TORY ministers are failing to “take seriously the magnitude” of Brexit, Michael Russell has claimed after a stormy meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee.

Speaking after the summit between the Scottish, Welsh and UK governments, the Scottish Brexit Minister said he simply hadn’t been listened to.

“This was a deeply disappointing meeting where UK ministers again failed to take seriously the magnitude of the situation now facing us.

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“For example, services employ more than 2.1 million people in Scotland and contributed £104 billion to the Scottish economy in 2017-18. The sector is essential to Scotland but, despite its enormous economic significance, the UK Government wants to pull out of the single market for services.

“In contrast, the Scottish Government’s proposal to stay in the customs union and single market – which is eight times the size of the UK market alone – will ensure service providers continue to benefit from barrier-free trade across Europe. Short of staying in the EU, it is the only workable and credible option left.”

Russell later told the BBC: “This is not a successful venture, and its not a venture that can do anything other than end in tears.

“There is an absolute determination to end freedom of movement even in circumstances that will be economically disastrous for Scotland. I pointed that out very forcibly indeed, as indeed all of us from devolved administrations did.

“I have to say it was a bit of a dialogue of the deaf, although I suspect they have not heard that put as strongly and trenchantly for a long time.”

Tory Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the discussion had been “frank”. He added: “I think its difficult for the Scottish Government to occasionally argue that there’s no engagement, and then on other occasions say we had a heated discussion.

“Of course we had a full and frank exchange of views. That’s not a surprise – the Scottish Government is not in favour of leaving the EU and they also advocate a devolved immigration policy. I don’t support there being a regional policy in Scotland and neither does business.”

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon has offered government help to Scotland’s councils to prepare for Brexit.

Speaking at Cosla’s annual conference in St Andrews, the First Minister said Brexit, combined with the UK Government’s future approach to immigration, would have “extremely serious consequences” for the country.

The SNP leader said: “There is no doubt that the most pressing challenge facing our country at this time comes from Brexit, and the UK Government’s approach to post-Brexit immigration will have extremely serious consequences for communities across Scotland.”

Sturgeon paid tribute to the “leadership that has already been shown” by local government.

She added: “The Scottish Government continues to argue for a sensible approach to Brexit, which would see the whole of the UK remaining in the single market and the customs union, if staying in the EU is not possible.

“However, we also recognise the need to prepare, as best we can, for other Brexit scenarios. That is why the Scottish Government is undertaking a significant programme of contingency planning.”

The UK Government’s contingency planning was also questioned by an influential committee of MPs.

The Westminster Public Accounts Committee called on ministers to set out a plan to ensure medicine supplies are not disrupted after Brexit.

In its report, they said it was “worrying” that the department “could not assure us of its plans to safeguard the supply of medicines after the UK has exited the [EU]”.