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560,000 jobs rely on Scotland being part of the UK

In a statement at Holyrood, the SNP’s Brexit Secretary Mike Russell MSP said: “A no-deal Brexit could, we estimate, result in an increase in unemployment in Scotland of around 100,000 people”.

The prospect of anyone losing their job and the impact this has on the individual and their family is something that everyone in political life is united in preventing. So it was astonishing to see the hypocrisy shown by Mike Russell MSP and the rest of his SNP colleagues when highlighting the impact of Brexit on unemployment, whilst being dismissive of the potential impact of Scottish independence, it shows just how narrow-minded and out of touch they really are.

Not once has the SNP, or more specifically Mike Russell, addressed the 560,000 jobs (Source: Fraser of Allander) that rely on Scotland being part of the UK with our unfettered access to our UK Home Market. A market which is worth a staggering £48.9billion – amounting to 60% of Scotland’s total export trade (Source: Scottish Government). Trade with the EU amounts to just 18% of Scotland’s export trade.

My question to Mike Russell MSP would be; how can leaving one union (the EU) be terribly bad for Scotland, costing jobs and bringing economic catastrophe, but, leaving our most important union (the United Kingdom) and Home Market is somehow positive? I think this debate is exposing nationalism as the negative force that it is – the SNP will say and do anything in order to achieve separation – no matter the cost to Scotland.

If Brexit does cause economic problems then one thing is certain, Scottish independence is not the “lifeboat” to save us all; it is the total opposite. Scotland deserves better.

We are still waiting on the Scottish Government’s report into the negative aspects of Scotland leaving the UK, what leaving our Home Market would mean for jobs, which currency we would use and how we would even begin to negotiate membership with the EU at the same time as negotiating a deal to leave the UK. Would it be hard separation or soft separation? Currently, Scotland’s deficit of 7.9% does not meet the requirement (below 3%) just to begin the application process of joining the EU, and there is certainly no chance of this happening “overnight” as some nationalists have suggested (see here).

And it must be remembered that the average family of four in Scotland is over £7,500 better off within the UK than they would be in an independent Scotland (Source: Scottish Government). Perhaps Derek MacKay MSP and Mike Russell MSP would care to explain to families up and down the country why they are reluctant to highlight the consequences of leaving our UK Home Market and putting at risk 560,000 jobs?

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP will publish a new paper on the economic cost of a no-deal Brexit later this week. The latest research from Scottish Business UK (see here) shows that Scottish independence would be at least eight times as bad as the worst-case Brexit. So, no matter your views on Brexit, independence is not the answer.

SNP politicians champion honesty and transparency, they must practice what they preach.

Andrew Skinner, Campaigns Manager

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