Hard Brexit ‘could cost billions in exports’

Michael Russell

The Scottish Government has seized on new research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) that says UK service exports could be cut by up to 60% if the UK was removed from the European Single Market.

“New independent research published today has highlighted the risks a hard Brexit will have on exports,” said the Scottish Government.

“The study by the NIESR economic think-tank says UK exports from the services sector could be cut by up to 60%.

“For Scotland this would be equivalent to a £2.3 billion hit.”

The research also said trade in goods could decline by between 35% and 44%.

“If Scottish goods exports were to fall by a similar amount, the cost would be around an additional £3 billion,” said the Scottish Government.

Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Michael Russell said: “Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and this is another report which shows the severe cost to jobs and exports if the UK Government removes Scotland from the Single Market against our will.

“Services exports from Scotland to Europe have been growing rapidly in recent years and to stop this growth would be a severe blow to our long-term economic prospects.

“That’s why the Scottish Government is exploring every option to protect our relationship with, and place in, Europe and in particular our membership of the Single Market.

“If the UK Government is giving assurances to private companies, as it’s been reported, then Scotland should be afforded the same level of respect and engagement on a deal to protect our democratic and economic interests.

“This report shows that even if the UK signed a free trade deal with the EU there will be significant economic damage compared with continuing Single Market membership.

“In the next few weeks the Scottish Government will be publishing detailed proposals for Scotland to remain inside the Single Market even if the rest of the UK leaves.”