External event: Brexit and the Border: Enhancing policymakers’ understanding of the implications of Brexit for economic development and government in the North of England and the South of Scotland


It is widely recognised that the implications of the decision taken on 23rd June 2016 by the UK to leave the European Union will be profound. Whilst discussion and speculation of the consequences for the UK as a whole and for Scotland have been extensive, there has been little debate on the implications at a regional and local level, especially within England. The announcement of a second Scottish independence referendum for late 2018 or early 2019 confirms the significance of these developments and their ongoing ramifications.

The Universities of Cumbria, Heriot-Watt and Northumbria are hosting a series of one-day seminars to look at the implications of Brexit for the regions that adjoin the Anglo-Scottish Border. The first event in the series was in Carlisle in early March and this second seminar brings together a range of experts from academia, industry, policy and community to debate:

  • The implications for economic development in Scotland, particularly in the South of Scotland, and both north and south of the border;
  • The consequences for public and private sector relationships across the Anglo-Scottish Border.

With the strong vote for “Remain” in Scotland contrasting with the “Leave” vote in the “far north” of England, there is a need to understand the implications for both sides of the border of these quite different attitudes to the European Union. Scotland is pursuing a strategy of trying to retain open links with the rest of the Single Market to protect farming, fishing and financial sectors with a quite different approach to past and future migrants from Europe. In this context, the north of England may become increasingly marginalised by being situated between a Northern Powerhouse focused on major investment in the cities on the M62 corridor and further moves towards independence for Scotland.

In these circumstances, what are the strategies of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament to manage the threats and challenges of BREXIT? What are the likely impacts of BREXIT for the Scottish economy, trade and employment? What are the opportunities for Scottish businesses and what supports do they require? How will BREXIT impact on relative levels of public and private investment in the borderlands? What are the implications for the design and delivery of a future regional policy within Scotland and the “far North” of England? What are the likely consequences of BREXIT for key sectors in the Borderlands economy including agriculture, forestry, tourism and renewable energy? How will BREXIT affect the propensity for collaboration and competition across the Anglo-Scottish Border in both the public and private sectors?

  • Michael Russell, MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe
  • Professor Graeme Roy, Fraser of Allander Institute, University of Strathclyde
  • Douglas Scott, Senior Policy Advisor, Scottish Borders Council
  • Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, Business for Scotland
  • Professor Mike Danson, Heriot-Watt University
  • Amanda Burgauer, Chair, Scottish Rural Action
  • Steven Thomson, Land Economy, Environment and Society, SRUC
  • Alison Johnstone, MSP, Lothian Region
  • Leaza McSorley, Chair RSA Scotland