Why Scotland's export figures show independence would be an economic horror show - Brian Monteith

Far spookier than Halloween lanterns or the Chancellor’s budget that is being widely briefed in advance was the publication last week of the SNP Government’s figures for Scotland’s trade exports.


By Brian Monteith for the Scotsman


25th October 2021


It cannot be said often enough that no central economic case for a Scotland divorced from the country we have built over 300 years of political union currently exists, not in terms of financing the massive fiscal deficit nor the challenge of finding a currency that does not cause wholesale pain, if not ruin, to many Scottish families.


Those are, however, only two of the insurmountable obstacles all but a few nationalists would rather not talk about – the other is how Scotland would earn a living to pay off the huge annual deficits and debt we have persistently voted for, and ensure whatever currency was used would not be absolutely worthless.


Who would buy the things we make or services we offer? Given our economy is so immersed and woven into the larger British economy, what would happen to our trade with the rest of the UK and what prospects would there be with other countries, either to supplement or supplant existing trade with our former British family we would undoubtedly lose?


In 2019 Scottish “exports” increased by £3.6 billion (4.3 per cent) to £87.1bn, with some £52bn of goods and services going to England, Wales and Northern Ireland – up £2.5bn – accounting for 60 per cent of our total.


Exports to the EU were 18.8 per cent (up £420 million/2.6 per cent) – with 21 per cent to the rest of the World (up £730m/4.1 per cent).


The fact is if Scotland were to put any friction between the exports of Scottish businesses to the remaining UK, then we could expect that trade to diminish. No answer has been given as to how this can be overcome.


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Why Scotland's export figures show independence would be an economic horror show - Brian M
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