THE most vulnerable people in Scotland will be hardest hit by Brexit, a new analysis has warned.

An independent report, commissioned by the Scottish Government, says leaving the EU is likely to affect every person in the UK due to far-reaching social and economic implications and changes in rights.

But it warns it is communities who are already facing disadvantages, hardship and discrimination which are likely to be most affected.

Nearly 140 different potential impacts have been identified, highlighting consequences such as the loss of legal rights, employment protections, funding opportunities, healthcare rights and supply of food, fuel and medicines.

Author Dr Eve Hepburn, an honorary fellow at the University of Edinburgh Europa Institute, said the impacts of Brexit will be “gravest for people who face multiple inequalities”.

Writing in the report she said: “For instance: a disabled EU woman on a fixed-term contract, a minority ethnic single mother on a low-income, a man with a mental health disability who is homeless and has substance abuse problems, or a young, care-experienced member of the LGBT community.

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“People with several protected or personal characteristics who face multiple disadvantages will likely face the deepest socioeconomic impacts and the widest forms of discrimination in the workplace and society at large.” The report found that the effects will differ according to the type of Brexit which is pursued.

A “no trade deal” at the end of the transition period this year will have the most impact on people’s legal rights and living standards.

The possibility of transport and haulage disruption could lead to shortages in medicines and medical supplies affecting people with illness, disabilities, the old and very young.

A crisis in social care could also take place if there is abrupt ending of free movement and the creation of trade barriers between the UK and EU, affecting staff recruitment and costs of supplies.

A “hard” Brexit, along the lines of the deal which is being proposed, could lead to a slowdown in the economy with job losses increased, the cost of living and food prices pushed up and reductions in public spending.

“Any cuts in public services and benefits will likely hit those groups hardest who are most reliant on them, including low-income groups,” the report warns.

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Even a “softer” Brexit would still create additional barriers to trade and any trade agreements may have an impact on the rights of UK citizens, the report says.

“For instance, a softer Brexit may not prevent the UK from deciding to open up pharmaceutical supplies to the NHS to foreign-owned companies, for instance in a UK-USA trade agreement.

“This means that, under a softer Brexit, there is still a risk of loss of current social rights, especially to healthcare, medicines and consumer protections.”

Concerns around a rise in racism as a result of Brexit also still remain, no matter what type of Brexit occurs.

The National:

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell (above) said: “The Scottish Government has repeatedly warned that any kind of Brexit will be disastrous for our most vulnerable citizens.

“The UK Government failed to carry out any meaningful assessment on the impact of Brexit, including an equality impact assessment.

“The Scottish Government asked an independent expert Dr Eve Hepburn to review the social and equality impacts of leaving the EU on people in Scotland and across the UK.”

She added: “The Scottish Parliament, like the other devolved nations, has explicitly – and comprehensively – refused to give its consent to the UK Government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

“Although Scotland is being pulled out of the EU against its will, the Scottish Government will not ignore the negative impact Brexit will have on people, including the most vulnerable in our society.

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“This report underlines, yet again, why the future of Scotland should be in its own hands.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “The UK as a whole voted for Brexit and we are delivering on that instruction.

“It’s in the interests of both the UK and the EU to agree a future partnership that keeps goods flowing, services being provided and business being done, and that’s what we’re going to do.

“This year should be one of growth and opportunity as we seek to level up across all four corners of the UK, strengthen our Union and protect the most vulnerable in our society.

“We urge the Scottish Government to continue to work with us to move forward together.”