THE Scottish Government has issued a list of the “myriad of Brexit harms” which have impacted on society across Scotland.

The areas impacted by the UK Government’s handling of the exit from the EU include social care, communities, businesses, households, culture, young people, and even women’s rights, the Scottish Government has said.

External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson described Brexit as an “ongoing, cumulative calamity”.

The Brexit harms listed by the Scottish Government include:


Additional checks, trade friction, bureaucracy, and increased administration costs for exporters have impacted on Scots business and the wider economy.

The Government said the impact of Brexit has led to Scottish goods exports falling by 25% in the year to June 2021, compared to the equivalent period in 2019.

They also said that Scotland’s food exports to the EU, including fish and seafood, were 14% lower than the equivalent period in 2019, compared with a 3% drop for non-EU food exports over the same period.

READ MORE: 'Price of Brexit' as UK food and drink exports to EU plummet by billions


Before Brexit, thousands of Scottish pupils would use the Erasmus scheme every year to take the opportunity to live and study in the EU. Despite the promises of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the UK pulled out of this scheme.

Reports earlier in the year showed the UK’s replacement “Turing Scheme” failed to match the funding of its EU equivalent, with academics highlighting further flaws in the Tories’ replacement offering.

READ MORE: Professor Jim Murdoch: The fatal design flaw in UK’s Erasmus-replacing 'Turing scheme'

Echoing this prior criticism, the Scottish Government said it believes the UK Government’s Turing Scheme is “inadequate”. They added that the UK has so far been unsuccessful in securing an agreement with the EU to legally participate in the Horizon Europe Programme.

The Scottish Government said rural education institutions have been particularly affected by the loss of Erasmus and Horizon, because they have often received more European research funding.


The UK Government rejected an offer of visa-free travel across the EU for touring musicians, as they did not want to extend the same courtesy to EU artists visiting the UK. The new system has meant that touring in Europe is no longer financially possible for many British artists.

The fall-out from the Tories’ decision has led to protests and petitions calling for change, but none has been forthcoming.

The Scottish Government hit out at the UK decision not to participate in the EU’s Creative Europe programme, saying it “cut off a key arena for cultural exchange”.

READ MORE: Iona Fyfe: Westminster's Brexit is rubbing salt in the wounds of UK musicians


The Scottish Government said it is also concerned that UK protections for women’s economic and social equality will fail to keep pace with EU law.

It said that women have benefited from the legal protections that have come from the EU, such as the Part-Time Worker Directive (2000) and Fixed Term Worker Directive (2002), and protections for unpaid carers, pregnancy and maternity rights, equal pay and those relating to sex discrimination.

Although these protections are currently part of EU retained law this is no longer guaranteed to continue, particularly as the UK Government has recently announced a review of retained EU law.

This review made headlines with reports saying Liz Truss hoped to bring back the pint-sized wine bottle - but the Scottish Government has warned it may have more serious consequences.


The impact of the effect of Brexit on the UK’s labour market has been stark. Businesses in Scottish hospitality have warned that they cannot find the staff to take advantage of a rise in interest in “staycations”, and called for a special visa to help fill the role.

Similar calls came from other industries hit with staffing shortages due to Brexit, including haulage. Byline Times revealed that army staff was still being used to cover this shortfall even into December.

The Tories have taken notice of the “crisis” in one sector, quietly waiting until late on Christmas Eve to put adult social care workers onto the shortage occupation list. This aims to offer visas to workers who can plug gaps in the UK’s labour market.

Commenting on the impact of Brexit on Scottish society, External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson said it was “an ongoing, cumulative calamity – for the economy, for business, for the young, for workers, for women, for everyone: for our society”.

He went on: “Let us not forget – the decision to leave the EU, and the terms on which we left it, were taken against Scotland’s wishes and went firmly against our outward-facing, co-operative and internationalist ethos.

“The benefits of being part of the EU have been lost. The Turing Scheme is a watered-down imitation of Erasmus+ which will see support for our most disadvantaged learners cut, and opportunities for all our students, staff and young people reduced.

“The labour and skills shortages we are witnessing lay bare the extraordinary recklessness of a hard Brexit taking us out of the EU, the Single Market and Customs Union during a global pandemic.

“We remain an inclusive European nation – we share with the EU a vision for Europe that embodies democratic values, promotes the wellbeing of all of society, rises fully to the challenge of the global climate emergency and supports a sustainable economic recovery from the global pandemic. That is why we plan to rejoin the EU, as an independent nation.”