Single Market membership
Keith Brown outlines the risks of hard Brexit.
Scotland’s Economy Secretary has urged the UK Government to listen to the strong evidence from independent experts warning of significant and negative economic consequences of a hard Brexit on both the UK and Scotland’s economy.
With more than six months now having elapsed since the Brexit vote, Keith Brown said it was ‘completely untenable’ that the UK Government were still unable to even give their indicative position on Single Market membership.
The Fraser of Allander Institute, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Centre for Economic and Business Research, have all claimed that Brexit will damage Scotland’s economy.
Mr Brown outlined how leaving the Single Market could reduce Scotland GDP by £11 billion per year by 2030, cost the country 80,000 jobs over 10 years and mean a reduction in income of almost £2,000 per person on average.
He also called on the UK Government to explore options for a differentiated outcome, which would permit Scotland to remain inside the European Single Market, should the UK pursue a ‘hard Brexit’.
Mr Brown said:
“Independent research has estimated the cost of leaving Single Market at more than £11 billion annually which could mean Scotland’s public services revenues would be £3.7 billion per year lower than they are now.
“The EU is also the main destination market for Scotland’s international exports, accounting for 42% of trade in 2014. Losing membership of the world’s largest single market would mean forfeiting the right to buy goods and services from other parts of this Union free from import taxes and would also seriously impact on the ability of Scottish companies to export to other EU member nations.
“Research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research recently estimated that losses in bilateral trade with other EEA countries from leaving the Single Market could be as much as 60% for the service sector and up to 44% for manufacturers, which would be disastrous to our economic prosperity as a nation.
“More than six months on from the EU referendum, it is completely untenable that the UK Government are unable to give even an indicative position on whether it supports remaining in the Single Market.
“The people of Scotland voted to remain within the EU and a ‘hard Brexit’ and would severely damage our economic and social interests.
“That is why I want an assurance from the UK Government that Scotland’s interests will be at the heart of any negotiations on the future of the UK within the EU. Should the rest of the UK leave the Single Market we want to see a differentiated outcome for Scotland, one that permits us to remain inside the European Single Market and protect the jobs and economic benefits it brings.”