New research by business group

EU membership ‘benefits Scottish economy more than UK’

EU flagMembership of the European Union benefits Scotland to the tune of £2.142 billion a year, according to new research.

The pro-independence group Business for Scotland says its research shows that EU membership benefits Scotland far more than it does the UK as a whole.

Chief executive Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp said: ‘It’s important to understand the facts and figures around membership of the EU, and the impact on our economy of being taken out of the EU.

“Our research shows that EU membership benefits Scotland more than it does the UK as a whole. We carried out this research to try to cut through the fog of exaggerated claims of Pro-Brexit and Pro-EU campaigners.

“The research explains what the EU really costs, the drawbacks and the benefits to Scotland.”

BfS research has found:

  • The EU spends £782.6m per year in Scotland against a per capita membership fee of £1.1bn
  • At 8.2% of UK population, Scotland earns 17.4% of EU UK spending
  • Public sector revenue in Scotland is boosted by as much as £2.24bn per year
  • How much of that revenue will be damaged by a Brexit will depend on a post exit deal done to access the Common Market post Brexit
  • Most likely outcome is that there will be no significant cost saving, no significant UK sovereignty gain and no significant changes on immigration if access to the Common market is to be retained in order to avoid economic damage

Mr MacIntyre-Kemp added: “Having reviewed multiple credible studies on economic benefits of EU membership, the average of estimates of EU membership benefit to GDP is 4.5% of GDP. This means the EU contribution to Scotland’s GDP is approximately £7bn, assuming a 32% flow through from GDP to public sector revenue, and this could be boosting Scotland’s revenues by £2.24bn per year.

“The EU also funds private companies directly for qualifying projects and, assuming a population share of the UK private sector spend to Scotland, this is estimated to be around £112m which the Scottish Government would have to spend to make sure there was not a lessening on vital investment in R&D.

“The membership fee also includes an EU aid element that Scotland is obliged to spend anyway, if we don’t give it to the EU as part of the membership fee this amounts to approximately £65.6m. So taking the net membership fee to Scotland of £275.2m, and subtracting the private sector and the aid money benefit, we find the net cost to Scotland of £97.6m and so the net overall financial benefit to Scotland from EU membership is approximately £2.142bn per annum.”

He added: “It’s important to note that the EU plays an important role in redistributing the UK’s membership fees away from London and the South East, in particular to the regions and nations that suffer from the UK’s generational London and South East economic bias.

“If the UK were to vote for a Brexit then Scotland’s economy (and that of Northern Ireland and Wales) would require Westminster to replace the EU spending whilst simultaneously doing a trade deal that maintains full access to the Common Market.”

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