DOUGLAS Ross’s failure to mention the impact of Brexit at the launch of his party’s new economic strategy has been branded “laughable”.

The Scottish Tory leader put forward a series of proposals during a speech in Edinburgh on Tuesday, but the 28-page policy paper did not mention "Brexit" once and made very little mention of the consequences of the UK leaving the European Union.

Ross’s plan, titled Grasping the Thistle, was described as a “meaningless shambles” by the Scottish Greens, while the SNP noted that he failed to address the “economic vandalism” inflicted on Scotland because of Brexit.

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The paper claimed that the Scottish Government “continued to cling to alignment with the EU even where it is detrimental to Scottish businesses”, while the two pages dedicated to building Scotland’s workforce did not address the impact of Brexit on key industries such as hospitality.

Asked by The National why the document did not address the impact of Brexit on Scotland’s economy, Ross said: “This is looking to the future. I'm just commenting in this paper on a report from the Scottish Fiscal Commission that looks forward into the next 50 years.

“So I'm looking forward to what we can do now to help the coming generation and future generations and I think that's where this paper is really important.”

Previously, Ross (below) had backed Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget that crashed the UK economy and hiked mortgage interest rates, before U-turning after a public backlash against the decision to slash taxes.

The National:

Asked why voters should trust him on the economy after backing Truss, and then changing his mind, and that many had likened his plans to the former prime minister’s policies, Ross dodged the substance of the question.

“If the worst they can do is call me names and criticise me then they are not really focusing on the details of this policy,” he said.

“And I think if they sit down, they look at it and if they listen to businesses as we have done, they will see this is the right road for Scotland to take that can benefit our economy and our country going forward.”

The Tory plans call for a “regulation handbrake” which would halt changes for businesses during economic stagnation, and calls for taxes on businesses to be reassessed.

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It also pledges to set up long-Covid clinics and reduce the size of devolved government, creating more capacity in Scotland’s labour force for the private sector and to free up public resources for key priorities.

Scottish Energy Secretary Neil Gray said that "any strategy looking for growth in Scotland needs to address Brexit to have any credibility".

He went on: "That is the major drag on growth, access to labour and impacting trade with our largest market. Both Labour and Tories wedded to Brexit and its economic chaos, only independence solves that."

Stewart Hosie (below), the SNP’s economy spokesperson at Westminster, said Ross and his party cannot be trusted after Truss’s government “unleashed economic carnage”.

He said: "It was Douglas Ross's party who crashed the economy and unleashed economic carnage, leading to higher mortgage rates, soaring food prices, and exacerbating the cost of living crisis after dragging Scotland out of the EU; they are not the party to fix it.

"However, what Mr Ross ironically failed to mention was the biggest reason for economic decline in the UK: Brexit. It’s frankly laughable.

The National: SNP MP Stewart Hosie

"While both Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer continue to bury their head in the sand, only the SNP are willing to call out Brexit for what it is: economic vandalism.”

The Scottish Greens called Ross’s policy as a “shambolic tribute act” to Truss.

Ross Greer, the party’s finance spokesperson, said: "The last thing Scotland’s public services and economy need is more incompetent Conservative policy-making.

“We know what Tory economics looks like. Selling off public services to the highest bidder, cutting those that are left to the bone and handing out tax breaks to their wealthy friends.

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"It’s the same recipe for chaos that has inflicted so much damage over the last 40 years.

“Douglas Ross has a shocking economic record. He backed Boris Johnson and his disastrous Brexit and then Liz Truss and her catastrophic economic experiments.

“He must take his share of responsibility for the soaring costs of food, energy and mortgages caused by their policies.”