The SNP has said South Lanarkshire's businesses "deserve better than the pro-Brexit Westminster parties".

The statement comes ahead of a campaign visit to Rutherglen and Hamilton West by Cabinet Secretary Neil Gray MSP and Business Ambassador Ian Blackford MP.

Gray and Blackford will join local by-election candidate, Katy Loudon, in Burnside today to speak to small local businesses about the issues they face.

Since Brexit, South Lanarkshire has lost a staggering £146 million on EU imports and exports, as well as almost £10 million in direct EU funding.

Analysis from Bloomberg Economics also found that Brexit has cost the UK £100 billion a year in lost output, and caused a third of the UK’s food price inflation.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Ian Blackford MP said: "Westminster has trashed the UK economy and inflicted long-term damage on businesses across Scotland, South Lanarkshire and Rutherglen and Hamilton West. They deserve better. 

“Leaving the EU has contributed to food inflation soaring and left businesses facing uncertainty and expensive red tape - but Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar are happy to ignore reality as the Labour party continues to back Brexit.

“A vote for the SNP’s Katy Loudon in the upcoming by-election is a vote for a strong voice at Westminster, standing against Brexit and Westminster policies that are damaging to our local businesses and community.” 

Katy Loudon added: "While the SNP Scottish Government are championing businesses here in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, with policies such as the ‘New Deal’ and ‘Shop Local’ campaign, Westminster's cost-of-living crisis and Brexit is causing long-term damage. Small businesses, who make up the backbone of Scotland's economy, have particularly felt the brunt.

"Businesses have suffered as a result of decisions made at Westminster by Westminster parties, and that includes the decision to drag Scotland out of the EU despite us overwhelmingly voting against it. South Lanarkshire alone rejected Brexit by 63%. 

"A vote for the SNP in Rutherglen and Hamilton West is a vote to reject the failure of Brexit, tackle the cost of living crisis in full and rejoin the world's largest single market in the EU, as an independent Scotland."