SNP minister Angus Robertson has shut down assertions from the BBC that “some” of the countries in the EU are suffering the same food and fuel shortages as the UK.

Robertson, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, was appearing on the Good Morning Scotland radio programme when he blamed Brexit for the widespread shortages across several industries.

He said: “The reason for [the shortages] is quite simple, it’s part of the more general population challenge that we have in Scotland, it’s that Brexit has turned off the tap, has seen a significant number of people return to the European continent and there are simply not enough people living here to fill important roles in our economy.”

A report from the Royal Bank of Scotland released on Friday shows a near-record number of job vacancies in the country, but also the second harshest drop in the number of applicants for permanent positions since the survey was first run in 2008.

Robertson went on: “The UK Government is pretending that this is not a serious problem and is certainly denying that Brexit has a significant role in it.

“This was their decision, they decided to pursue a hard Brexit, to take us out of the single European market and end the freedom of movement.”

The BBC host then said that such worker shortages were being seen from “America to Australia … in countries that have nothing to do with Brexit”.

Robertson accepted there was a worldwide labour shortage, but said it was only in Brexit Britain that they were having such a noticeable and damaging impact.

The Cabinet Secretary said: “If we look at the examples of what this is leading to in terms of empty shelves, in terms of delivery problems and so on, if one looks at our European continental neighbours they are not suffering the same impact of these labour shortages.”

“Some of them are,” the BBC host then claimed.

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Robertson replied: “No, I’m sorry, I spent some time this week actually looking at the reporting from state broadcasters, from Poland to Germany to France to Italy and a number of others, and not a single one of them was reporting the same level of problems that there were in the UK – absolutely none of them.

“I know that government ministers in London want to pretend that this has nothing to do with Brexit, it has an awful lot to do with Brexit and this is a problem for us.”

Confronted with the UK Government’s claims that the problems facing the UK are part of an adjustment period to a high-skilled, high-wage post-Brexit economy, Robertson said he did not think “anyone in the real world really believes that”.

The SNP minister also said he had chaired a recent meeting of a “population taskforce” looking at the issue of depopulation in Scotland but said that the limits imposed on Holyrood’s powers by the devolution settlement were preventing solutions working.

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He went on: “The UK Government has refused to meet with the Scottish Government for the longest of times - 19 times in a row the immigration minister refused to meet the Scottish Government. This week for the first time he deigned to speak with myself.”

Robertson met immigration minister Kevin Foster (above) this week, but said he refused to accede to any of the “top level” requests from the Scottish Government, including a 24-month worker visa programme.

He went on: “We’re not going to get it and the reason we’re not going to get it is because the UK Government is not prepared to listen and to agree to proposals that are being made by the Scottish Government.”

Robertson went on to say the only way Scotland can shore up its labour market is to become independent and return to the EU.