PROBLEMS for Scottish businesses as a result of Brexit are "multiplying and spreading", Michael Russell has said.

The SNP Constitution, Europe and External Affairs Secretary said companies have been left "toothless" following the end of the transition period.

He said the Scottish Government will "continue to do everything in our power" to mitigate the impact of Brexit. 

This includes backing a call from the food and drink industry for a six-month grace period to allow companies more time to cope with the changes.

Mr Russell also urged the UK Government to improve the information it shares on emerging issues at ports.

Speaking in Holyrood, he flagged a range of ongoing issues including exporters facing new customs controls and system failures.

Estimates suggest as much as £1 million a day has been lost by the seafood industry alone since the start of the year.

Mr Russell said the UK Government’s own reasonable worst case scenario predicts 142,000 tons of perishable goods including food, feed and drink could be wasted over the next six months because of Brexit border disruption.

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Meanwhile, Scottish seed potato farmers who will no longer be able to export to Europe face an estimated £11m of losses.

Mr Russell said: "It is an incontrovertible fact that four weeks into the new trading arrangements, the problems for businesses are not diminishing, but multiplying and spreading across different sectors of the economy.

"The disruption to the seafood sector has resulted in the damaging delays, huge costs and devastating losses which we feared would be the outcome of becoming an EU third country and dealing with new and untested processes.

"Unfortunately it is not just the fishing part of the food industry that is being impacted. 

"A whole new category of prohibited and restricted goods has been created meaning Scottish exporters can no longer trade their produce freely with the EU.

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"Even the UK Government has now admitted that these are not ‘teething issues’ – they are a permanent exclusion from the single market that leaves many businesses in Scotland toothless in a competitive modern economy.

"What we ended up with was the hardest of Brexit deals, recklessly pursued at the very depths of the pandemic. That was bound to be a disaster, and it has been.

"The Scottish Government will of course continue to do everything in our power to mitigate the impacts of Brexit on this country, its businesses and its communities. 

"Far from being over, the problems created by Brexit are getting worse and we face more difficult times ahead."