THE chemicals sector is facing a staggering £2 billion hit of post-Brexit red tape as the UK sets up its own regulatory regime, twice the cost of initial industry estimates. UK companies previously spent £500 million complying with the Brussels regime over the past decade, winning access to 27 countries.

A government impact assessment has put the central estimate for the costs of registering chemicals on a new UK database known as UK Reach – which often duplicates existing registrations with the EU – at £2bn.

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While Tory leadership hopefuls Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have promised to review all retained EU law and scrap excessively onerous rules, replacing it with homegrown UK regulation is proving more costly and disruptive.

The soaring cost of UK Reach emerged after the Treasury admitted last week that the UK’s Brexit divorce bill could rise to £42.5bn – up to £7.5bn higher than initially estimated.

A post-Brexit bonanza eludes both the City and the EU, and the UK will in the medium term be 4% poorer than if it had stayed in the EU, according to the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. This is set to knock £80bn off the UK’s gross domestic product and about £40bn off Exchequer receipts.

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The promised benefits of Brexit have, hardly unsurprisingly, failed to materialise six years after the Leave vote, while new border controls have hampered trade and been blamed for contributing to travel chaos at the port of Dover.

The gift of Brexit just keeps on giving, but not in the way those advocating Leave vowed would happen.

Alex Orr

ENGLAND’S Brexit has manifested itself in possibly the most chauvinistic form of anglophone exceptionalism ideological elitism yet, specifically because it has suppressed debate concerning England’s post-imperial identity.

It has not moved on from the past; it has doubled down on it and become even more subservient to the United States.

Colin Beattie
via email

ABOUT 18 months ago I made a plea in these pages for us as a nation to desist from the habit of locating ourselves geographically with reference to our southern neighbour (we are not “up here”, but “here”). I seek to continue this campaign by asking that we similarly desist from the bad habit of comparing structures in Scotland with structures furth of this country that have no local relevance, a common example being Nelson’s Column.

Many of our population, even today, may never have been to Trafalgar Square in London, or even London itself for that matter. So I take exception to your Tuesday headline “Wind farm’s foundations rival Big Ben”. And within the article: “When complete, each structure will be … nearly as high as … the Shard.”

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The structures to which the article refers are currently at Nigg on the Cromarty Firth and their scale is apparent from miles around. Accepting that the bulk of Scotland’s population are located many miles from Cromarty, equivalent and more appropriate comparisons might have been made to the tower of Glasgow University, the spire of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh or the Mitchell Tower of Marischal College in Aberdeen.

Why should your readers be asked to judge scale by buildings 500 miles away in another country? Such comparisons chime with the “Too wee, too poor, too stupid” attitude that blights our national sensibilities.

Ken Gow

WE are all aware of the sizeable and sudden arrival of refugees from Ukraine, most of whom arrived with little more than the shirts on their backs. While I am sure that all of Scotland’s councils are doing all they can, theirs is an administrative requirement. Lots of people have demonstrated Scotland’s decency, humanity and generosity, and I feel that now we could look to helping them to a greater integration in our society (hopefully for them, for a short time) by letting them know of what activities are going on locally.

For example, around Scotland there are lots of allotments or plots where I am sure help would be gladly given and received. If some ladies run a knitting or sewing bee then invite folks to join them. A call to your local authority may help put you in touch with refugees near you. Kindness will overcome language.

On the war itself, Putin said his invasion was to rid Ukraine of Nazis. He seems to think Ukraine’s Nazis are babies and children.

M Ross

WHILE England looks at hose pipe bans and the high potential for drought in August, it is worth remembering that among Scotland’s vast resources is a staggering 96% of all the fresh water in the British Isles. Yet another resource which is currently siphoned off to England not only for no payment, but we foot the bill for the infrastructure they use to take it! If there are major issues surrounding debt negotiations after independence, perhaps we should start at 5p a litre and see how we go from there?

RJ Bulloch