Finance secretary Derek Mackay has been accused of using Brexit as a “crutch” to hide his own failings in running Scotland’s economy.
He blamed the UK’s departure from the European Union for Scotland edging towards recession, after figures today showed the economy north of the border contracted by 0.3 per cent between April and June this year.
However, when Scotland’s economy grew in the previous quarter, he ignored Brexit and instead claimed: “Growing the economy is a priority for the Scottish Government and we can see from these results it is working.”
Shadow economy secretary Dean Lockhart said the SNP was happy to take credit when growth occurred, but shirked responsibility when results like today’s showed the economy going backwards.
The official figures revealed construction and production were the worst-hit sectors, shrinking in quarter two by 2.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.
Scottish Conservative shadow economy secretary Dean Lockhart said:
“In true SNP style, whenever things look bad Derek Mackay reaches for the Brexit crutch.
“When Scotland’s economy grew just three months before, all the SNP cared about was trumpeting its own record.
“Yet when Scottish businesses need assurances and explanations the most, the nationalists run for cover.
“That’s a cowardly way to govern. Scotland’s economy has continually struggled in comparison to the rest of the UK, year after year.
“Reaching for the Brexit excuse on each occasion simply doesn’t cut it.
“The reality is that the economy in the rest of the UK, also subject to Brexit uncertainty, has been growing at almost twice the rate of Scotland under the SNP.”