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WATCH: Brexit is the gift the tourism sector didn't want or ask for, says Highland MP


By Niall Harkiss

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Significant housing and staffing problems in the tourism sector across the strath are the result of 10 years of hostile environment policy, MP Drew Hendry insists.

He has been meeting with local operators to discuss their plight, and has spoken this week about the difficulties tourism companies now face after Brexit.

Mr Hendry, who represents Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, said: "Before Brexit, our tourism sector was enriched each year by European workers. But Brexit means hoteliers and tourism operators no longer have access to these workers.

"This makes staffing a busy summer season extremely difficult.

"While tourism businesses are always incredibly resilient, the situation becomes untenable and needs urgent action. The hospitality industry predicted this outcome. They warned UK ministers that ending freedom of movement would be catastrophic for the sector.

"They pleaded with the UK Government to rethink their immigration plans, but their calls were ignored then and they're still being ignored now.

"This month marks ten years since we first heard the term hostile environment. It was proudly boasted from the corridors of Westminster. Then Home Secretary, Theresa May, ushered in a regime of policy changes that amounted to a full on policy attack on migrants and refugees. I remember thinking at the time, it doesn't get worse than this. How little did I know about what they were willing to do?

"Ten years in, the Tories haven't waved in their hostile environment approach. This is their ideology, and it's an ideology that has been rejected by Scotland for over 50 years."


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