Essential medicines will be stockpiled ahead of Brexit as the Scottish Government plans for the end of the transition period, constitution secretary Mike Russell has announced.
The Scottish Government’s Resilience Room (Sgorr), the equivalent of the UK Government’s Cobra committee, has been activated on a seven days a week basis and will operate 24 hours a day in the week leading up to the end of the transition period on December 31.
Meanwhile, a multi-agency co-ordination centre (Macc), headed by Police Scotland, will include representatives of other emergency services, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, local authorities and health boards.
Russell announced the decision to approve these protocols in Holyrood on Tuesday, along with the stockpiling of medical supplies.
About 60 stockpiles have been created for critical and supportive care medicines, in partnership between the devolved administrations and the UK Government.
“It is utterly incredible that some 1629 days since the EU referendum, I should rise to make a statement on the final details of withdrawal with still no clarity about how the UK will trade with the EU in just 23 days’ time,” Russell said.
The constitution secretary said the decision for the UK is now “between no deal and a low deal”.
Referring to Scottish independence, Russell added: “Scotland didn’t vote for any of this, we must now do our best to help our fellow citizens through it but we must also redouble our efforts to give the people of Scotland the choice to leave this chaos behind.”
Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Dean Lockhart said agriculture and fishing will benefit from Brexit and claimed the SNP would like to return to EU policy in those two areas.
He also accused the SNP of being an “anti-trade party”.
Russell described the Tory MSP’s attack as “shameful”, adding: “I have to say that Dean Lockhart should astonish everybody in this chamber that that is the response 23 days before we leave the EU.
“No, the SNP is not anti-trade, what we are is pro-Scotland, and if we had a Conservative Party that was doing that we wouldn’t be in this mess.”
Scottish Labour constitution spokesman Anas Sarwar described Brexit as “a mess of Boris Johnson and the Tories’ own making” but urged the UK and Scottish Governments to put aside political agendas and focus on tackling coronavirus.
Sarwar asked: “Does the Cabinet Secretary accept that our collective focus must be on our Covid recovery, not two governments focused on their ideological obsessions, bringing our people together, rebuilding our economy, protecting and creating jobs, fixing our education system and delivering an NHS that never again has to choose between treating a virus and treating cancer?”
In response, Russell said: “I accept that rebuilding is absolutely essential after the pandemic.
“The key issue is who do you trust to build back better? That is the key issue that Mr Sarwar must face.
“Would you trust a Tory Government at Westminster to build back better or would you trust Scotland to make the choices?”