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New ESS figures show the value of UK's single market to Scotland

Today's release of the Exports Statistics Scotland (ESS) 2021 report provides crucial insights into the dynamics of Scotland's trade landscape. The official Scottish Government estimates for Scotland’s exports in 2019, 2020, and 2021 underscore the significance of the UK's internal single market for our nation's economic prosperity.

The SNP and the Greens keep trying to use Scotland’s 2016 vote to remain in the EU as a reason to pursue a second independence referendum. But the reality is, whilst there are many who would like to be back in the EU, we know that leaving the UK to do so is not a price worth paying.

In 2021, the most recent year we now have data published for, Scotland’s exports were distributed as follows:

  • 19% to the EU

  • 20% to non-EU countries

  • 61% to the rest of the UK

The majority of Scotland's total exports, £48.6 billion, is sold to the rest of the UK, our most valuable and crucial market.

The nationalists’ pursuit of independence poses a serious threat to our economic stability. The breakup of the UK's internal market would risk new trade barriers, a hard border, and potential tariffs on 61% of our total exports.

A separate Scotland could face increased trade costs with the rest of the UK due to the introduction of a new international border.

All this, to pursue membership of the EU, which would be a lengthy and expensive process, with no guarantee of success. And even if we did manage to join, the costs of leaving the UK would clearly outweigh the benefits of being part of the EU.

It would be cutting off our nose to spite our face.

The UK's internal single market is vital for the future of Scotland's economic interests. The nationalist push to break up Britain poses a risk to the smooth flow of trade, putting at stake our most profitable market, and unnecessarily burdening our businesses with avoidable costs.

It is time for the SNP and the Greens to drop their focus on leaving the UK and to concentrate on the day job, of supporting our economy, fixing our public services and helping people through the cost-of-living crisis.

It’s time for the people’s priorities, not the SNP’s.


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