New research: The costly folly of playing political games over 'Brexit' in Scotland

Source: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/Exports/ESSPublication/ESSPDF

Playing nationalist politics with the upcoming EU vote is grossly irresponsible

Independence after Brexit would create the 'perfect storm' for Scottish jobs and business, according to research by Scotland in Union.

it shows nationalist plans for Scotland to re-join the EU in the event of ‘Brexit’ could prove very damaging for the Scots economy by imposing extra trade costs.

Scotland currently exports between three and four times as much to the rest of the UK than it does to the rest of the EU.

So an independent Scotland could face damaging additional tariffs if it left a post-Brexit UK.

New research by Scotland in Union has estimated that it would cost Scottish business up to £2 billion in additional tariffs. This compares to £0.5 billion in new tariffs from the EU if Scotland was to remain in a post Brexit UK.

Nicola Sturgeon has heavily hinted that she would seek a second referendum on Scottish independence if the UK votes to leave the EU and Scotland has a majority to remain. Alex Salmomd this week said a second referendum would be ‘irresistible’ while Henry McLeish has also backed the idea.

The truth is that Scotland staying part of the UK makes even more sense in the event of Brexit. It would be essential for Scottish business for us to stick together.

We already know that Scotland would lose the EU rebate, face possible border controls with England and even have to adopt the euro if we voted for independence. If Scotland then left the UK after Brexit, any barriers to trade erected between the EU and the UK would necessarily be put up between us and our largest market.

These would come on top of the damage caused by independence itself that is already well documented - including the £8bn fiscal deficit and uncertainty over the currency.

Whatever people think about the merits or otherwise of Brexit it makes no sense to leave our main trading partner for a smaller one.

Playing nationalist politics with this important EU vote is grossly irresponsible. At the time of the Scottish referendum, we were fully aware there would be a vote on EU membership and we still opted decisively to stay in the UK. Pursuing independence if we leave the EU would be even more damaging to Scotland.

Read the research here

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