First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will work to build an “all-Scotland coalition” of politicians, business and universities to protect the country’s place in the European Single Market.
Sturgeon made the announcement when she opened the annual National Economic Forum in Edinburgh as it prepared to discuss the impact of Brexit on Scottish businesses.
She explained to 150 business and public sector leaders the Scottish Government’s next steps “to protect the economy” in the face of an impending UK exit from the European Union.
“Creating jobs, expanding the economy and growing tax revenues – these priorities are at the centre of everything we do,” said Sturgeon.
“But economists have estimated a hard Brexit will cost Scotland 80,000 jobs within a decade.
“I believe a coalition can be built to keep the UK as a whole in the Single Market. That outcome is in the best interests of everyone in these islands.
“So we will work with other organisations and parties, not just in Scotland but across the UK, to achieve that outcome.
“And in Scotland, regardless of the positions people take on the constitutional future of Scotland, on this central issue of Single Market membership there is widespread agreement.
“Rarely has there been such unity on an issue.
“So today let’s resolve to present to the UK Government a unified Scottish position: an all-Scotland coalition of support for the Single Market.
“An all-Scotland coalition – of politicians, business, universities and others – to resist a hard Brexit.
“We will work constructively with all relevant parties to achieve the goal of retaining our place in Europe and Single Market membership.”