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Brexit to hit the most vulnerable


The loss of legal rights, employment protections, funding opportunities, and supply and access to food, fuel and medicines are among the warnings made

The UK’s exit from the EU is highly likely to negatively impact the most vulnerable people in Scotland, a new report has found.

The Social and Equality Impacts of Brexit is an independent report, commissioned by the Scottish Government, which has identified 137 potential impacts on those already facing inequality, discrimination, or social exclusion.

The report highlights impacts including the loss of legal rights, employment protections, funding opportunities, healthcare rights, and supply and access to food, fuel and medicines.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell 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.

“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.

“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."

Sally Thomas, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), said the findings are concerning.

“Housing associations and co-operatives’ tenants are already often on lower incomes, and the Scottish Government’s report has found that they could face further hardship, such as rising fuel and food prices, as a result of Brexit.

“For this reason, we are asking the Scottish Government to deliver measures that will protect the poorest and most vulnerable people.

“Many support agencies do not have a presence across the whole of Scotland, including rural and remote areas, but housing associations do, and this is why they are well placed to work with other organisations to ensure tenants can access the advice they need. However, in order to do this, it is vital that the Scottish Government makes funding available.

“SFHA and our members will work with the Scottish Government to ensure those who require support after Brexit can access it.”



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