Scots workers would be “impoverished” without the United Kingdom, a trade minister has claimed.
Graham Stuart told MPs that without the UK’s assets, businesses and workers north of the border would not be able cope financially.
The minister’s comments came in response to a Commons question on the “advantages of the UK to exporters and inward investment in the devolved administrations”.
Mr Stuart said: “It’s the reach, power and financial heft of this United Kingdom which allowed us to be the only top 10 global exporter to increase exports last year, that allowed us to attract more foreign direct investment than any other country in Europe.
“Shorn of the UK’s assets, businesses and, more importantly, workers in places like Scotland would be impoverished.
“We seek to ensure that we use every part of the power of this United Kingdom to support jobs and investment in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.”
‘Loss of opportunity for Scottish people’
Mr Stuart, appearing at trade questions, also lashed out at the SNP‘s push for independence, saying such a move would result in a “loss of opportunity” for Scots.
Responding to a question over post-Brexit support for businesses, Mr Stuart said: “From my engagements with Scottish business, it’s clear it’s the relentless pursuit of Scottish independence, rather than the support for Scottish business, that they find the concern.
“I want to ensure, by using the power of this union, and our global reach that we can boost Scottish business, which otherwise, if we follow the path of independence, we know, would lead to a shrinking of Scottish business and a loss of opportunity for Scottish people.”
His comments come just days after the prime minister told Tory MPs on a private Zoom call that Holyrood had been “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake” and that devolution had been a “disaster” for Scotland.