU negotiator likely to play 'hard ball' on access to single market and changes to freedom of movement

On the appointment of Michel Barnier, a former French government minister and ex-European Commission vice-president, as the EU's negotiator on Brexit, the panel asks what the chances are of the UK obtaining its desire to remain in the single market while restricting free movement.

Economic forecaster Greame Roy says: "I wouldn't like his job. It sets the scene for how difficult negotiations are going to be over the next wee while."

Stephen Boyd

Stephen Boyd from the STUC union adds:

It simply reflects the fact that the EU is likely to play hard ball here. But I think anybody who has looked at the issue closely knew that was going to be the case.

Stephen BoydSTUC

Federation of Small Business Scotland voices concern about changes to EU free movement rules

Dr Graeme Roy says that fundamentally the single market is built on freedom of labour and crucially freedom of establishment - that is the freedom to set up a new business in another part of the European Union.

Colin Boreland

He said he was skeptical as to whether you could take out the freedom of movement element and have a system that continues to work for trade and business. Mr Roy added that the key to a good outcome would be the Brexit negotiation process.

Colin Borland of the Federation of Small Business says it's vital that companies can hire the right people without added bureaucracy. 

He adds: "The bottom line is that we cannot be going through the same hassle that a Bangladeshi restaurant having problems with getting chefs" goes through.

Economic growth in Scotland faces future challenges, says forecaster

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles examines the Fraser of Allander report and highlights that growth in Scotland over the past 12 months was 0.6% compared with 2% across the UK as a whole. 

"We were in trouble for a whole year before the EU vote," he says.

Mike Rumbles

Economic forecaster Graeme Roy acknowledges that the Scottish economy is facing challenges.

The Scottish economy has been fragile for the last 18 months, particularly in relation to the North Sea - so that was well before the EU referendum. We also think there will be future challenges when the second quarter figures are released.

Graeme RoyFraser of Allander Institute

The Brexit vote raises urgent questions about the way Holyrood is funded

Graeme Roy raises questions about the implications for the transfer of powers to Holyrood.

Graeme Roy

He told the committee: "You either have Barnett or fiscal raising powers.

"CAP (Common Agricultural Policy payments made to farmers) are worth about 18% to Scotland. How would that come into the Scottish government budget? 

"This is a significant thing that needs to be resolved very quickly."

Are there opportunities following the Brexit vote, the panel is asked?

Kenny Richmond, senior director of Scottish Enterprise, says there are a lot of enterprising businesses in Scotland and many will be looking to opportunities in the rest of the UK and beyond. 

Colin Borland says that before the referendum, the situation for businesses was not great in terms of growth. But he said that given the vote outcome companies were trying to adapt.

Graeme Roy

Graeme Orr says that there is probably a case for fiscal stimulus and there is work to be done to access new markets in this "new world" reality. However, he tells the committee there is a danger of getting into the cycle of saying "everything's gloomy".

It's incumbent on government to put out the message that Scotland is open for business

Graeme RoyFraser of Allander Institute

Brexit negotiations take a 'long time' and will put the UK at a 'disadvantage', committee hears

Negotiating trade deals takes a long time, says Graeme Roy from the Fraser of Allander Institute. "It will put us [the UK] at a disadvantage," he adds.

Colin Borland from the Federation of Small Business says that his body will commission work to see what different options on free trade agreements are likely.

Mr Boyd says that free trade deals are massively complex.


EU red tape issue was 'over exaggerated' - STUC spokesman

Stephen Boyd says that on the bureaucracy point, he believes that during the referendum campaign there was an over exaggeration of "EU red tape".

He fears that bureaucracy will increase dramatically once the UK leaves the European Union.

Stephen Boyd

Lack of free movement of workers 'could have a bureaucratic impact'

Colin Borland of the Federation of Small Business Scotland tells the committee that because of the free movement of people, it is relatively easy to hire from Europe. He believes any new deal would need to keep bureaucracy to a minimum.

Colin Boreland

A future without UK access to the European Single Market is outlined by the Fraser of Allander Institute expert

Graeme Roy from the Fraser of Allander Institute says that if the post-Brexit deal is close to what the UK currently has with the single market, then the impact on trade and business will be less.

He adds;

  • If you keep EEA membership then there will be need for proof of origin, plus customs checks
  • If you move to a Switzeland model there could be a lack of access to EU services 
  • If you move to a Turkey model then there will be no access to services
  • And if you come out completely, tariff barriers will be introduced
Graeme Roy

Union spokesman says he fears Brexit could diminish the rights of workers in the future

Stephen Boyd, assistant secretary of the STUC, says he believes the future "will be worse than we have now" once the UK leaves the European Union. 

The focus now will be on what is negotiated, he adds.

Mr Boyd also tells the committee that he fears there is a "high risk" that "current protections [for workers] will be diminished".

Stephen Boyd

Committee hears that 'improving productivity has historically been an issue for Scotland'

Lack of future productivity in Scotland is a concern, says Mr Roy of the think tank. He says that improving productivity has historically been an issue for Scotland.

He tells the committee: "If our inward investment and exports were to slip further [due to Brexit], improving productivity would be difficult."


Expert outlines a possible 'sharp slowdown' due to the Brexit vote

Graeme Roy of the Fraser of Allander Institute is first to be quizzed by MSPs. He speaks about the report his body has published. It says that Scotland faces a sharp slowdown in growth and higher unemployment over the next few years as a direct result of the Brexit vote.

Graeme Roy of the Fraser of Allander Institute

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay says Fraser of Allander Brexit report is 'call to action'

Good Morning Scotland

BBC Radio Scotland

A leading economic forecaster has warned of a possible technical recession in Scotland as a result of the Brexit vote.

The Fraser of Allander Institute says a prolonged spell of uncertainty and financial volatility are now unavoidable.

Derek Mackay

They've also warned unemployment will rise next year and say the top priority now has to be retaining access to Europe's Single Market.

Derek Mackay, Scotland's Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, told the Good Morning Scotland programme: "It indicates what some people have been saying.

"It also had calls for action - many of which I would support in terms of the UK government, Bank of England and others.

"I think it supports that position to try and secure the best possible deal for Scotland, the best possible outcome and that's why the Scottish government's pursuing Scotland's interests."

Members of the European and External Relations Committee hold a special summer session

MSPs will be hearing evidence from financial experts and business leaders into the possible consequences of the post-Brexit vote.

Starting at 09:30, the committee is due to take evidence from;

  • Graeme Roy, Director (Designate), Fraser of Allander Institute
  • Colin Borland, Senior Head of External Affairs, Federation of Small Business Scotland
  • Kenny Richmond, Senior Director, Economics, Scottish Enterprise
  • Stephen Boyd, Assistant Secretary, STUC
  • Clare Slipper, Parliamentary Officer, National Farmers Union Scotland
  • Bertie Armstrong, Chief Executive, Scottish Fishermen's Federation
  • David Frost, Chief Executive, Scotch Whisky Association
  • Alastair Sim, Director, Universities Scotland
  • Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Airport Ltd
  • Hugh Chater, Director of Banking, Virgin Money
  • And a representative of Scotland Food and Drink