On the seventh anniversary of Brexit, I am yet to meet anybody who feels better off. The blunt reality is that life has only got harder. Inflation is persistently high, interest rates are hammering homeowners and food prices are still rising.

The UK is uniquely hard hit because of the irresponsible actions of this Tory Government. Even before they crashed our economy last autumn, the Tories had put our country on course for long-term economic decline with an irrationally incoherent Brexit.

That’s partly why inflation in the UK has risen faster and proved more stubborn than it has in the US and EU.

Treating us like fools, the current Prime Minister is obstinate that he is tackling inflation as one of his five priorities. But, thus far, he’s failed. And let’s not forget, he’s trying to fix a problem that his party created. A Boris Johnson Brexit was always going to be a dogs dinner.

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We were promised a land of milk and honey, but I don’t see the NHS celebrating the promised £350 million. Instead, we are commiserating higher food prices, fewer workers, and stagnant wages.

The Tories have no excuse, they were warned. Last week, Mark Carney, the former Bank of England Governor stopped short of saying, ‘I told you so’. He predicted the negative shock to our economy because of Brexit – he warned that it would result in a weaker pound, higher inflation and weaker growth. And that’s exactly what’s happened.

In Scotland, we can only watch in envy at Ireland which exemplifies how a small, independent country can thrive within the European Union. Ireland has significantly higher growth forecasts than the UK and is healthier and wealthier than the UK.

There is no hope of a brighter future under a Labour government with Keir Starmer as Prime Minister. Labour is a fully-fledged pro-Brexit party now and will not take Scotland back into the European Union, no matter the consequences for Scotland’s economy.

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The European single market is the biggest trade market in the world. It is also seven times the size of the UK’s market. Re-joining would re-open a world of opportunities for Scotland’s world-class food and drink sector. However, Keir Starmer is firmly of the belief that our future lies outwith the European Union, meaning that Brexit’s consequences will only continue and potentially get even worse.

Questions abound as to how we resolve these economic challenges. The answers lie in many of the broken promises made by the Brexit campaign. The Leave campaign promised to reduce red-tape, but have delivered far more bureaucracy. New customs processes, new infrastructure at ports and more queues than ever is what has happened. That has real world implications, as research at the London School of Economic claims that extra red tape could have increased the average grocery shopping bill by around £250. 

The Leave campaign made offensive promises on immigration and asylum. The ending of free movement has been one of the most catastrophic consequences for Scotland’s economy. The end of free movement means that EU workers who made Scotland their home and contributed to our economy have left. Unemployment is at record low, and businesses cannot recruit. Neither can our public services, like the NHS.

With Westminster control offering no hope of a return to the European Union under either a Tory government or a pro-Brexit Labour party, the only alternative for Scotland is by becoming an independent country and getting a seat around the table of the European Union.