A NO-DEAL Brexit could pose a serious threat to the whisky industry, the fishing sector and to the export of goods, according to separate warnings today.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has said that coming out of the EU without a deal would strip Scotch whisky of significant protection.

“Without the Scotch label being protected, the door would be wide open for knock-off merchants to capitalise on Scotland’s brand and undercut our producers,” she said.

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“And with the EU-Japan trade deal now coming into force, we face the astonishing prospect of Japanese whisky having easier access than Scotch to European markets, if we leave with no deal.

“This speaks volumes about the deeply irresponsible approach by the Tories. With the clock ticking, we’re still clueless about what Brexit is going to look like – or what Theresa May even wants.”

McAlpine, pictured below, said the UK Government needed to “get its act together” and rule out a no-deal outcome.

The National:

Writing in today’s Sunday National (Seven Days), Brexit Secretary Michael Russell warns many small businesses in Scotland are not yet focussed on how their companies would survive if normal trading stops.

He says: “Nor are many individuals fully aware of the complex supply chains and regulatory arrangements that put food on their table, ensure that the medicines they take are available at the doctors or the chemists, and underpin normal travel for business and pleasure,” he said.

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“Meanwhile our fishermen will not be able to sell their catches (no matter how much bigger an opportunity some of them think they will have) and the normal export of goods – food, drink, electronics and other items – will be disrupted.”

Adding to these warnings is a detailed new analysis published by the respected charity Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.

It points out that staff shortages, reduced funding for services and less capacity for vital scientific research are some of the anticipated consequences of Britain’s departure from the EU on March 29. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the paper also highlights concerns about the supply of medicines.

Mark Hazelwood, chief executive of the Scottish Partnership of Palliative Care, said demand for palliative care was growing in Scotland so this was an issue of critical importance.

“Our NHS and social care system is already running on red and we are extremely concerned about the negative impact of Brexit,” he said.

Other warnings of a no-deal Brexit include:

  • Leaked documents claim the UK Government is preparing for “putrefying stockpiles” of rubbish if there is no deal. An Environment Agency email written on Thursday said there is a “serious amount of panic” over the issue.
  • New research by the Institute of Directors shows nearly a third of businesses in the UK have relocated, or are planning to relocate, their operations due to the “unavoidable disruption” of Brexit, whether there is a deal or not.
  • UK Government’s Farming and Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has warned of disruption and rising costs after a no deal Brexit.
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said to the NHS that no deal could lead to medicine shortages.
  • A letter from the British Retail Consortium signed by major retailers such as Asda and Sainbury’s says a no-deal Brexit would threaten the country’s food security and lead to empty shelves and higher prices.

Holyrood will be updated on Wednesday on Scottish Government preparations for a no-deal Brexit.